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Making a Career ‘Pivot’ into Tech – Here’s How 4 Women Did It

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Digital technology is the fastest growing employment sector, with the E.U predicting 900,000 vacancies by 2020 in the field.
And it’s not only dedicated tech positions – many roles are becoming more tech based. The changing jobs market means more employees are deciding to up-skill, or career pivot into a whole new field.
Here’s how four women made the leap.

 

Music teacher Rachel* used a Springboard+ course in Dublin Business School to kick start her ‘pivot’ into ICT.

“I was starting to dislike the line of work I was in and a friend of mine had done another ICT stream and was really enjoying the work. I talked to her and others who had done ICT courses, in both Dublin Business School and elsewhere, and they all seemed happy to have done it. I specifically chose Software Development as it sounded like you were always learning new things and problem solving, both of which I liked the sound of.”

“Although it was challenging in the beginning switching from a non-cognate discipline, within a month I was enjoying seeing how each line of code you added could change the app you were creating. I had a really friendly class and we all tried to help each other as much as we could. The lecturers were really helpful and put on extra tutorials for us if we needed them.”

 

We need to broaden our view of what “tech” is.  “Many people are intimidated by the concept, especially women, and think that you are either techy or not

 

“On a personal level it gave me confidence to leave behind a career that I had spent four years studying for, but that was ultimately making me unhappy.”

“As someone who had no experience in IT or coding it was quite daunting joining a course where some people had worked in the industry for years, but the people I met there, both students and lecturers alike, were all really generous in imparting their knowledge and always put you at ease if you didn’t understand something right away.

On completing the course I got a job with Version1 on Millennium Walkway in Dublin – there is lots of demand for developers with the skillset we acquired at the Springboard+ course. It made the transition into the workplace much easier being so well-grounded.”

 

The timing was right, there were plenty of jobs in quality and what seemed like a jump in the dark turned out to be a good fit for me.

 

Gina from Galway was working in retail management during the height of the boom years. Gina left Ireland to travel and when she returned she “came back to find the Celtic Tiger had died.” With no jobs available in her field Gina studied online to upskill, undertaking a degree in quality engineering.

Since graduating Gina has been working as a quality engineer. She says she loves her new career, “I like the variety of it, no two days are the same. I also like the peaks and troughs of quiet days and insanely busy days.”

“The timing was right, there were plenty of jobs in quality and what seemed like a jump in the dark turned out to be a good fit for me.”

Like Gina, Dublin woman Maria* had trained in a different field, studying arts in university. “I realised quickly that there were no jobs out there for people with degrees in English and History. It was still the recession and people just weren’t hiring graduates anymore.”

Maria found herself doing odd jobs to get by, working in Dunnes and minding children. “I realised pretty quickly that this wasn’t all that sustainable and was far too unreliable. There was no guarantee of hours and I had no ability to predict income.”

 

Many people like me do interdisciplinary work – combining their original field with technology

 

Maria’s partner was in a similar position and neither of them were able to find work in the fields they had graduated in. Her partner had undertaken a masters in computer science in order to upskill. Maria became interested in some of the things her partner was learning which lead to her decision to return to education and re-train in computer science.

“I started studying in September 2013… I really enjoyed the technician aspects of the course, networking and hardware and operating systems were my thing, I was good at them and I enjoyed them.”

Maria is now teaching technology in further education settings. “I just finished the HDip so that I could do this. The computer science degree was invaluable when looking for teaching placements for the HDip, it is in fact what got me one of them. It has also been useful when applying for jobs.”

“I do some networking for small companies and charities and repair their computers regularly, basically I’m their tech support. I really enjoy that aspect of what I do and its a great little earner too.”

Maria says she enjoys her new line of work, especially how flexible the industry is to work in, as she suffers from a chronic illness. “I still earn a decent amount of money but I can decide my own hours to a certain extent and that’s reassuring.”

 

The career change surprised Tabea, who says she never expected to end up working in tech.

 

Tabea’s journey to tech was via linguistics. “I started out with a degree in theoretical linguistics (German and English) and was temping as a language teacher and tutor for several years.”

Tabea found it difficult to get work in linguistics, but a  job with a video games localisation department was her first step towards tech.

“There were technical elements to the job, but it was mostly translation work and reviewing language in context.”

Tabea re-trained on the job via hands on experience while also getting certified. “I worked in several positions in video games, and was generally doing project management and language work that got progressively more technical. My speciality is the adaptation of digital content, like software, but also other things like multimedia for global markets. So in a way I am interdisciplinary.”

“I then studied remotely an MSc in Multilingual Computing and Localisation, and went on to do my PhD in that area.”

 

People aren’t necessarily changing fields: I teach people who need to be good at both tech and their original area

 

The career change surprised Tabea, who says she never expected to end up working in tech. She is now a tech lecturer at the University of Limerick in the Computer Science and Information Systems department. “I love my job. I have to learn something new all the time, I research and write, I mentor people and teach them and I see their development.”

Tabea says she thinks we need to broaden our view of what “tech” is. “Many people are intimidated by the concept, especially women, and think that you are either techy or not. That you have to start out as a programmer or you get stuck to your original field.”

“This is not the case anymore, there are many people like me who do interdisciplinary work and who are combining their original field with technology. I teach people like that, people who have been working in other areas for years and years and who aren’t necessarily changing fields but who are moving into areas where they need to be good at both tech and their original area (like myself with linguistics and computing).”

 

If you are interested in re-training in tech check out the range of Springboard+ courses now enrolling for September 2018. The Irish Government covers 90% of the fees for people who are in full time employment, as well as funding free courses for people who are unemployed, or homemakers aiming to return to work.

For more information on Dublin Business Schools range of part-time evening Springboard+ courses click here 

 

This article was brought to you by The Daily Slog, in partnership with Dublin Business School.

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