Transitioning into tech: What’s it like to switch to a career in tech?
The past year has seen a significant increase in people thinking hard about their career. And there has been a huge digital upskilling drive as people look to become more employable. Research by PeopleCert found a quarter of people have been attempting to upskill after the ‘career wakeup call’ of the pandemic, with one in ten retraining for an entirely different job.
PA Women in Tech aim to increase gender diversity and inclusion within technical fields, and our Career Changers Programme aims to bring female and non-binary career changers into the firm to train in technical fields and take on technical, client-facing project work.
We spoke to Oluwatofunmi Onaeko, one of our digital career changers, about her experience of moving into tech, the skills she’s learned and advice for those considering the move to technology.
What has been your experience of career changing?
I originally studied architecture, spending two years at an infrastructure practice. I then studied for some business analysis training courses and worked as a business analyst for a retail company. After working with developers and attending a few SQL training courses there, I knew I wanted to become more technical, so I went back to university to study computer science.
I loved the change, I really enjoy the problem-solving aspect of writing code, but I also love the journey I took to get to my current role. There were skills that my previous two jobs taught me that I can now implement in my current role. At PA, I’m in the digital team building my technical knowledge and foundation. I’m looking forward to moving into a developer role and expanding my skills in data analytics, which has the potential to link all my passion – design, software development and problem solving.
What can be done to support women as they career change into tech?
It would be great if we could remind women that their transferable skills from their previous careers will be really valuable in their new role. Communication, an analytical mind, teamwork, a different approach to problems… these are all amazing skills that they should feel confident will help make them a great candidate already.
My experience in architecture really helped me to develop an eye for design and the ability to manage an overwhelming schedule. Tech professionals don’t work in a vacuum, so there are plenty of jobs out there that will align with your existing skills.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about career changing into tech?
Always be willing to learn and expand your network. Try online training courses, attend seminars and talk to people you find interesting in the tech world. That way, when you do start applying for jobs or training schemes, you have areas that you know you like and can speak knowledgably about, and your interest in tech will really show. It’ll also help you understand what kind of role you feel would be suitable for you.
Now is the time to be a ‘career changer’ and embrace a new technical role, so take a look at our Women in Tech Career Changer Scheme.