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Is Tech The Key to A Future Proofed Flexible Career?

Flexible woman doing yoga on a mat outside, Flexible career concept

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Heather, Founder of Supermums.org, takes a look at whether tech really is the key to a future-proofed flexible career.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that a career in tech is something for the left-brainers. Or for those that have grown up around it. In reality, tech offers a flexible career and huge opportunities for anyone, of any age – whether they’ve previously worked in tech, or not. What’s more, there is a massive shortage of good staff in the tech sector, which makes it appealing for those looking to reinvent themselves. Computing.co.uk recently said “research shows seven in ten businesses in the sector have found it more difficult to hire staff in past year.”

Achieve Balance

The fact that tech is here to stay is compelling enough, but there are even more reasons why getting to grips with tech makes sense. The tech industry has had a huge impact on and led the way in flexible and virtual working. This can mean work that be combined with time with family, caring for parents, or having our own adventures, whether that’s writing a novel, travelling (many tech jobs can be done from anywhere) or bringing in a regular income while you start your side hustle.

At Supermums, where we train women (and some men) in Salesforce, our participants have combined their flexible working with travelling the world. They have started their own property businesses, or moving to France and creating a way of working that is truly virtual.

We know women who have retrained after a 13 year career break in tech from careers. Some as diverse as teaching, charity fundraising, marketing, law and even. From an employer’s point of view, they’re an attractive prospect, bringing diverse skills, life experiences and knowledge to the workplace.

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Go and Get It, Flexible Career in Tech

Be inspired – the women in tech movement

I’ve noticed that confidence can be a huge barrier to women and tech. Our careers are so bound up with identities that if we’ve never worked on something technical, it can be hard to think of ourselves in that way. But tech isn’t all sitting at the computer alone, coding or working on number based work.

Tech is used by almost every industry nowadays. Our Salesforce admin alumni have found jobs within charities, hospitals, even Aston Martin as project managers, business analysts, trainers and technical advisers! Tech is a huge art of marketing nowadays, a busy people orientated industry if ever there was one. Yes, there are a great jobs for technical architects out there, but there are varying degrees of technicality, and you should be able to find something to suit your talents and skills.

However, a career in tech is a mindset, not a one stop course. Progressing in tech means continuously updating your knowledge, and keeping on top of industry trends. It’s not for someone who isn’t interested in continuous professional development. So you need to be prepared for some regular investment of both and time and money. Although you may find some employers helping you with the latter.

Testing the Water

Why not test the water by asking your employer to send you on a technical course to update your skills and offer further value in the workplace? Or talk to a few friends who have tech style jobs and see what their days involve. As one of our past course participants says, “don’t be intimidated by the tech tribe.” They are, after all, just people, and very friendly and sociable people in my experience. Within the Salesforce there is a huge trailblazer community who provide a wrap around peer support network, for example.

Tech Nerves

It’s perfectly natural to have nerves around moving into a tech career, especially if this is totally new for you. Many of our course participants are anxious about this area. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. There is a learning curve and it may be steep. Don’t expect it to be easy from the beginning. But it does get easier
  2. Celebrate your bravery. Moving into tech is a bold step. Recognise your bravery and really feel the courage you are showing in trying something new
  3. You may fail at first. If we are changing career, we may be coming from a place of comfort, where we know our stuff. Accept that this is a whole new landscape and it takes time to get to know it and you will find it easier. Be kind on yourself
  4. Find all the support you can. We set our participants up with a peer mentor and this is key to helping keep up confidence and resilience. For you, it might be someone in your current workplace, or a fellow student on your course. Someone you trust and who understands you at the same time
  5. Keep the long goal in mind. Once you’ve retrained, keeping on top of new developments is far easier. Keep thinking about the reason why you are doing this. To be able to work from anywhere, to go down to a three day week, or just do something new and exhilarating. You are doing this for you

About the author

Heather, Supermums.org

Heather is the founder of Supermums.org which runs online courses to become a Salesforce, admin, developer or consultant. Each participant receives a real life work placement to give them valuable work experience, along with a mentor to help them along the journey. Heather herself is an advocate for women (and mums especially) in tech and she has taken an active approach in developing new talent. As well as the Supermums project, Heather runs webinars, attends panel events and speaks on flexible working, retraining, working parenthood and women in tech.

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