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SheCanCode event: How to navigate a successful career transition

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ARTICLE SUMMARY

The tech industry is crying out for new talent, diverse people and different ways of thinking. There has never been a better time to transition into tech.

If you’re thinking about making the move into tech, listen in again to hear our speakers discuss how you can successfully navigate a career transition.

In this 40-minute session, hosted by SheCanCode, representatives from GSA Capital, Kubrick Group & M&S discuss the tech talent shortage and what skills are needed to plug the gap, why you don’t have to have technical experience, and how easy it is to transition into other roles.

MEET OUR SPEAKERS

ALI WORRELL | HEAD OF POST TRADE TECHNOLOGY, GSA CAPITAL

ALI WORRELL | HEAD OF POST TRADE TECHNOLOGY, GSA CAPITAL

Connect with Ali on Linkedin

AILIS DALE | ADVANCED CONSULTANT - DATA PRODUCT, KUBRICK GROUP

AILIS DALE | ADVANCED CONSULTANT – DATA PRODUCT, KUBRICK GROUP

Connect with Ailis on LinkedIn 

KATE ROBERTS | JUNIOR DEVELOPER

KATE ROBERTS | JUNIOR DEVELOPER

Connect with Kate on LinkedIn

Read how Kate retrained whilst on maternity leave to launch a career in technology.

 

WEBINAR LIVE Q&A

HAVE ANY OF THE PANELISTS WORKED REMOTELY IN THEIR FIRST TECH ROLE? WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE FOR YOUR LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT?

Ali: I have not, but I’ve worked with people in my firm who have been remote initially. I think the learning curve can be slightly steeper and it can take a bit longer to pick things up. However, most firms are now more used to people working remotely so I think this is always improving.

I’M THINKING ABOUT MAKING THE LEAP INTO TECH, ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR SKILLS YOU FOUND HELPFUL WHEN SWITCHING CAREERS?

Ali: For me, I’d say having an interest in problem-solving in very useful as well as being open to change. An interest in actively seeking to improve things is also helpful.

IS POSSIBLE TO STUDY TECH-RELATED SUBJECTS ALSO OUTSIDE OF A UNIVERSITY DEGREE?

Ali: Completely, I learned almost all of the skills I use day to day outside of university, mostly self-taught in my spare time and a bit of learning on the job.

I AM 41 YEARS OLD AND CURRENTLY STUDYING FULL-STACK ENGINEERING, SOMETIMES I WONDER IF IT IS TOO LATE.

Ali: Not too late! Stick with it – it’s a great career.

HI! IF YOU WERE TO CHOOSE 1-2 THINGS THAT YOU LEARNED/DID BEFORE TRANSITIONING INTO TECH THAT HAVE HELPED YOU A LOT AFTER STARTING THE JOB, WHAT WOULD THAT BE? THANK YOU!!

Ali: For me, it would the best thing I did was build a website in my free time. I am a strong believer that the best way to learn things is by doing it yourself. Reading a guide can be useful, but nothing beats working on a project directly. When building a website I found the amount I learned far superseded what I originally set out to do, for instance, once I learned some basic HTML and javascript to put a website together I then needed to work out how to deploy and run the site. This led to me researching cloud hosting services like AWS / google cloud / Azure, which in turn led to further interesting discoveries.

WHAT KIND OF PERSONAL SUPPORT DID YOU GET IN MAKING THE TRANSITION? WHAT KIND OF RESOURCES DID YOU USE? ALSO, HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH “IMPOSTER SYNDROME” IN YOUR NEW ROLE?

Ali: I had the support of my firm and was encouraged to move from a non-technical role into a technical one by my manager at the time. I still get imposter syndrome; I don’t expect that will ever change and I try to embrace it. While I may never be the most technically adapt in my team or firm, I believe I have other skills from the non-technical side which compensate for this, and in some cases out weight the purely technical skills.

I STARTED AN INTRODUCTORY ONLINE COURSE TO ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND MACHINE LEARNING. WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST TO LEARN FIRST FOR A BEGINNER LEARNER?

Ali: I took this course many years ago: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/machine-learning-introduction which I found was a great introduction to the topic.

HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE IS NEEDED BEFORE LANDING A FIRST JOB? HOW DO I START TO BUILD A PORTFOLIO?

Ali: I think this depends, there are some roles that are going to be easier to pick up than others. I’d suggest working on open source projects that interest you, speaking to the maintainers of the project or trying to contribute if you can and pick up or comment on issues people have raised.

HOW DO YOU KEEP YOURSELF UPDATED/INFORMED ON CHANGES IN PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES & TECH?

Ali: Virtual conferences are a good way to keep up to date with new changes in languages and technology. There are a number each year, which are typically free to watch online either live or after the event. Websites like: https://dev.events/ list these and you can narrow down conferences of interest based on a particular language or area.

I’VE COMPLETED SOME ONLINE COURSES AND CREATED SOME SMALL PROJECTS, BUT STILL STRUGGLE TO UNDERSTAND IF I’M READY TO APPLY FOR A ROLE AS I’M A BIT SCARED OF TECHNICAL INTERVIEWS. DO ALL COMPANIES INCLUDE TECHNICAL TASKS IN THEIR INTERVIEWS AND ARE THEY HARD?

Ali: Every company is going to have a different process, these are the typical things I would expect to see:

– some initial coding challenge

– mostly likely online – preliminary interviews, these could be a combination of technical and HR / competency-based questions

– a take-home test, normally a practical piece of work that could take 1/2 a day to complete, which would have some timeframe for when the company would expect it back, e.g. 5-7 days

– final round interviews, meeting with a larger number of people at the company, I’d expect a mix of technical, competency, and motivation-based questions here

ANY ADVICE FOR PREPARING FOR INTERVIEWS FOR DEVELOPER ROLES?

Ali: Interviews can be hard, but it is possible to prepare for them. my top tips would be:

– read up on the company and the role, and try and find out as much as you can online about this. Also investigate the broader industry the company operates in, the company’s strengths, weaknesses, and competitors. This knowledge will hopefully be useful and showcase some interest/skills outside of the purely technical side that you possess (which could be a good differentiator between you and people from more technical backgrounds).

– practice online coding questions as much as you can. There is normally a pattern to the types of questions asked, and whilst the questions may seem daunting at first it is possible to become used to these and come up with a strategy for approaching them. Use free resources online to look up common interview questions in the area you are applying and have a go at them yourself before looking at the answers!

– have questions for your interviewer prepared, there should be time for this at the end of the interview.

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