We've been here before. Not you. Me.
A career change. Only this time, it feels... right.
A little background is required.
I escaped University with a degree in Accounting and Finance fifteen years ago. I had zero interest in pursuing a career in that field. So why did I choose that course? Because, I liked Math. Seriously. That was the sole reason for putting it on the application form, and it was bottom of my list.
As it happened, all my other options fell through based on my fairly weak A-Level results. (I had chosen Biology, Physics and Math because I had ambitions to enter psychology).
Upon leaving Uni, I entered the world of Sales. Mainly because they were the only roles available at the time requiring little, to no experience.
Talk about a baptism of fire.
Introverted and socially awkward, I entered a world where thick skins need only apply. It was tough, and would get tougher as I climbed the ranks, working for a number of large corporates in more senior roles. Higher money, more ambitious targets and a win-at-all-costs mentality soon had me floundering and pining for something a little more... fulfilling.
Long story short, four years ago I broke away and made the lateral move to marketing, obtaining a diploma in digital marketing and working as an Inbound Marketing Specialist at one of the kingpins in the industry.
Manipulating algorithms to rank content higher, writing for search engines instead of humans, spray-gunning posts across social-media, boosting likes/shares/followers at all costs, soon made me feel like perhaps my calling wasn't to be found in the dizzying, unpredictable world of digital marketing.
But, crucially, I absorbed the things I found useful, discarded the things that didn't, and rolled it into my own freelance work.
So began, the next chapter of a colourful career. I freelanced for several clients having emigrated from Ireland to Colombia. Creating blog content, self-publishing several books (and subsequently marketing them to a wider audience), managing social media channels, generating business for new clients - all of this I did over a span of two years, utilising the best of the training that I was exposed to during my time at those large corporates and adding my own unique flavour.
But despite all this something was still missing.
I wasn't particularly happy. I wasn't satisfied.
NEWSFLASH! Not everyone is happy and fulfilled in their jobs!
I'm well aware of that, but I still felt that I could be doing something that either:
a) I enjoyed b) Used my brain c) That could add value, make a (real) difference. Ideally, all three.
So, at the age of 36, I came back to Ireland, dropped the freelance work which, although it paid well relative to Colombia, was never going to foot the bills in Dublin, and considered the next chapter of my life . I was desperate not to fall back into the relatively comfortable trap of sales again, even though if would have been easy to do so. After all, bills to pay.
Instead, I decided to dig deep. Somewhere underneath all the training, cultural programming, wonky beliefs, misplaced pride and ego, something needed to be brought to the surface. A spark or passion that I had to find and develop. I wasn't getting any younger and I felt there was no better time to really examine topics that I enjoyed - interests that could take my career into a new direction.
In the summer of 2019, I searched through Udemy and enrolled in a few courses that seemed interesting, hoping that there, I might find the answer. Among those I purchased was Colt Steele's Web Developer Bootcamp .
Instantly, I was hooked.
I knew that completing one Udemy course wasn't going to have employers breaking down my door, so I looked at formalising my education and in June 2019, I signed up for the Code Institute 's diploma course as a full stack software developer.
For the past year I've been devouring content. Coding has become my new obsession. I'm nearing completion of the course, and it has been a truly eye-opening experience, heavily project-based, and designed to equip students with the theory, but most importantly, real-world experience with a portfolio of projects to showcase to potential employers.
So that's where I'm at. Coding daily. Building my skill set. Approaching employers. Looking to get my foot in the door.
During the course I was fortunate to pair my study with some freelance work with a small fintech startup, providing some front-end support and advising them on client acquisition and marketing.
I've come to realise that my decade of corporate sales and marketing experience can be a valuable asset that, in combination with my newfound developer skills, can help me stand out from the crowd.
Recruiters in the past would have raised the alarm bell at my fairly frequent change of career within sales. I worked for six different companies in ten years, secretly hoping that my frustration in the industry would somehow be alleviated with a change in scenery.
I never understood until recently that I was simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I wasn't addressing the underlying problem. I was deeply unsatisfied in sales and was actually scared to break out.
Several weeks ago, when I spoke with a recruiter about my future plans for a coding career he framed my profile in a way that I had never considered. Instead of the old tags that would have labelled me as a 'career-hopper', he called me something which made me think about my experience in a new light.
As corny as it sounds, it shifted my beliefs that those 'lost' years weren't necessarily a detriment to my future career plans, but they could actually complement future employers and the roles I could apply for.
Now, if I could just remove this effin' Coronavirus, I can get back to work!