Changing Career Paths Into The IT Sector
Why is changing your career path towards Technology a good idea? How can you do it? In this article we share the advantages of working in IT, real life experiences of our team members, and different institutions to train for an IT role and enter the sector.
Choosing your career is not easy. Sometimes your expectations of the career you wanted to study are different from what it actually is, which you may realize while studying it or when you start working. Additionally, there are a wide variety of options and a lot of factors that influence one’s decision: the alignment between our capabilities and strengths with the ones needed for each career, job opportunities, if it is one’s vocation, if it will allow us to have economic stability, among others. These weigh more or less depending on each person.
Many people change careers, either while they are studying or after years of dedicating themselves to something else. When people make a change in their career to start working in the Technology Industry, we talk about professional retraining towards the IT sector. Why would someone, after years of making a great effort studying another career or working on something else, change their profession to work in this industry?
Good work environment
Software development companies generally care about providing a positive work environment for their collaborators. Social activities are usually organized to get to know each other better and enjoy some time together outside work.
High volume of job opportunities
As it is a booming industry, companies need professionals for different positions, so there are many job opportunities. Even though there is a higher demand for developers, there are many other roles companies need and in which one can work.
In general, they offer a flexible schedule that allows you to have a good work life balance.
Most companies give their collaborators the chance to work from home, and some even allow them to work from anywhere in the world as long as they comply with their tasks and reach their project’s expected objectives. This broadens the possibilities to travel, study abroad or visit friends or family who may live in foreign countries without interfering with one’s work.
Working at software development companies many times means working in distributed teams of people from different countries, which is enriching as it allows team members to get to know a wide variety of cultures.
Projects generally last between 3 and 24 months. Clients and topics can be really diverse, which makes the job dynamic and changing.
Technologies are permanently evolving and changing, which gives us an opportunity to learn new things all the time.
Digital products are born to help a specific group of people to solve or improve some aspect of their lives (business, entertainment, education, health, among others). Therefore, it is gratifying to know that what we do will end up helping someone else.
There are several people in our team who started their career path studying or working in a completely different field and ended up working in the software industry. During their path of change, they learnt and grew a lot as people and as professionals, in this article we will share some of their stories:
Jenny Uzcátegui, QA Analyst, Venezuela
Jenny started her career path by studying History of Art at the University of Los Andes in Mérida, Venezuela. During her studies, she also took administrative courses, which allowed her to work as a receptionist, administrative assistant, and museum guide. Later on, she moved to Montevideo, Uruguay, and worked in various administrative jobs.
Jenny then decided to study Tourism Management, which led her to work in the tourism industry. Unfortunately, the pandemic in 2020 caused Jenny to lose her job and be unemployed for six months. This made her reconsider her career path, and she began seeking different opportunities and training.
She came across a training program for software testing provided by the Cpued cooperative, which helps train the Venezuelan population for various job sectors. This program was free, and it included soft skills workshops as well. Jenny was selected for the four-month training, and it was her first exposure to the IT industry. She discovered that she enjoyed software testing and realized that it suited her skills.
Afterward, Jenny continued to educate herself through online platforms such as Platzi, Google, and YouTube while working as an administrative assistant at a bookstore. She then learned about Upcamp through a friend, a technology bootcamp supported by Abstracta which was opening up applications to work at Onetree at the moment. This opportunity allowed her to deepen her knowledge of software testing and take her first steps in the IT industry. “I am grateful for being selected for Upcamp’s boot camp because it changed my life. I learned a lot, met amazing people, and discovered the IT industry’s warmth and willingness to help each other”, says Jenny.
She is happy to have transitioned into IT because the work model allows for flexibility and the chance to work on different projects with new teams “I encourage others to take opportunities that come their way, even if it seems like a crazy idea, if it makes sense to you and moves you, do it”.
Leonardo Wilson – Frontend Team Lead, Uruguay
Leonardo’s career path started in college, when he was studying Architecture. He enrolled almost by default, because he did not dislike math and had a talent for drawing. He got through the program as an average student, with ups and downs in motivation and performance. Towards the end of his studies, he started working in the construction industry and began to realize that he did not want to do that for the rest of his life.
In his final year of Architecture school, while preparing his thesis, he consulted with friends who worked in the IT sector and decided to invest some savings in a career as a programmer. When he told his friends, family, and partner about his decision, they supported him but did not fully understand it. Leonardo realized that the years he had invested in Architecture should not determine his future, he did not have to be tied to it, and he needed to look forward instead of backward.
Leonardo pursued his programming studies simultaneously with his Architecture thesis and his job in construction. “The first semesters were truly challenging as I had to adapt to a new discipline, attend classes at night after work, and study on weekends. However, I was motivated and had a clear goal, so I persevered and could carry it out”, says Leonardo. As he was finishing his programming courses, he was offered a junior developer position at Onetree, which gave the start to his new career in the IT world.
It has been 10 years since Leonardo started working at Onetree, and he now works as a Team Leader in the frontend area. Although his decision to switch careers was not initially understood by those around him, Leonardo was able to overcome the challenges and achieve success in a new field.
Carola Gallino, Project Manager, Argentina
Carola started her career as an Accountant and worked in that field for a while. She eventually ended up in an international company, responsible for the migration of the company’s management system, as a reference and later as a Project Manager. Carola realized that to perform her job better, she needed to learn more about Project Management. She listened to someone talking about it in a meeting one day and found it interesting, so she decided to explore it.
She enrolled in a three-month course, which completely blew her mind. She discovered the PMI methodology, which helped her understand that there was a structured way of doing what she was naturally good at. After that, Carola enrolled in other short courses and started to earn certifications in different areas such as Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Project Manager. Later on, the same academy that provided the courses hired Carola as a PM to implement another ERP system. She had some understanding of ERP systems from the business side, but it was still relatively new to her.
Carola used to live in Córdoba, Argentina, and then decided to move to Uruguay, where she discovered there were many opportunities in the software industry. “I feel very fortunate to have been given an opportunity in Onetree, that hired me even though I did not have much experience in the software industry”, says Gallino. After several months on the job, she became proficient in software project management, and she realized that she loved what she was doing.
Carola’s love for project management stems from her childhood and teenage years, when she was always drawing up timelines and plans for everything, whether it was a family trip, a project, or a work plan. Moreover, as a trained accountant, managing money comes naturally to her. Her story is an example of how someone can change their career path and find success in a new industry. Her background in accounting and her natural talent for project management made her a valuable asset. “By continuously learning and earning certifications, my transition from accounting to software project management has been amazing.”
How to change your career path into the IT sector?
There are many institutions that focus on training people so that they can work in the IT sector. In the following list we share some of them, by clicking on them you can learn more:
It is a program of work reconversion to the industry of Information Technology. Their process consists of 3 steps. Firstly they work with applicants to find their natural talents and guide them in which area it is convenient for them to form themselves. Secondly, applicants go through a theoretical-practical training focused on their chosen path. Thirdly, there is a stage of work practices that intends to finish giving them the necessary skills to work in the market. Once applicants finish the program, SeniorITty commits to successfully negotiate job placement in different companies.
It is an Abstracta spin-off that has the goal of carrying out an integrative training of IT skills for people without experience and collaborating with their job placement. Given that in the sector of Technology there are growing business opportunities that lead to a constant demand of IT roles, UpCamp offers companies the placement of people without experience through internships that have an integrative approach to the learning process. They created a model of training abilities that has a structure and necessary activities to provide students with the required skills to get into the market in some of the following roles: Frontend Developer, QA Automator, and QA manual.
This EdTech prepares people for today and future digital jobs by way of courses, careers, webinars and events. They offer learning through experience, which means students face real work situations; by doing so they overcome challenges and obtain new abilities. Additionally, they provide students with career advisor; they help them arrange an impactful Tech CV, they share their projects on LinkedIn, Behance, and Github, and they roleplay job interviews.
It is a platform from the company Abstracta that offers online software testing courses. These can be accessed at any time so that students manage their time at their convenience. Certifications are designed by engineers, doctors in computer science, testing specialists, and college professors. Students receive job opportunities by email and have priority when Abstracta recruits new team members.
It is an Edtech organization that offers remote education through intensive courses, training for companies, and school programs.
As well as these, there are many other similar academies or online platforms, we share some of them:
- If you are looking to study a Technology career from scratch for several years, enrolling in a University is a good option. According to Uruguay XXI’s report concerning the academic offer in Uruguay, these are the Universities that offer IT training:
- Universidad de la República – UDELAR
- Universidad del Trabajo del Uruguay – UTU
- Universidad Tecnológica – UTEC
- Universidad ORT Uruguay – ORT
- Universidad Católica del Uruguay – UCU
- Universidad de la Empresa – UDE
- Universidad de Montevideo – UM
- Universidad CLAEH
- Centro de Altos Estudios Nacionales (Ministerio de Defensa Nacional)