Returning to or transferring to tech

This week’s Return to Work Week included a big focus on returning to or switching to a career in the technology sector.

Suzy Dean, AddIn365


Are you looking to return to a career in technology or thinking of switching sectors to technology?

A webinar at Return to Work Week explored the options and career possibilities. Suzy Dean, founder and CEO of  AddIn365 and an everywoman award winner, said there were three main routes in:

  • A back office role such as HR, marketing or sales with no technology skills required except an interest in and understanding of the sector and pay likely to be higher than in many other sectors
  • A developer role. This is more technological, but short courses in coding can provide a route in. There’s no need to do a computer science degree. Suzy has hired people, including someone who had worked in a call centre and trained him up. “No matter how old you are or what you have done before, if you really want to be a developer there is nothing stopping you,” she said.
  • A consultant role in user experience. That requires creative and analytical skills. Suzy said her firm had trained a nurse and two architects.

She emphasised that many of the skills needed in the sector are transferable ones and that people in her company come from a wide range of backgrounds. What she wants to see is interest, that people have read about the company and what it does, that they can reference different thinkers and best practice examples and that they understand what the rest of the market is doing and what the outlook is.

She added that it is a fast-changing sector and that anyone seeking to join it should embrace that or know themselves well enough to realise it is not for them.

The benefits, apart from salary and the job itself, include flexibility. Suzy said there is a lot of flexibility, but if you are applying to a job in the sector it is important to know what flexibility you need and be upfront about it. Similarly, you need to know what level you are at and go in on the right level for you and to not be scared to ask questions. For those with previous experience she advised against applying for lower level jobs, saying experience is cumulative and even if it was a while ago it is still experience you have.

There was more advice for returners when it comes to preparing for interviews. Suzy said it’s important to prepare well in recognition that an interview is ‘a big moment’. If that means getting someone to take your children overnight so you can get a good night’s sleep so be it, she said.

Other events on Day Two of Return to Work Week included a session by Tech Returners for those looking to return to a career in tech. They run an award-winning support programme that helps returners back to work. And Supermums ran a session on how to get back to work with a career in Salesforce. For more details of the Supermums and Tech Returners sessions, click here.

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