You and I, we are dreamers—we all are. We have our desires, things we would like to achieve or have. When alone, we let these thoughts run through our heads and we envision ourselves living that dream. Isn’t that fantastic? We flirt with these ideas and imagine “how it would all be”. Often, these thoughts leave a smile on our face. Does that sound familiar to you?
Of course it does. The problem is—when you open your eyes, the vision fades away and it’s just you and the surrounding reality called life. What about that dream of yours? Is it still there or did you already talk yourself out of it? Ahh… you already did. Or maybe not, maybe it is still there?
My name is Piotr, I’m 28 and I’ve recently switched careers – from business to IT. I started my business career path with a marketing internship (legal, CEE) then, I worked in email marketing (energy, EMEA) and after that, I managed an online community for data center professionals (tech, global).
In December 2015, I started working as a frontend developer intern at 10Clouds and am currently, a junior developer. Just so you know, before that—I didn’t do anything related to programming because my job was strictly, business-oriented.
How did that happen? It all started with an idea, which I converted into a goal and then made into a reality. If you are currently thinking about making a similar move to mine, let me share some tips with you—I hope you will find them useful.
Where to start?
Define your “why”. Ask yourself—why you actually want to make a change. This is tremendously important as it will help you get through the process of your transition. Why is this relevant? Doubts will probably cross your mind more than once so defining your “why” will help remind you of why you are leaving your comfort zone and entering uncharted waters. Trust me, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns but it is definitely worth the hassle.
Define your plan. I like to think that every output, is a reflection of the quality of input. Good work will result in a good final product or service whereas bad work, will ultimately be a waste of time and resources. It is as simple as that.
If you don’t want to waste your time and money, dedicate time to creating a plan. Make sure you cover the what, how, when and where. It will give you a sense of direction and confidence that your plan can be executed.
You don’t have to go to school for 3 to 5 years and study IT to become a programmer in a desired field of expertise. You really don’t. With the resources available online, you can learn to code by yourself or take an offline course (like, I did). Whatever works for you best.
You will need support. You can go through this transition by yourself. However, I advise you not to be a lone rider because it’s a whole lot easier with people in your corner that are cheering you on. Trust me, you will be frustrated here and there so—having somebody to talk to is very helpful because it will give you an opportunity to let go off some steam when needed.
Money and time.
You will have a lot of knowledge and information to absorb. Make sure it’s your only duty during an X-Y period of time. It is also helpful to have enough savings so that you don’t have to worry about money. Get your affairs in order beforehand. Inform your family and friends that you will be less available, so you aren’t being bothered more than necessary. If you have children, get a babysitter or somebody to look after them because you cannot study and worry about your kids at the same time.
Part-time transition, full-time job?
Anything is possible. However, I would strongly advise against working full-time and studying “after hours” and on the weekends. In 99% of cases it will not be as effective as a full-time transition and will take much more time. As a result, it may cause you to abandon the entire process and you don’t want that!
Although this point is a subject for another blog post, I will do a recap of my job hunt for you so that you can get an idea for how difficult it was. In truth, it was not difficult at all. I sent out 10 applications, got 5 interviews and 2 job offers in just 1 month. Pretty neat, don’t you think?
Frontend at 10Clouds. How is it?
A good start.
I will start off by saying that, 10Clouds puts trust in their people. If they see something in you, they will give you a chance. I have been lucky enough to have received one of those chances and for that, I am grateful. Why? Well, let’s be honest—they took a risk in hiring me because I had no background or experience in IT. However, after a 3 month internship, I got promoted to a junior developer so—I’m confident to say that our cooperation has been successful.
I must say, I got what I expected. 10Clouds is not a corporation, it has a family-like atmosphere thanks to the great people working there and partly because the 10clouds office is an actual house!
From the very beginning, I was given a mentor who has been helping me along the way (thanks Marta!) with pretty much anything I needed. It was helpful because I could set up a meeting to discuss a particular topic or consult with her about a problem at hand.
Ok—so, I code for living now. It does not differ much from any other blue-collar work. I have my desk in a room, which I share with 3 other developers. I come in and code particular bits of the project currently assigned to me (these tasks are created every 2 weeks during “planning” meetings with the entire Team). Some are a matter of spending a few hour(s) coding while others, can take days. There is no rule to it.
What’s great about IT and 10Clouds is that I can work remotely, from almost wherever I want. The only requirement is to be available online and attend meetings. To get a better idea about it, check out thisblog post written by a colleague of mine about living and working remotely in Malta!
Since we work using an agile software development framework, I attend daily morning meetings (15 minutes) with a team for any project I’m involved in (sometimes more than one). We exchange information of what was done the day before, what will be done today and what problems we ran into so we get these discussed right away.
It would be a sin not to mention our fridges and cupboards are full of great food. At 10Clouds, you come to the kitchen hungry but leave full. It is plain and simple. Fancy a coffee? Sure, grab a cup from a coffee machine. Are you a coffee-lover? We have some too that drink fancy coffee and use something called an aeropress— supposedly, it tastes better. Ow, there are also baskets of fruits—whatever you like.
Is a career switch worth a try?
It definitely is—there is no doubt about it! If you are hesitant, just give it a try. In the worst case scenario, you will not like it and then you can go back to what you did previously. At least, you will have your own opinion about it and will have had a fantastic experience switching careers. Yes, it will be hard but it will also be very rewarding!
See you at 10Clouds?
I can honestly recommend working at 10clouds. If you prove you really want to learn, it will not go unnoticed. Maybe an internship is hard to swallow at first but—if 10clouds sees you are developing your skill set, they will quickly promote you so your talent will not go to waste.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask below. I will be happy to address them. And remember—there are no silly questions. After all, it’s your career on the line!
I wish you the best of luck!