Have you ever said to yourself at work “sigh, I can be doing so much more than this!”. This was me back in mid 2013, I was working at a phone shop and even though I was around technology and the latest gadgets, I never felt fulfilled and eventually did not want to be there anymore.
This is not to say working in a phone shop is unfulfilling or terrible but it wasn’t for me or as one would say it was not my “calling”. I had just come out of university with an engineering degree, ready to work but instead I found myself stuck in retail.
Working on retail shop floor gives you the opportunity to talk to a number of different people throughout the day, and whilst talking to customers I would often get the question “You have an engineering degree – why are you here??”. This question triggered me because I didn’t have an answer, I could hardly respond with “this is what I want to do” because that was so far from the truth. Questions like this did nothing to boost my morale at work, and eventually it became a stepping stone in getting me to leave retail and pursue a career in engineering.
I knew I wanted to work in tech long before I graduated – with my degree it looked like it would be robotics at one point, probably because of my love for Iron Man. Whilst working in the phone shop, I was intrigued about two things: 1) the engineering behind a phone device i.e. designs, durability of phones and materials used to build the phone, and 2) the software. My interest grew towards the latter the more time I spent working in retail. I already had programming experience from my degree. I had worked with MatLab which shares a lot of similarities to C so I decided in the end to try and learn Java. Learning Java was challenging but not too difficult for me to pick up, the issue was working with Eclipse and android SDK at the time. I was lucky enough to meet customers who worked in tech as engineers and they were able to give me advice on how to get in and how I can connect with them as well. I was being proactive in my current situation to try and get myself out of it.
My journey as a software engineer really began working in retail, I had an opportunity to be around the latest tech and also the opportunity to discover myself and find a career for me. I was able to take control, study and seek opportunities to get myself out of a situation I was unhappy with.
In life we always have obstacles that stop us from being where we want to be or should be, and some battles are extremely tough but what I always say is to face them head strong. Seek help and guidance if you can, be proactive – do not sit there and complain while doing nothing about it and please do not accept a career or job that is not for you. Find a way to use your current situation to your advantage. Ask your current employer how you can move into another department different to where you are currently situated, a lot of companies prefer internal recruitment and love to hire/promote from within. Be confident, there is always a way to get into the field you want.
“Fortune sides with him who dares.”
- Do not do a job or career if it’s not for you.
- Take a risk if you’re not happy in your current situation (might as well)
- Get help and advice – you cannot always do it alone.
- Meet career professionals in the field you want (meetup.com is a great place to start)