Secret Diary of a Career Changer

Posted by: Gabrielle Skelton 20 April 2022

The Academy, Week 1, Day 1, 9am:
What was I thinking Dear Reader? I’m a teacher – I don’t know the first thing about being a Technical Analyst. But here I am for day one of Alchemy Academy 7, ready to start 5 weeks of intensive pre-employment training for the tech industry.

There’s a full-time job at the end of the Academy if I perform well.  Obviously, that has to be too good to be true? Surely they are going to realise that I am a stray primary teacher and have me returned to the nearest school. But I have a plan. 5 whole weeks of experience with a tech company is a fantastic opportunity and I am going to learn as much as will fit into my brain.

I’ve been talking about changing careers into tech for a few years now. I’ve done 2 post graduate diplomas in computing, but only recently built up the nerve to apply for jobs. I was thrilled to get offered a place in this Academy but now it’s real and I am scared. That’s the CEO walking into the room now. Here we go…

 

The Academy, Week 1, Day 2, 6pm:
I met my Mentor today and she is amazing! We all got assigned mentors from the last Academy intake, so our Mentors understand exactly what we’re experiencing at the minute. It’s so reassuring to have someone specifically assigned to “be in my corner”. I feel like I have my own personal coach and cheerleader in one and it’s awesome. Maybe I can actually do this?

Oh, and after training today, I finally understand what the Agile Methodology looks like in practice! We learned all about it in College, but it was such an abstract concept. I totally get it now though – I am officially learning!

I’ve also learned that I am not the only career-changer in the group. Among our merry little band of wannabe Alchemists, we also have a trained counsellor, a barber, a former MMA fighter, a swimming coach, a pizza chef and a farmer.

 

The Academy, Week 2, Day 1, 9pm:
I have 18 new friends now. Academy 7 has already bonded into a tight group – it’s like we’ve all known each other for years. We’re supporting each other, we have little inside jokes and we roam the college in a pack formation.

My teaching experience came in handy last week. We had to do a presentation for the CEO, the Head of HR and all our Mentors on Friday. It felt like we were going in front of the judges on the X Factor. Apparently, all those years of standing in a classroom have equipped me with pretty strong presentation skills. I’ve heard about career changers having “transferable skills” before but it’s exciting to put them into action.

This is also “Insurance Week” at the Academy. It turns out that I find insurance rather fascinating. I studied Sociology back in my undergrad days and the insurance theory seems to tap into that part of my brain. I’m already studying for our FE1 exam next week and I am very, very tired!

 

The Academy, Week 3, Day 2, 6pm:
It’s Java week at the Academy. I passed my Insurance exam with flying colours, and so I am celebrating with several days of intensive coding practice. It’s been a while since I coded anything at College and I’m half-convinced that this will be the week that they finally “find me out” and send me home!

 

The Academy, Week 4, Day 1, 9am:
Well, I survived Java week. The tutor did not in fact try to send me home once I started writing code. On the contrary – he assured me that I had nothing to worry about with my technical ability. The Java course was tough, but I am learning so much. This week we are being introduced to Guidewire, one of the Insurance software systems that Alchemy deals with. This is the big one, I am now going to see what a Technical Analyst at Alchemy spends their time doing!

And Dear Reader, I want this job. I really, really want this job. I don’t want this experience to end when the Academy finishes. It’s super intense and I’m mostly running on coffee at this stage, but I am having an absolute blast and learning so much.

Next week we find out if we get permanent roles at Alchemy. Eeeeeeek!

 

Week 5, Day 5, 11.18am:
It’s the last day of the Academy and I have an email from HR in my inbox!!! This is it – did I get the job or not?

 

Week 5, Day 5, 11.19am:
Dear Reader, I am officially a Technical Analyst at Alchemy. Now on to Bootcamp…

Similar insights