Shift happens: changing careers through the Ten10 Academy

two colleagues working on a tablet computer

Hear Francisco and Anthony’s experiences of kickstarting completely new careers in tech by joining the Ten10 Academy

We’re proud to offer a route for people from all backgrounds to kickstart their career through our award-winning Ten10 Academy. Several people join us either straight out of university or instead of pursuing higher education altogether, but we also accept many people who are seeking a career transition.

We wanted to hand the spotlight over to a few of these people who can share their stories and experiences of taking the leap of starting a brand new career from scratch with us at Ten10. Here are Francisco Fernandes and Anthony Pierre to tell you all about their career change into the world of IT.

What position and industry did you work in before joining us?

FF: Before joining Ten10 I came from a marketing background. I was an intern for a marketing agency called Voilla for six months and a digital marketing coordinator for Blackburn College for four months. During these roles, I was in charge of handling the major social media platforms, regularly updating the website with keywords to improve SEO, creating content and content ideation, and building and maintaining relationships with the stakeholders.

AP: I have been in the hospitality field for around thirty years. I started as a crew member at McDonald’s and rose to management after going through the staff positions. I have worked for companies such as Pret a Manger and Pizza Express and have always been good at creating well-engaged teams. I have worked in businesses of various sizes, and I particularly enjoyed advising smaller businesses on how to be compliant and safe within their premises. I reached the position of Area Manager within hospitality and I have also launched a few smaller brands taking responsibility for all aspects from the site build through to the onboarding of the teams. I have also written comprehensive training materials to help with team development.

What made you pursue changing careers to tech?

FF: I had always found myself leaning into the digital and technology side of things during my career, however, I never really thought of a solely technology-focused career. The singular experience that changed my mind was during the 2021 boom of blockchain technology and the metaverse. That really sparked an interest in what technology can do and what it can bring, and I wanted to be a part of it. Although I didn’t think I could transition into tech due to not coming from a technological background, I spoke to peers that are in the industry and I saw that I had plenty of transferable skills and a lot to give to this industry. This led me to pursue a way into this industry and that’s how I found Ten10.

AP: I have always been interested in tech, and I enjoy learning about the different aspects of networking in my free time. Working within hospitality for so long, it was difficult to see a clear path forward into a different career path. Often when I shared this desire with recruiters, they of course wanted the easiest path for themselves so preferred to put me forward for roles that I had done in the past.

What was your perception of tech before joining Ten10?

FF: I did not know what to expect when considering learning tech before joining Ten10 but I did know Ten10 Academy had a track record of people who came from the same background as me. I knew it would be difficult because I would have to learn new terminology but I was excited to figure out how things work behind the scenes of a website, how data connects through systems, and the processes that help a team build and create an app.

AP: In comparison to my cohort, I lack the development skills that I see that they have in spades. However, it was apparent to me in conversations that some of my prior work situations had placed me into scenarios where I had managed very large teams and been responsible for millions of pounds worth of budget, stock, and equipment. These are the transferable skills that, with training, could be put to use within the technology industry maybe within a Business Analyst, Project Manager, or Project Management Office role. This was an area of doubt before I joined the Academy and although it was answered on day one, it was probably not until the end of the training that I fully believed it!

Do you feel that having prior work experience has been an advantage during your training?

FF: I did not have technological work experience so in that sense I did not feel like I had an advantage. Sometimes I found myself getting confused over acronyms because they were similar to others I knew but did not have the same meaning as what I’d learnt before. I almost had to completely rethink my approach. However, through my time in the Academy, I believe that no matter what work experience background you come from, you will have at least one transferable skill to bring at least to one of these modules.

AP: From the trainer feedback I received it was mentioned that it is clear that I have experience of being out in the work environment. I came to both the in-person classes and online calls on time, and the trainers were good at noticing other small things that were, to me, quite commonplace from working with groups of people. As someone who can speak within a group of people without issue, I tried to recognise people who were talented but were reluctant to speak out. It was great to see how those individuals changed throughout the training. Conversely, I found that as I supported those quieter individuals also they went out of their way to support me when I fell behind with the pace of the training.

How do you feel about your career change so far? How are you enjoying working in tech?

FF: I absolutely love it! I was concerned with starting something completely new but now I know it was the right choice. I stopped my previous career because I saw most of the work I was doing was being automated by AI. This halted my ability to learn as I was not actively using my skillset that took years to learn. Everything felt easy and I was not improving. This is a common trend amongst people across different careers, not just marketing. On the other hand, the technology industry is so complex that it feels like every day is a learning opportunity. I believe there will never be a stage where my learning stops and I don’t continue to improve.

AP: I was lucky enough to get a client in the second week of core training, and I am waiting for security clearance. After meeting with Sales during the Client Readiness Week, it was interesting to see the various roles and industries that Ten10 has access to so I know that there are positions of interest for me.

What advice do you have for other people considering a career change to tech?

FF: Is there a learning curve? Yes. Will it be challenging at times? Yes. However, will it be worth it? 100%. My advice is to be resilient and trust the process. Tough times make tough people. There is 100% a place for you in tech and you just need to find it.

AP: I am an older recruit to Ten10 and as such, I was surprised that I was even accepted! But after discussions with Jenny Briant, the Academy Operations Director, she explained that I was admitted because of my life experience and the desire to join. I wish I had done this earlier in my life as I would have still had my extensive experience to pull from but I would be reaping some BIG rewards now! But you have to start somewhere, and I appreciate Ten10 for creating those first rungs of the ladder to allow people with no experience to find a pathway into the industry. The Academy is challenging but Ten10 emphasises creating a unique blend of individuals per cohort who come together to create friendships and support one another. If, like me, you are older, never forget that the soft skills that you’ve learned over time interacting with users, customers, and suppliers are useful soft skills which can also be applied in the IT industry. Good luck!

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