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Home » Academic and Career Talks

Are you planning to shift in a career in IT?

Submitted by on Saturday, 20 March 20105 Comments
Are you planning to shift in a career in IT?

I’ve been asked a lot of times by avid readers and non-IT friends whether it is really hard to shift in the field of IT (Information Technology).  Seriously though, i am torn between saying YES and NO for an answer. Let me share with you some of my real life stories which am sure everyone can relate to.

I remember roughly 8 years ago, when i was still starting up my professional career in the IT industry, i met Ronnel who was a fresh philosophy graduate from UP-D. A gifted MAGNA-CUM LAUDE! We stumbled each other  applying for Information Technology Bootcamp (as trainees)  in the corridors of the Ex Equitable PCI Bank Building which is now known as BDO Towers. Realizing the value of the rigorous training for 2 consecutive months plus the sleepless nights of reviews and exams, luckily, we ended up as graduates and successfully landed a position in the said bank. Ronnel filled the QA position post while i got the Jr Programmer post.

Later on, when i got the chance to talk with Ronnel privately and asked him why did he choose this path, he simply answered uninhibitedly that he liked working with computers. WOW! That’s straightforward.  What intrigued me more was his background in Catholicism and Priesthood. Imagine, he came from a different world after all. “What exactly can an ex-seminarian do in a corporate world like this?”, I mumbled, thinking how things would turn out for him. Though he was skillful enough to manage and keep  his faith unshaken outside the conventional Catholic headquarters, the idea to survive the everyday task as a Quality Assurance Analyst was definitely a baffling and daunting experience… at least for him as newbie in the said field. Here, comes a gifted lad who took a lot of courage, sacrifices and hardships to make things happen. And look at him now? I heard he’s now a Product Support Manager for a Multinational Bank in Makati City.

Then there’s another friend and a college classmate, Nancy, who managed to shift career to programming for a reputable  IT Consulting firm in Ortigas. She was a former actuary for PhilamLife, a known multinational insurance company. For those who still don’t know, actuaries are actually business professionals doing predictive analysis with the financial impact of risk and uncertainty. They are greatly in demand as well because they have a deeper understanding of financial security systems, with a focus on their complexity, their mathematics, and their mechanisms (check wikipedia.com). In short, they are simply referred to as MATH WIZARDS of insurance industry! 😀  Never did i imagine that she would take down this road to IT field knowing for the fact that she’s pretty much doing well in her chosen field. Then one evening I got a surprise text message from her asking me how could she transition from her current 2-year role as an actuary to IT. “If you’re willing to sacrifice your current earning rate for a trainee in an IT Consulting firm and willing to bind for 2-3 year with the company who is sponsoring your training  then that could be a good start”, I replied with a positive reinforcement. Then fast forward, later when i found out, she is now delved into Microsoft .NET Programming! Wow, that’s one of the fastest growing programming languages and in great demand nowadays. Luckily for her, she managed to get back on track.

In addition, Nona, my beloved sister, who was a former chemistry engineering graduate from a reputable university also did the same career change which transpired just this last quarter of Y2009. She was a former analyst for X Corporation then  eventually became a fulltime technical support agent for 2 years for a known Call Center Company in Ortigas. According to her, mostly she didn’t enjoy the rotating job schedule as an agent thus the reason to sift for better job alternatives.  The cycling work condition is jeopardizing the biological clock of the body’s internal organs which in the long run, may have an adverse effect in one’s health. One of those dynamic discussions i saw over GreenBodyTalk, a health discussion board. This is true enough as i witnessed her eyebags fall during the evening shift and the lethargic composition of her face as she drags herself to the office. Good thing was, upon my proposal, she managed to land to a position she ever liked, even better, through the help of her church mate-turned-project-manager who is currently working for the well known Food/Manufacturing Industry in Mandaluyong. Now she is engaged into a SAP/R3 Project, an envied job of some people i already know in the IT industry… a 6-digit figure. And luckily for her, she was offered a competitive package much better than from her previous job as a technical support agent.

But unlike some of my dear friends mentioned above, Dyan, who graduated an IT course, admitted to me that she enjoys working with people more than a computer-centric environment. Although she liked programming subjects during her tenure in college, her heart called her for another role, a clinical nurse. She had been taught to handle basic clinical operations for a dermatological clinic in Makati City helping people to deal with acne and skin diseases.  Her amiable demeanor makes her win trust/smile from patients.

Shifting in a career in IT or in any other line of business can be a traumatic or fulfilling one depending on the current outlook of the present economy. It is definitely not easy i would say and that you have to carefully invest a tidbit of your time to self-reflect and answer some basic questions. Is IT (information technology) really for me?  What are my strengths/weaknesses? What are your skills and competencies?What are the cost/benefits of making this change? Am i ready to face this challenge? What would making the change entail? Should i get back to school and earn certifications? What are my priorities? Would there be a temporary setback in pay? If so, can you live with the temporary adjustments? What are the present market conditions which are in great demand at the moment?

If you are able to engage yourself retrospectively and was able to arrive to a decision where in you realized that the benefits of career change to Information Technology clearly outweighs the costs involved and emotional involvement, then IT could be for you. But  if you completely feel adamant about making this change or hesitant that you can’t take the challenge and evolving world of IT then i think you need to revisit yourself and possibly rekindle your priorities in life. If you are the type where you mostly enjoy solving world’s problems through the emerging technologies then information technology could be a great career for you. But if you prefer a hospitable environment or you are looking into a possibility of owning a restaurant or engaging in a NON-IT business then you opt to consider other possible roles.  People from different walks of life, reinvent themselves either through self-improvement, career-change or a demand of everyday tasks. It’s a human nature. It’s considerably normal and it’s inevitable especially to a dynamic business climate like ours, the one we are actually seeing today. And as IT evolves from the synthesis of science, mathematics,technology, and the brilliant minds of the IT architects so as the various roles of each people living with it. And as we know, change is only the constant thing in this world.  True enough, people keep on changing … for the better.

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