"Is this... an April fool's joke?"
...is what I asked the recruiter when he called me on the 1st of April to let me know I had gotten the job. It felt impossible, too good to be true - this was the first tech role I'd ever applied for, after all. Strictly speaking, even saying I applied for it is an exaggeration, because in truth, I was approached by a recruiter on LinkedIn. My portfolio page wasn't up yet (it still isn't), and my bootcamp was only 90% finished. On paper, I was less ready than many others out there. I couldn't believe my luck - I had actually secured a job offer from one of Europe's fastest growing tech companies. For someone with no computer science degree and a background in mental health and administration, this was life-changing stuff.
Despite what the admittedly clickbait-y title of this article suggests, it will not focus on me blowing my own trumpet and letting everyone know just how smart and uniquely awesome I am (although, of course I am... 😏). Instead, I will offer some well-meaning advice and talk openly about my often challenging but ultimately rewarding experience of transitioning careers from mental health to tech in under a year, warts and all. I will let you know what I did to get to where I am now, but importantly, I will also acknowledge the large role circumstances outwith my control played over the last year.
Don't get me wrong - I've worked incredibly hard for this - sweat, blood and literal tears went into the process. Of course I think I deserve the company's faith and I'm determined to continue growing and proving myself worth their trust. But I want to qualify my success with external factors that helped me get here.
I've previously caught myself feeling jealous of people who wrote similar articles without acknowledging how much luck or support they had along the way. Social media is by design a place where we share our highlight reels, and more often than not, we remain silent about the uglier parts of our lives, or the privilege we get to benefit from. My aim is to be fully transparent, and in doing so, prevent anyone reading this from feeling bad about themselves just because their job search or learning process might be taking longer than mine did.
So whether you are a newbie starting to learn how to code or a bootcamp-graduate already in the market for your first tech job, keep reading, this series of articles is for you. You've got this. I promise.
The focus of this series will be split across 3 topics, which I'll release over the coming days. If you're more interested in practical advice than my journey, fair enough, feel free to skip ahead to Part 2.