At The Growing Club we work with women who want to make a change to their work situation. We have seen that, regardless of their skills and experience, many women in caring roles, myself included, end up in low paid work as the only way to balance all the demands.
Fellow Galgator, Emma Drummond, decided to retrain and join the well paid, but male dominated world of tech’. Here’s her journey :
I was on a career-type route through my twenties, which I very much enjoyed. I like to put my all into my work, so I felt I couldn’t promise that consistency once I had my children and I took low-pay roles for over a decade. Now, however, I am beginning a new career by moving into the ‘tech’ industry.
Moving into tech is a measured risk as I’ve turned my analytical approach on myself and explored aspects of the varied roles I’ve held. When I looked back, data analytical work was a driving passion throughout. Several administration roles left me time to look at the information I accumulated, from course feedback scores to employment statistics, and a very repetitive day pattern was perfected to add a research project in the gaps.
The pay of jobs in tech is astounding and I can expect to earn considerably more than I have ever as a PCR technician or administration assistant. However, joining a supportive team will be my priority as I juggle family with a more demanding and satisfying role. The tech industry is not known for its softer side, but I have met several employers recruiting “returning mums” as they have more potential and motivation. Simply by being older than the usual freshly graduated applicant means I bring many extra skills and experiences, and a greater knowledge of myself.
In a practical sense, I’ve been preparing for the career move for a few years by undertaking a project creating computer codes which predict patterns in genes. I’d looked at a few projects but getting an extensive grounding in R and Python was the reason I chose the project. Working at a distance, including through the pandemic, was a real challenge as I had to not only self-motivate but also solve many problems independently. This was both a boost for my confidence and evidence of my abilities for future employers.
The pandemic lockdown home-schooling taught me that I was stronger than I thought and that I needed to generalise my skills and make connections. I’m currently broadening my coding skills at an intense, government-funded, coding boot-camp, CODE Lancashire. The course is built around the needs of local businesses for coders confident with languages, like SQL, HTML and Python, which guarantees my employability and usefulness.
Good luck in your job search Emma!