Resetting your career path in your 30s

December 12, 2022 | Employment, Graduate Profile

For some Arts graduates with Masters degrees like Alex Allen, taking a punt on a new career in IT is a transition that makes sense. In 2020, the pandemic put a hold on international travel and Alex's career as a teacher of English in Japan and South Korea. An unexpected move back to New Zealand as borders closed, and time to consider his options while working in his family’s native plant business, led Alex to explore a new career.

Alex Allen, Tohorā 2022 Graduate

Acknowledging his interest in technology and love of teaching and training, Alex completed a one year government-funded diploma in Tech Support. This gave Alex the foundational knowledge to dive a little deeper into the world of tech. Alex was looking for a growth industry to enter, without adding expensive, lengthy courses to his student loan.

His next step was to enrol to study online at Dev Academy Aotearoa. He saw it as a great add on to his Tech Support qualification, and a way to open up to more career opportunities within the tech sector.

“There's more opportunities [now] for people to get their foot in the door in these [tech] roles.”

While 100% online courses aren’t for everyone, Alex enjoyed the experience. He didn’t want to travel from the Hutt Valley into the Cuba Street campus every day, so the flexibility to join online classes worked well for him. The daily lectures and coding practice are intense, so he appreciated the regular movement and snack breaks. The online team had a real focus on wellbeing while studying which worked for him.

Having recently completed a Tech Support course, Alex was in the swing of studying so didn’t find the structure of the course work challenging. The bigger challenge was the level of intensity of the course — he plunged into accelerated, deep learning from early on. Alex found he had a novice understanding of the course content, while some of his fellow students had some programming experience already. This made the learning curve a little steeper, but also more rewarding!

Alex recommends students enrolling in the online course take plenty of steps to avoid course burnout. The course builds in long lunch breaks and morning mindfulness to break up the intensity. For Alex, what worked was: stretching, going outside, walks or other exercise, eating well and getting enough sleep. Taking a break from course work at the weekend was also important for ensuring a study/life balance.

Besides technical learning, Alex enjoyed the Human Skills focus of the course content. Students created their own Whare Tapa Wha, a te ao Māori model of holistic health and wellbeing. Alex was also able to pitch his idea for turning this model into an app, and create this as a final course project. Alex appreciated being able to get creative during the course and realise one of his passions!

Another highlight was the end of course Careers Week. Unlike other tertiary providers, Dev Academy focusses on real life skills and practical outcomes: interview preparation, CV tips and creating or optimising your LinkedIn profile.

An unexpected course learning was the detail focus required for programming. Definitely a skill you need to develop! "If you don't have one comma, your programme won’t run." Alex found that he improved in this area over time, needing the rigour of the practical work to gain more confidence in his eye for detail.

“Worth the mahi.”

Was it hard work? Absolutely, but it was well worth the focus and effort required to graduate. In fact, Alex secured a Graduate Consultant role with global technology company Capgemini soon after graduating. His new role sees him leaning on his teaching experience to train staff from large corporates in using technology. His day to day also includes creating dashboards in Power BI, studying towards more Microsoft certifications, building Power Apps including Power Automate flows, aiding in large cloud migrations and building SharePoint sites - using similar coding concepts to the ones he learnt at Dev Academy.

Alex was more interested in cloud technology so isn’t working in a typical developer role. His teaching skill set also positioned him well for a training role. His advice for anyone interested in the Dev Academy course is not to be scared to change careers - stick at it and put the time in.

“It got me this job, which is a game changer.”

Ready to transition to a career in tech?

Learn more about our programme and check 2023 course dates