From Rave MC to Full-Stack Developer: How I realised Tech was for me

Ella Burt

Ella Burt

7 min read
changing careers to tech

Career change is a very daunting subject to approach and we understand that here at Knoma; there’s a fine line between choosing the career you think you want, and the career you actually want. Early career choices can be decisions that are heavily influenced by those around you, e.g. friends and family, leading your idea on what's the perfect career for you to become warped by so many factors.

One of the most common factors influencing career choice is choosing what you think as the sensible path, but maybe you haven’t considered whether this is a career you’d be happy in. This was definitely the case for Alex, Knoma’s Full-Stack Developer. Before turning thirty, Alex had pursued three different career paths but just didn’t feel that these careers were giving him the most out of his life. After reconsidering what he really wanted from a career, such as a work-life balance and job security, he decided to pursue a career in tech.

Today I speak to Alex to hear his story and advice he has for others that find themselves unhappy in their careers.

So Alex, what were you doing before you decided to pursue a career in tech?

Alex: So my early career was in music, I was a full-time rave MC from twenty to twenty-five. After I turned twenty-five I decided to pursue a career in sales because I thought it was the most sensible option to make, and then I eventually moved into recruitment. I worked in recruitment for two and a half years and progressed into a great position but I just hated it.

Nowadays, I enjoy socialising and communicating with people because these interactions are generally pleasant, because they’re by choice and I’m not trying to get something out of you and you’re not trying to get something out of me. It’s just pure communication. I can now totally be myself from the second I wake up until I go to bed. In recruitment and sales however, this isn’t the case at all; you’re using communication as a tool and it’s very draining of your energy. I love being sociable, but not for the sake of making money. By the end of every day, I just ended up not wanting to speak to anyone, which wasn’t so great.

So do you regret pursuing any of these careers before you decided to get into tech?

A: What I would’ve done different is not pick what I thought was the sensible choice, and instead did something I was passionate about. I think it’s easy to ruin your life if you’re trying to be sensible rather than chasing something you’re truly interested in. But then again, choosing careers in Sales and Recruitment aren’t massive regrets for me because they gave me the financial capability to get into tech. Knoma wasn’t around back then so I had to pay for the course myself!

Going from recruitment to coding is a jump - what inspired you to make that decision?

A: If I’m totally honest, what originally inspired me was the perks of that career path. I just wanted more freedom to work when and where I wanted to. To not treat my interactions with people as transactional, but instead keep them purely social. I love being sociable, but not for the sake of money. I just wanted to be happier.

I also felt like I wasn’t really learning a real tangible skill. In those industries, there’s a lot of focus on soft skills, but I felt like I was lacking a skill that I could practice and actually see myself getting better at. Coding and learning the different programming languages is a lot more quantifiable.

Do you have any advice for someone who anyone who is thinking about changing careers? Someone who may be contemplating breaking into tech?

A: Just do it. The hardest part is getting started with it. I’m not here saying it’s incredibly easy, but if you put in the effort, you’ll get to where you want to get to. The bigger picture is quite daunting but it’s all about making small steps. Like, I’m happy now and I do what I want. I don’t have to compromise with my life anymore. It can sound very entitled of me to say that, but I believe that when you know what you want in life, you can put a lot more positivity back into the world. There’s actually a proverb that I try to live by: the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is today.

Yeah, you know what you want now. I guess you probably spent the first part of your working life, in recruitment and sales, you probably did a lot of things you didn’t want to do?

A: I did loads of things I didn’t want to do and thought that this is just the way working should be. I said before that I got into tech because of the benefits but I really do love it. It’s a passion. I’m now doing something that I genuinely enjoy. And the money is better anyway. Now I can pour time into studying and turning into a better developer because I enjoy it. You know, I wouldn’t put extra time into recruitment in my evenings, because it wasn’t something I was passionate about.

And finally, what are your top 3 things about working in tech?

1. Freedom: Being able to be yourself.

2. Confidence: The confidence and fulfillment it gives you learning something new and progressing at a skill.

3. Job & Financial Security: I know this is a bit of a taboo subject, but removing all the stress that comes with not having money is great because it allows me be as happy as possible in my life. Tech is very secure. You’re in a candidates market but you’re very in demand.

Any last words of advice?

A: At the end of the day: just do it. Choose what makes you happy and the money will follow. There’s going to be hard work, but after that you’re laughing. You need to be ready to bat off people who think you’re crazy, because there’ll be a lot of them; don’t let anyone add sandbags to your hot air balloon.

Also for anyone considering switching careers, remember you carry your skills with you. Skills that you've built throughout your career are definitely transferable to the tech industry. So for me this was my communication skills I learnt through Sales and Recruitment, which are both very unrelated careers to my current role, but they can be transferred to help you develop a career in tech.

Change Careers today with Knoma

Have you fallen victim to choosing the sensible option of a career that you’re not happy in? Do you dread the thought of going into work every morning? Are you struggling to find a career where you have a harmonious work-life balance?

Pursue a career in tech today with Knoma’s interest-free course plans to help you find a career that helps you get the most out of your life.