Moving from working in hospitality to the tech industry could be seen as a strange move for some, however for me, it was as perfect a match as cream and jam on a scone.
After running my own bakery for a number of years I decided to take the plunge into tech, more specifically coding.
I have a background in catering and a passion for baking, but I was able to take the transceiver industry head-on with ambition and adaptability and have since worked my way up from a customer service role to coding manager in under two years.
Curiosity kindled the career
I was always interested in how things work, and in order to do my job to the best of my ability, I wanted to understand more about the products we sell. I would sometimes go to the lab when I had finished my own work and spend time with the engineers, asking questions about the ins and out of our products.
I found this area more intriguing than I expected and before I knew it, I was researching things after work and on my lunch breaks and asking the engineer to show me more in-depth things. What I don’t have in specific qualifications, I make up for with a lot of hands-on experience. For my current role as coding manager, there aren’t any direct courses so the main way to learn is a mixture of hard-work and patience.
Everything I have learnt has come from asking questions, researching online and from books, and throwing myself in the deep end. Pure determination, passion and confidence is how I have got to where I am.
Challenges are your friend
Getting to where I am today was not without its challenges. One of the biggest difficulties was juggling my job with the desire to learn. At the time, the company didn’t have an in-house method for programming, so I volunteered myself to take a look at some of the urgent customer orders at the time.
As I was doing this, my manager tailored my role, so I could spend more time learning and helping behind the scenes. I was very lucky that the company I worked for supported and encouraged me to take my passion for learning seriously.
I enjoy finding a solution to technical issues, especially if other companies have said “Sorry, it can’t be done.” I love a challenge and to learn new things, and this job offers a lot of both. The generation of young women today are so lucky that we have so many more doors open to us than our gender has ever had before, but there are still areas that need challenging to also follow this.
Glass ceilings are as high as you make them
If you take a closer look at a number of companies today, there are more women in both leadership and more technical roles than you think. For example, myself at ProLabs as Coding Manager, as well as our Global Marketing Director, Haley McPherson.
Now, an average day for me at ProLabs involves managing the lab to run efficiently for production, as well as developing new codes for future product lines, maintaining the day to day coding library and supporting lab operations. I also provide front-line technical support for client and internal sales queries.
My advice is if something catches your eye, go for it! We owe the women that have carried us this far to continue blurring the lines of what people should be doing, and support people on what they want to do and their talent regardless of their gender.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s in a STEM career or any other, if you have a passionate work ethic and a drive to succeed, you will. Where you are now doesn’t determine your future, always work to the best of your ability and you will get where you want to be. Find your passion and the rest will follow. I’m living proof of this!
About the author
After working in the catering and hospitality industry for a number of years and running a bakery, Zoë decided to take the plunge into the transceiver industry and self-taught herself the tricks of the trade whilst working at ProLabs.
Working at ProLabs since 2016, Zoë has quickly been recognised for her ability to develop codes that allow transceivers to work with different switches and for her organisational and planning skills, rising from CSR to Coding Manager in less than two years.
Zoë sees her transition from one industry to another as something of a highlight. Since joining ProLabs, Zoë has built up her team from the ground, created a large percentage of its products and has established an extensive knowledge of transceivers and process management.