Restarting your career with online learning

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Article by Louisa Teece, Technical Specialist, OV

Sometimes life-changing realisations happen when you least expect it. For me, this happened on my maternity leave after having my son. Though, if I’m being completely honest, I probably did expect it.

Before I became a parent, I was based in an office, working in the business travel industry. Following the popularity of online travel shopping, the industry saw a dramatic change, physical offices were slowly dying, and with it so was my interest in the job.

Though my enthusiasm at work was waning, it took me far too long to realise that I was stuck in a dead-end job that frankly paid me very little. It was only once I’d experienced time away and had the chance to reflect that I realised going back was absolutely not an option.

I toyed with the idea of temping, but then my husband suggested retraining while I wasn’t working, and something clicked. I cut ties with the travel industry and decided not to return to work after maternity leave, giving myself three years to find what I wanted to do, re-train, and get out there. Daunting to say the least!

Finding your path

Of course, it’s only when you restart your career later on in life that you realise so much of the entry job market is tailored to school leavers. I tried out local trade markets and the recruitment fairs run by the Isle of Man (IoM) Department of Industry, but they were typically aimed at someone starting out in their first ever job.

So, I looked through the local papers, scouring business sections and job ads, constantly looking out for which industries were featured and who was hiring. After a while, it became clear that three sectors were booming on the Island: IT, Engineering, and Construction.

Construction didn’t appeal to me, especially as I needed a degree to get there, and Engineering was a similar story. So, it looked like I’d found my match: IT. 

With IT, I knew I could go to college and get a qualification, but the main draw was the sheer number of potential opportunities and places hiring. At the time, it was pretty clear that there was a huge labour shortage – which there still is today.

The power of online learning

Having the option to learn online was the deciding factor for me. The flexibility this gave me, meant I could learn at night when my son was in bed. And with so many online resources and platforms available, some free, some subscription based, I felt well supported.

I chose Microsoft’s free course, which included online learning tools and tutorials, then I paid for a subscription from Pluralsight, an online platform for on-demand training. Once I reached a certain level and passed my entry-level certificate for SQL Server on Microsoft, I started applying for jobs.

After just 12 months or so, I was ready to start the job hunt again, with a completely new outlook on the market. I started applying to entry-level IT jobs and in what felt like no time, I’d received a job offer from Partitionware.

Since then, OV, a global multi-network provider of cellular connectivity to IoT and mobile service providers, acquired Partitionware, and it’s now where I work today. IT is the perfect fit for me, and I am certain I would never have been able to change careers and discover my dream job, had it not been for online learning. 

It took me to the age of 35 to realise it, but if you’re wondering about a career change, don’t wait like me. If you’re worried about taking time out to commit to in-person training, there’s a whole world of opportunities and resources online, so believe in yourself, and don’t let uncertainty be a barrier to your happiness. 

Louisa TeeceAbout the author

Louisa Teece is a technical specialist at OV with a special focus on data management and BI. Louisa has been with OV since 2017 and over the years has developed a vast understanding of database management and administration. In more recent months Louisa has now delved into BI/MI and reporting analytics, highlighting key trends with the networks and partners we operate with. This data is a key aspect in us supporting our partners.

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