Embracing the Digital Renaissance Part 1
Happy with your current non-IT profession, but not quite? Is a career change just a fancy expression used lately or a real deal to empower your ambition?
Once upon a time, I nurtured a dream of becoming a graphic engineer, ever since enrolling at the University of Zagreb. Sometime after finishing the Faculty, I got a job in one of the Croatian publishing houses in their printing department.
Enchanted by the hassle and commotion of the production process and the deafening sounds of enormous but precise printing machines I was sure that I had chosen the right career. In the beginning, I felt I was on the right path to gaining enough experience and knowledge that would lead me to the ‘’promised’’ engineer positions in renowned companies.
Drawn by the robust anatomy and microscopic elements of the printing and finishing machines, I left the comfort of the desk job in the publishing house to engage myself further in the graphic engineer career that I still considered to be the fulfillment of my education and self-determination. That meant accepting the job in another firm as a shift manager in production, placed as a professional responsible for all workers operating machines and the quality of the products being made or shipped out.
My expectations were not met in such an environment and I quickly resigned from the post, establishing myself again as a desk engineer in another firm, but now with more involvement in the production process than on the first post. It was a smaller company but with various techniques and machines. I felt quite comfortable as the management was family-like and accepting. Brand new machines were being unpacked the first day I stepped into the firm. Once again, I was overwhelmed with the rush of adrenaline since I would be getting deeper into various printing and finishing techniques.
The excitement didn’t last long enough, unfortunately, since we were all struck globally with what was defined as a pandemic. Smaller shops and companies started closing down, and larger companies drastically reduced orders. Machines and roars of workers were becoming quieter and quieter until a workday became just one phone call or email with a client. Economies worldwide plummeted as the prices and life expenses skyrocketed. We all feared for our workplaces, even though we were being assured by the management that the company would remain on its course thanks to the savings.
Luckily, they were right and we managed to swim out on the surface after the pandemic precaution measures loosened. Phones started ringing again, emails were piling up and the business slowly started coming back. We were thrilled to hear from our old clients again and to see new pallets of freshly imported paper being stacked next to the machines, waiting to be imprinted. Everything seemed to be getting back to what it once was, except for one thing. I started to lose myself at one point in all these, somehow post-apocalyptic times, and for the first time started to question my dream of becoming a graphic engineer. My work days became bland and pale, as opposed to the piled-up sheets of paper printed with various saturated and live colors.
A couple of my friends noticed that and encouraged me to join them in this exciting and always-evolving IT industry. I put the thought into it and every time we saw each other, I would shower them with questions about available positions, roles, and how the digital agency culture works. I started exploring and reading about the concept of work being done inside such companies.
I was quite amazed by the whole structure of roles and work distribution and the details put into it. Unlike the production I had been in, where the only known flow was, as I came to the knowledge of the term, the waterfall methodology, IT offered a totally new angle. That new angle happened to be agile. I opened a few online videos to explore the different approaches to business and teaming up inside this agile methodology. I was fascinated by the concrete and clear definitions of roles inside the team, team managers as the ones overseeing the process, and the timelines. Although any work is stressful, IT seemed to offer a less stressful atmosphere and more innovative and problem-solving-oriented colleagues.
It all sounded like a perfect next job opportunity but I had some doubts. Of course, it meant me leaving the profession that brought me to another country, one that I finished higher education for and luckily found my first real job in it. I had to think twice….or even more, but I came to the conclusion that the stagnation I was in, was more than dissatisfactory. So, I took another step forward and revisited my CV, embellished it with recent ‘’career successes’’, but mainly concentrated on important things which, I certainly hope, weighted to my side, such as soft skills and management skills I had acquired over the years. As I was going through these videos online, I could feel this sensation of content while listening to the IT folks. They gave out the feeling of calmness, openness, and acceptance. But at one point it hit me - I don’t have any advanced knowledge of IT, nor have I done any kind of work related to it.
Would I be a laughing stock as I applied for an open position at a digital agency? Would they call me for the first interview just to see who was brave enough to even apply for any kind of work in their firm without experience? Should I just give up and let these vacant workplaces go to people with some or any experience in the IT field? Turns out I thought wrong. The IT world is more than welcoming towards the ones with or without any knowledge and experience. The reality of it all is that digital agencies or, broadly said, IT companies are looking for individuals who are ready to learn, evolve, grow professionally, and embark on exciting new career adventures.
I might add I had gotten on board this new career adventure almost a year ago and definitely haven’t regretted it for a single day. I went through the interviews with the sole wish of changing my career and doing something completely different, like turning away from the pallets and pallets of printed paper to greet the pixel-perfect app designs and neatly shaped buttons on mobile or desktop screens. Yes, I landed myself in a QA team as a software tester, a junior one. Thanks to my dear and helpful colleagues, I have learned a lot of stuff in quite a short period of time. I am looking forward to seeing what new and exciting tasks await me in the future on this IT path in which I hope I will live happily ever after.
Stay tuned for part 2 where I explain how I came to be part of the team working on the biggest project in the firm.
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