Looking to make a career change to web development?
min video //
min read //
May 4, 2021
There is no denying that a career change is a bit of a challenge. Feeling the frustration of spending years in school to end up in a job that you’re slowly realizing you don’t actually like or perhaps even can’t find work in puts you in a situation where you want to find a way out.
We spoke with three Re:Coded alumni who went through it all. Motivated by lack of jobs, the feeling of being exploited or simply loss of interest in the field they thought would shape the rest of their lives, they came to a point of no return, took a decision and now all find themselves in new careers in the digital economy. It was no easy decision to make.
It’s challenging to make decisions that would change your life altogether, but it’s a thousand times better than doing something you don’t like.
— Elif - Re:Coded alum
At least, it wasn’t for Şule, who wasn’t quite sure if the train had passed for a career change.
"I’m not in the beginning of my twenties, you know."
At 30 years old, Şule had a Metallurgical and Materials Engineering degree but had never really found work within her field. During her studies she found out she was allergic to some of the metals she would be working with, so instead she worked as a project specialist. It was more project management than engineering and after three years she was done with that and started looking elsewhere.
While some career changes take years to pull off, coding is one of the fields that offer a shortcut around the traditional education system and straight into well-paying jobs.
The digital economy is a growth industry and companies are desperately looking for new talent - so Şule spent just two months looking for work after she finished the bootcamp until she started working as a junior web developer.
I was hesitant at the time if I could do it or not but I’m here now.
she says as she makes sure to praise the support from friends and family in the process.
Didn’t Want To Be Exploited Anymore
Bahaa Dabbagh had also passed the 30-year mark before signing up for a career change through the 6 months long Front-End Web Development Bootcamp in Turkey at Re:Coded.
He had come to Turkey from Syria with eight years of experience as a lab technician, but as a Syrian in Turkey, he quickly found his options were extremely limited. He knew both English and Arabic but really only felt he had two options - working in a factory or re-starting his career here as a medical tourism salesman. Between these two, he chose sales. That turned out badly.
"The field is built on Syrian worker exploitation. I would be a manager of exploiting Syrians or be a Syrian being exploited," he says.
He knew that his communication skills were strong for sales, but he was searching for something more fulfilling. Having already gone through one career shift, he knew the drill and he finally figured out that digital marketing was his best match.
"Impact is something that really drives me. Digital marketing gives you the opportunity to work with anyone you want, you’re not limited by geography or language."
While it took courage to decide to change careers, the actions afterward weren’t so quick. Bahaa spent one and half years contemplating before deciding to jump into the digital economy.
I had to resist the urge of going back to the safe career I already had.
Letting go is never easy. Bahaa had over a decades’ worth of experience outside of the digital economy and he was already in a management position in his sales firm.
However, reflecting on it, Bahaa does not regret a thing as he currently sits in his home office as Re:Coded’s Digital Marketing Coordinator.
"I was financially and emotionally drained during the time where I was trying to change my career and it was very challenging because of the temptation of going back to the career that I wanted to leave. But now my life is so much better than it ever would because I stuck by what I wanted."
A Calling Born Of A Passion
The last of the bunch is Elif who graduated with a Political Science degree in 2016. After realizing that the career she dreamed of in consulates and embassies simply did not interest her anymore, she worked full-time for two years as an English course manager before deciding on coding.
"The chances are low of working in Turkey with Political Science, but as a developer, you can work anywhere in the world. Possibilities are limitless and this has a benefit for people like me who would like to move around the world and continue to do the job I like," she says.
Much like Bahaa, she was drawn by the flexibility of the digital economy with the ability to work as a freelancer or work from home as a remote developer.
But Elif faced a similar struggle of letting go of her past experience.
"I was confused. I thought I might put all of my effort down the drain."
Her Political Science degree led her down an administrative pathway that was repetitive but she knew that she didn’t want to go to university over again, something that would consume both her time and finances. However, she says this wasn’t the most important thing to her:
"I needed to get out of a career path that I wasn’t passionate about."
The learning curve was steep as she didn’t know much about coding beforehand. But slowly, the feeling of being able to see her own creations and projects come to life encouraged her to continue with coding and today she is ready to offer advice to anyone considering the same path.
"There’s no rush, focus on what you really want. Make a plan, structure, and a path you can follow. It was scary, but this is the right thing to do, this is something I’m passionate about. It's challenging to make decisions that would change your life altogether, but it's a thousand times better than doing something you don't like."
Elif had started applying to jobs near the end of her time at Re:Coded and landed a Frontend Developer job right after graduation. Around 1 month later she got another offer from a well established company thanks to Re:Coded’s Career Services Program, where she has been working since.
"There is a lot of demand in the market as a Front-End developer."
This project operates within the framework of the ‘PEP-Promotion of Economic Prospects’ programme which is financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in cooperation with Re:Coded & Impact Hub Istanbul.