From Travel to Tech

“The most difficult thing was making the leap to something completely different. I didn't know how things would turn out, if I would like it, or even if I'd be any good at it.”

Michelle

From Travel to Tech

Michelle Brideau started her career in the travel industry, but quickly became bored. After an intensive coding course, she's kicking off a new career in a start-up. Read on to discover how she made it work.

What work were you doing previously?

Previously I worked in various roles in the travel industry in both Canada and the UK. I was also a Production Travel Co-ordinator for Sky Sports.

What are you doing now?

I am currently working as an intern Junior Developer at a start-up in London called Enternships.

Why did you change?

Once I realized Sports TV production wasn’t going to be my new career path I started to consider other options.

When was the moment you decided to make the change?

I had been bored with my work in travel, and I had hoped at Sky Sports I would be able to branch out into creating a new career path. I enjoyed working at Sky, but the boredom of doing the same thing week after week got to me, and the career options available had working hours which didn't appeal to my lifestyle. I ended up taking a job that combined my TV production experience and my travel background. Based on the job description, it seemed as if the job was made for me!  However, it turned out to be a terrible work experience, and left me considering more drastic options, such as going back to school or starting my own business.

Are you happy with the change?

I’m very happy with the change! I feel I'm on a career path that will keep me challenged, and provide me with flexibility in the future.

What do you miss and what don't you miss?

I don’t miss anything about working in travel.  The industry changes over the years haven’t been for the better, and I’m happy to have left it behind.  

How did you go about making the shift?

I took a 10 week course to learn to code at Makers Academy in London, an intensive, immersive course.  Then as soon as I got out I started looking for opportunities to get my foot in the door and gain experience as a developer.

How did you handle your finances to make your change possible?

I had been saving for a few years with the idea that I might like to start my own business one day.  I like to stay flexible in life, so I tend to live below my means and keep my living costs low. In this case it paid off, giving me the right financial situation to focus fully on my new career.

What was the most difficult thing about changing?

Taking the leap to doing something completely different from my previous career. I didn't know how things would turn out, if I would like it, or even if I'd be any good at programming!

What help did you get? 

Makers Academy was great at helping students get to know the tech industry in London and making introductions to various companies and contacts. My partner was also really understanding about the long hours of study and moments of stress that career-change can bring.

What have you learnt in the process?

That when I put my mind to something I can achieve it, and that risk can’t be avoided in this process.  It’s similar in a lot of ways to my move abroad from Canada to the UK.  You keep moving forward with a lot of unanswered questions, not knowing how it will all turn out, until one day you find yourself at home in your new surroundings.

What do you wish you'd done differently?

At this point it's too early to say, as I am just at the early stages of the change.  All I can really say is that I wish I had done it sooner.

What would you advise others to do in the same situation?

Make sure to get out and meet people in your new industry as soon as possible. These contacts will be helpful in gaining insight to an industry you are unfamiliar with and will have to navigate. I found the tech industry in London a small world and usually see a familiar face when I go to events now.  

What resources would you recommend to others?

I read lots of career advice books and took tests, but it wasn't until I got out and actually tried different things that I really learned what I wanted.  So I'd advise people to get out and talk to others.  Try something related to the new career you are thinking of, even if it is only in a small way.

Michelle took her course in London with The Makers Academy.

What lessons could you take from Michelle's story to use in your own career change? Let us know in the comments below. 

Plus, if you know someone who's made a successful shift into work they love, we'd love to hear from you. Drop us a line at hello@careershifters.org.