My Career Path: From Classroom to the Industry
I taught Physics and Maths subjects in secondary schools whilst looking for a job and lectured in a University, straight after graduation. As much as I enjoyed research, teaching and imparting knowledge, I left the university teaching environment after a year to seek a job outside academia as I wanted practical experience rather than some ‘textbook’ experience.
Whilst still looking for a job, I took up a computer training short course to learn about software development. This proved quite useful in landing my first job after academia in a consulting company doing Technology Risk Management and Assurance. I had no IT risk experience back then, but my knowledge of technology and software development helped get my foot through the door. I moved into the industry after spending a number of years in consulting.
The lessons I learnt during my consulting days in terms of client management, professionalism, budgeting, presentation skills all proved useful as a differentiating factor in the industry.
In summary: what have I learnt over the last 20 years of my working experience?
- Continuous education and improvement: continue to learn and improve yourself at every opportunity you’re provided. ‘Luck is when opportunity meets preparation’.
- ‘Whatever you are able to lay your hands upon, do it diligently’: Start by building ‘small fires’ but consolidate as you grow. Whatever job you can find after graduation, go for it, don’t wait for the perfect job. Every job has a learning experience that you can transfer to the next job. My teaching experience taught me how to quickly digest vast form of information and present in a simple way understandable by the information recipient.
- Become a sponge: As you start transition from school to workplace environment, it is very important that you are ready to absorb the skills and knowledge you’re exposed to. Ask questions, watch and learn, even if you think you are the smartest. There are a few tricks you can learn from watching others. You can learn either how to do things, how to do things better, or how NOT to do things.
- Be Flexible: Don’t run away from the challenges you face at work after school. Think about the kind of lessons you could learn from the challenging opportunity you’re faced with at work and apply it in the future.
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