When it comes to thinking of starting working in the information technology (IT) field, most of us imagine that only various courses and mentorship programs can help. But it’s important to mention that retraining opportunities within companies are also rapidly becoming popular in Lithuania. A great example is the story of Agnė, now working as a Senior Business Analyst in the “TransUnion” company. She started reaching her career from the lowest level and now says that all it takes is motivation and patience to repeat her path.
In my life, I want to do what interests me – I think I could work in almost any field
Curiosity led her to the IT industry
It’s interesting that Agnė, who has been working in IT for almost eight years now, never dreamed of such a job. At school, she avoided computer science classes as much as possible and could only describe them with the adjectives “illogical,” “unnecessary,” and “uninteresting.” In the tenth grade, the interviewee had to decide what classes she wanted to take. She chose a humanitarian path and later decided to study political science and public communication studies at Vytautas Magnus University. After her studies, Agnė didn’t know what exactly she wanted to do, so when looking for further perspectives, she noticed an international IT company that started its activities in Kaunas and now operates under the name of “TransUnion.” Positive reviews, the popularity of the IT sector, and most importantly, curiosity encouraged Agnė to try her luck in this company.
“In my life, I want to do what interests me – I think I could work in almost any field. So it was curious to open IT doors, especially when it was so new and unfamiliar at the time. The opportunities and attention to this sector didn’t resemble what we have now,” – Agnė says.
There weren’t many programs for retraining in the IT sector back then, and IT-related courses could probably be counted on the fingers of one hand. However, if she needs to retrain now, Agnė considers that she might search for some courses. Of course, there’s a possibility to learn a lot on your own and find all the required information. The problem is that you have to understand what you’re searching for – an experienced professional or mentor can significantly expand your horizons.
“While studying, you can also understand whether you really want to work in a certain field. Now I see newcomers who are well prepared and have completed various courses. However, I’m also happy with the path I chose then – I didn’t pay attention to what position I would get. I just wanted to take a closer look at the IT sector, understand what I like,” – says Agnė about the beginning of her career.
There are so many different spheres and products in the IT sector; each team can create its own different world.
Motivation is key
Agnė started her career by working with user inquiries in a customer service position, and a year later, she had the opportunity to move to the business analytics department. A three-month project eventually turned into six and a half years of work experience in the field and working with the company’s largest international clients. She advises them on business issues, works with key company information, and communicates with product development teams.
“I’m also happy that I disproved the stereotype that in the IT world, an employee has to put on headphones, not see anything around him, and program. There are so many different spheres and products in the IT sector; each team can create its own different world. I’m very communicative, so I’m happy to constantly interact with different product teams about goals and risks as well as delegate technical tasks to engineers and programmers while ensuring that the result is achieved. I’m like an intermediary; my responsibilities include managing the processes within various teams to achieve the best results,” – explains Agnė.
Now Agnė is an excellent specialist in her field. However, when she started to work with business analytics, she knew almost nothing about it. She had to look for educational material on “Youtube,” study in her free time, which allowed her to solve many problems and impressed the manager who hired her.
“He was impressed that I put in a lot of effort before I came to the job interview. And the fact that I put extra effort into my work every day helped me to move up the career ladder. I believe that a person who works as if the world’s fate depends on him and does everything 120 percent will definitely be noticed by the team and managers. In my opinion, that’s the only way to earn respect and trust. After switching to business analytics, I found additional courses and studied every day after work. This is why I was able to move up the career ladder,” – the interviewer remembers.
I can’t imagine that an organization can grow without giving each person opportunities to improve. And for those who want to retrain, I would advise them to try and apply for the highest possible positions.
Various possibilities to switch your career
Agnė thinks that current opportunities for retraining in the company are limitless. For example, “TransUnion” has a testing academy, where anyone who wants to learn testing is accepted. This isn’t surprising because more and more employees are needed in the IT industry. When Agnė joined the company, there were about 80 people, and now there are almost 300. There are a lot of new teams because new and improved products are being developed constantly. The company is also trying to enter new areas to scale up the business.
“The company’s employees are also given the opportunity to experience what their colleagues’ work looks like and find out the details of the position a person is interested in. There’s also a possibility to ask managers what needs to be learned in order to apply for the dream position when it becomes available. If you like an area and want to be in it, you’ll put in all the effort. I can’t imagine that it would be impossible to achieve the goal. There are plenty of success stories like mine or my colleagues from the customer service department. Most of them are now high-level professionals, managers in various fields,” – Agnė says.
Agnė is convinced that the retraining opportunities given by companies to employees can bring great benefits to the entire organization. After all, getting new opportunities to develop and do the work an employee loves will make him more loyal. Companies don’t need to re-introduce them to the well-known company culture or doubt whether an employee will be able to get used to it.
“I can’t imagine that an organization can grow without giving each person opportunities to improve. And for those who want to retrain, I would advise them to try and apply for the highest possible positions. Maybe sometimes it’s hard to believe in yourself, or maybe you want to start with the safer option. However, don’t forget that you can always challenge yourself to strive for the biggest goals”, – advises Agnė.