From dreams to reality – reskilling into a career in tech


10 11 2023

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Completing in October 2023, New Futures Wales offered nano degrees and micro credentials in digital skills alongside wraparound support, to give women in Wales the opportunity to change career into tech. Chwarae Teg, the gender equality charity who led the pilot, worked with partners such as Code First Girls and the OU to deliver skills training. Chwarae Teg also offered pilot participants training in overcoming imposter syndrome, interview preparation and networking, as well as one-to-one careers coaching. This vital support helped the career changers commit to the challenging, technical courses and put their new skills into practice.

One such New Futures career changer is Farrah*, once a radiographer, now a software engineer. Farrah’s story is inspiring and demonstrates that although requiring considerable dedication, time and commitment, a non-traditional pathway into a career in tech is possible.

My name is Farrah and I am a proud graduate of the New Futures Wales pilot. I may not have followed the most traditional path to tech, but it's a journey I wouldn't trade for anything. In January 2022, I took a moment to set my sights on the year ahead. Inspired by my uncle, a motivational speaker, who always said, 'If you have a goal, write it down; if it's not written, it's just a dream,' I crafted a mood board that represented my aspirations and dreams for the year. At its focus was becoming a software engineer. Little did I know, as I pasted images and inspiring quotes, that this seemingly ambitious goal would transform into a reality. Fast forward to 2023, and here I am with that very goal achieved. At the age of 26, I made a significant career change, shifting from the world of diagnostic radiography, then into digital banking and now finally into the doors of software engineering. Let's dive into how this all began. My mother, a first-generation immigrant, had a dream for me - she longed for a daughter in the healthcare field. In my culture, we have the "big four" professions that are the gold standard - doctor, lawyer, nurse, and engineer. Out of these four, I picked radiography, not because it was my burning passion, but because it included elements of what my mother wanted and the technology that I love. It was my way of balancing the scales of her dreams and my own. When COVID-19 hit, my TikTok "For You" page was the usual fare - funny videos, dance challenges, and recipes that always turned into disasters in my kitchen. But something magical happened by the end of pandemic. I took a wrong turn in TikTok land, and suddenly my "For You" page was flooded with women in tech, doing amazing things. This really intrigued me as I started learning about this whole new world. But I was still unsure of how to break into the tech industry. Having left my career in radiography I had a job at Starling Bank [a digital bank], which was a start, but I discovered intro to coding courses. It turns out, I had a real knack for coding, and I was loving every minute of it. I got an email from Chwarae Teg about the Code First Girls degree… it was my golden ticket to a tech career. I applied, got accepted, and my excitement reached peak levels. And now here I am, living proof that with determination and a little humour to keep things light, you can ride the tech rollercoaster to success. I've switched from diagnosing X-rays to debugging code, from healthcare superstar dreams to tech wonderland. I'm eternally grateful for the New Futures pilot, which not only opened doors for me but also prepared me for those nerve-wracking interviews. It helped me conquer impostor syndrome and gave me the confidence I needed to make it in the tech world.

Farrah* is a graduate of the New Futures Wales pilot and a Junior Software Engineer at Wealthify in Cardiff. 

*Farrah is not her real name.