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Physical Education teacher to Sales Engineer for a Cybersecurity startup

Hey DQ Community!

I wanted to share my story so far in changing to a career in Data/ IT! As I know it would have been helpful for me to hear.

I am a fully qualified teacher in Physical Education, however, I wanted to try a new direction and found coding. After using DQ and other learning tools since September 2020, I am now working as a Sales Engineer for a Cybersecurity Start-up. Where I code everyday!

So, if you are that person who is losing hope or struggling then I promise you it is possible to make the switch no matter your previous background.

The things I learned along the way include:

  • Always ask for feedback and act upon it - then re-email that person proving how you improved (this is literally how I got my job). I applied, got denied, asked for feedback, they gave it to me, acted on it, emailed 3 months later, and they gave a me job.
  • Start applying for jobs now. I still have not finished a DQ path, but I am committed too!
  • There are more than just Data Analyst jobs - such as support engineer, pre-sales, etc. they all require you to code. Opening my horizon helped.
  • Showing your passion in the interview! I know it sounds far-fetched but I got 2 interviews simply because they loved my energy (their words not mine). Learn how to interview well!
  • Figure out who you know, I got a few connections with big firms simply by knowing people (didn’t work out but could for you!)
  • Now figure out your current experience! I started to realize that there were tech companies focused on Education, I found myself targeting them. As some seemed to like my educational background with an ability to code.
  • Finally, the main reason my current company liked me, was because of my teaching background! In my job I have to teach new clients how to use our software, they also liked how teaching had prepared me to do presentations (i.e. I taught PE to 40 kids 7 hours a day for 7 years). So, figure out your strengths and work with them.

Now I am not the best coder but I am persistent! And learn to adapt, this is what I felt got me to switch within a year (also a little luck of course :slight_smile: )

Let me know if you have any questions, happy to answer the best I can!

Stories such as these kept me motivated throughout my journey, so I wanted to share mine!


Woohoo! This is such a great news! Congratulations @rushtondavid23!! :partying_face: :tada: :confetti_ball:

I’m so happy for you. :heart_eyes:

Thank you so much for sharing your success story with us. It’s very inspiring! :heavy_heart_exclamation:

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Congrats on the transition! I’m still looking for work, but it’s nice to hear a success story.

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hey congratulations man!
if you dont mind , could you share your story how you have learned and your interview processes?


Appreciate it!

I used Dataquest mainly, then more dabbled in other resources (such as youtube, books). I did do a lot of research into the types of jobs in the tech world that would interest me and I could be qualified for. Such as requirements, salary, languages needed, types of tech companies. This was done via job sites and reddit.

This research made me jump from the Analyst path to the Engineering path. Felt like there were more opportunities for me.

In the interview process, I feel lucky with this. As the company liked my background in teaching with experience using Python. So, it was a one-round interview with the management, where they asked me questions about projects, Dataquest, also, more importantly how my teaching granted me transferable skills.

The next day they offered me the gig.

Hope this helps, let me know if you have more questions.

thanks for letting us know! @rushtondavid23
if you dont mind could you tell us how many hours you had been practicing on DQ and researching (such as youtube, books) everyday ?

Of course.

Honestly, I would go through stages of doing 5 plus hours a day to zero on dataquest. It depended on how busy I was or even how hard the course was. The promise I made to myself was to either read, connect or code every day. I did try to make a strict schedule but with all the coaching I do, it never worked out. So, just crammed it in when I could.

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