Zaizi Employee Spotlight: Candace Lebby

From Literature to IT – Career switches are worth it!

Candace was ready to try something entirely new after studying Literature and Journalism for her BA. Read on to find out more. 

As a child, I pretty much always had my head in a book. From Enid Blyton to C.S Lewis, there was an endless supply of worlds I could disappear into.

I started writing from an early age and when the time came to head off to university, Creative Writing and Journalism was a natural choice for me. Once I graduated, I freelanced for a few years for various industries, and got a few solid years of experience under my belt. However, after some time, I started rethinking my career and where I was heading. 

Feeling somewhat disillusioned by where I was, I took stock of the situation. Sure, I loved creative writing but I suddenly wasn’t so crazy about it now that it was a job. The passion I’d felt at the start began to wane. Transitioning away from writing as a career was a big decision, but I was ready to take a leap into the unknown. So I kept a personal creative writing blog and made a choice to put the writing jobs to one side. But what now? 

Tech Transition

The tech world had always interested me, but I wasn’t sure how to break into the industry or where to start. Writing had been all I knew up until that point, so I was considering quite the shift! Whilst I felt excited at the prospect of a career switch into IT, I remember feeling distinctly nervous at the thought. What about the lack of a computer science degree? Did I need to be a networking whizz? 

On top of that, there were the longer-term goals to consider. What did I want to do once I got into the industry? Did I even know yet? 

Starting on the service desk in my first IT job at a global managed service provider was a great first opportunity and I hit the ground running. I was immediately introduced to the fast paced world of ticketing and IT support. I felt and still feel really lucky to have got that first role and learned a huge amount in my first year. I listened, took notes, worked late, asked questions and got a taste for what the IT world was like. However, the work was repetitive, and I knew, even back then, that at some point, I’d want to work in a more technical role. I just didn’t know when or what. 

READ: How an inclusive culture fuels success at Zaizi

Joining Zaizi

More than a year later, in late 2020, I joined Zaizi as a Lead Operations Center (OC) Analyst. I was still in a support role but assisted my line manager at the time more closely in some of the service management activities. It was a step in the right direction, and I just wanted to learn as much as I could. 

I was able to apply and move up from OC Lead to the manager position, which was humbling as I had no experience as a manager. It was definitely tough at times. But it was an experience I deeply appreciate for the many learning opportunities it provided and for the support I was given from the start. 

Over the next year, I considered my career trajectory. I still had a desire to be in a technical role and one area stood out to me in particular. Software development fascinated me and I was considering whether it was a field I could start a career in. I knew there’d be an infinite learning curve but I had to start somewhere,  deciding to spend as long as it took grasping the basic fundamentals. 

Career switch again with Zaizi’s help

Once I was sure of my decision to switch careers, I shared this with my manager and was beyond grateful to be given the opportunity to make the move to become an Associate Software Developer. 

Zaizi has been fantastic in supporting me on this new path every step of the way. 

Over the past few months I’ve worked with Python/Django and PostgreSQL but I’m also looking at the front-end side of development, and into React.

I’m excited about my new career path and the future. And though my journey has been anything but linear, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

If you’re looking for a career switch or your next growth opportunity – please see our careers page – we would love to hear from you!

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