From laying pipework in the USA to working alongside - and learning from - a team of top software testing specialists, our very own Jason Aisbitt gives us the inside track on how such a dramatic career change was achievable and how some of the skills he developed in construction are transferable to his new role in IT... 
I worked in construction for five years after leaving college. I was based in the USA, physically putting industrial infrastructure into place for government projects. During this time, I became very good at my job, but when I returned to the UK, I realised the mental and physical strain of the type of work and the hours required were too much to sustain. I needed to get into a different career. 
My friend, who is a web designer, suggested a role in IT could be ideal for me. He originally recommended I try some online coding courses, which I did, but then he came back to me with the idea of software testing, AKA QA (quality assurance). 
This was a great fit for my natural aptitude for problem-solving. I learned that at a career entry point, QA would give me a varied insight into different areas and allow me to branch off and specialise in the routes I particularly enjoyed. 
I looked for opportunities on the government website. I’ve completed an apprenticeship in the past, so I understand how the process works. I would urge anyone looking to break into the industry to have the confidence to apply for junior roles, after all, many companies are looking to shape their own talent by offering on-the-job learning. I saw the Iridium opportunity and the rest is history. 
To start a new career I knew I’d have to take a few steps back - but it would be worth it. Once I’d got my head around the idea of starting from scratch, it completely removed the pressure and allowed me to embrace being an absolute novice. 
I would never have thought at the start of this that many of my construction skills are transferable to IT. My favourite part of my old job was running into issues and working out ways to get around them. In QA, there are tonnes of problems to solve and I love it. 
The industry is evolving faster than ever, with new technology emerging and innovative software being created all of the time. Testing isn’t going away and I relish the ongoing challenges and opportunities this brings. 
There are still a lot of misconceptions about apprenticeships. That it’s for trade workers or people who didn’t do well at school but this is not the case. It’s an inroad to many sectors and a great way to obtain qualifications, learn in real-time from top industry experts and earn a living in the process. 
Being around other IT professionals inspires me like nothing else. I wouldn’t be anywhere near being able to do what I can do now without the people that I’ve had the privilege to work with so far. I can absorb everything and ask for help. It’s incredible. 
Next for me. I want to progress on the technical side of my role; I want to learn everything I can and eventually be at the top of my game. Job satisfaction and security is my ultimate aim. I think I’m well on the way to achieving that with absolutely no regrets. 
Tagged as: Quality Assurance
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