Finding a job is hard enough. Finding a job as a young jobseeker on the lookout for a tech job has its own challenges.
That’s what Glynnis Lim discovered when she decided to switch careers.
The business graduate, then 25, had joined an event management company in July 2020 to do event organising and marketing but quickly realised that the job had no future.
The company pressured her to leave or stay on for the next 10 years, which added to her troubles.
“If I continue to do events, or just purely business and marketing, I will be out of trend in 10 years’ time.
“[I thought] it would be cool if I could get into another field that would be relevant in the future.”
The undesirable circumstances pushed her to quit without a job three months later, even though she had no immediate career plan.
Study First, Plan Later
When she stopped working, her friend had also just quit her job to study and encouraged Glynnis to do the same.
She took her friend’s advice and decided to pursue a technology-related course as she believed a tech job would have better prospects.
It also helped that Glynnis had an interest in tech from a young age.
“Two years’ ago, during the pandemic, the tech field was like the ‘rah rah’ thing. Everybody was talking about tech and how it was going to be the thing in the future,” she explained.
Glynnis enrolled in the SGUnited Skills (SGUS) Computer Engineering programme in February 2021 at the Singapore Polytechnic Professional & Adult Continuing Education (SP PACE) Academy.
However, upon completing the course a year later, in January 2022, the former event executive decided against a computer engineering job because she couldn’t see herself doing it day in, day out.
While some would say she wasted her time, Glynnis opined that her new tech skills could complement her business skills and benefit her career.
Taking the Tech Route
After setting her sights on becoming a software developer, a coding-related role, Glynnis faced her first hurdle.
Over a year out of the workforce took its toll, and the young jobseeker lacked the confidence to search for a job.
It was complicated because she was entering a new industry and was unfamiliar with the salary market rate for tech jobs.
“The main thing for me was the salary – I didn’t know how much I ought to be paid based on my skills and background.
“I only had a few years of working experience, and I didn’t have any tech experience,” Glynnis elaborated.
Many of the roles she applied for assessed applicants’ coding abilities at the interview stage.
But after failing test after test, she became disheartened and felt that her dream job was out of reach.
“The employers were looking for full-fledged programmers like software engineers. They want to see you code, and honestly, my skills were not there yet.
“I had learnt coding as part of my course, but it wasn’t [deep-skilled] enough,” Glynnis explained.
Hero to the Rescue
Frustrated with the lack of progress in her job search, Glynnis asked her SP PACE lecturer for help and was linked to NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute).
e2i career coach Hironobu Wee contacted her and became the ‘Hiro’ she needed.
To address Glynnis’ main salary concern, Hiro passed her a comprehensive salary guide for tech jobs, boosting her confidence during negotiations.
With a sound understanding of her competencies, the coach was also able to steer the aspiring tech executive towards a more realistic option of an IT project management role at a senior executive level.
Hiro also provided general career advice, which included resume refinement and interview tips.
For example, he advised her to put pressure on a company she was keener on joining, even though she already had a confirmed job offer from another firm.
The tactic worked, and the company Glynnis wanted almost immediately granted her a second interview.
Realising that she had only applied to Jobstreet, Hiro introduced her to other job portals and platforms such as LinkedIn, MyCareersFuture and Monster. He also linked her to over 20 job opportunities.
His efforts yielded a few interviews and two offers.
Although she didn’t accept any offers, Glynnis took the advice and snagged a healthy salary for her current job of managing data science projects at a local university.
She enjoys the job because it allows her to dabble in coding, and intends to stay in the tech industry for now.
“I don’t do hard coding. But I need to understand how certain codes work and what they mean, so whenever I look at certain scripts, I know what’s happening,” Glynnis shared, adding that she plans to upgrade her coding skills further.
She also hopes to have a pay rise soon to support her family of five better, including her parents and two siblings.
Even though her elder sister and taxi-driver father are both working, Glynnis’ income helps with the bills and other living expenses.
Career Coaching: An Important Resource for Young Jobseekers
As she has landed a job she likes, Glynnis, now 28, is recommending career coaching to fresh entrants to the job market or young jobseekers looking to switch careers.
“Career coaching is useful for jobseekers and is especially [useful] for those who don’t have access to people who can guide them.
“A career coach is the best person you can talk to as they will always have your best intentions [in mind],” Glynnis advised.
She added that it would be helpful for schools to link graduating students to career coaches.
Today, Glynnis has become the go-to person for career advice.
“I share with [my friends] whatever my career coach shared with me,” she beamed.