It’s not often we get to experience a full-circle transformation.
The delight of achieving something challenging, flourishing in a new career, and then going back to where it all began. With a wealth of experience and the passion to pass that on to the next generation.
But for TechSwitcher Francesca, that’s exactly how things panned out. Not only has she completed a successful career change into software development, but she has also now become a valuable trainer and mentor for our future learners.
We spoke about her career, the challenges of her past role, and her incredible, full-circle journey to becoming a TechSwitch trainer.
From engineering to events
After completing her General Engineering degree, Francesca started working as a Customer Relationship Manager for an events company. She moved through the ranks, and soon discovered that her favourite part of the role was when she got to work on software projects.“I worked on the tech and data team on the client side so wasn't involved in any development work, but I enjoyed working with developers and having sprints, as well as regular planning meetings.”
When the pandemic hit, this encouraged her to try out some basic online courses. Progress was slow, but she learnt enough to catch the coding bug.
That’s when she came across TechSwitch.
The TechSwitch effect
“Quite often when learning to code, people get overwhelmed by the theory which can be very technical and isn't necessarily relevant to the day-to-day tasks.”
“So the fact that TechSwitch was practical from the beginning really appealed to me. There were elements of theory, but you were writing code from the start and working with other learners, and bouncing ideas off them, which is always really useful.”
The TechSwitch focus wasn’t merely on software expertise either, but also on deeper preparation for the world of work. “They're not just thinking about your coding skills. There was also an incredible amount of support in writing a relevant CV, interview preparation and a focus on building skills necessary for developers.”
The preparation clearly worked: She was handpicked to come in-house with Softwire and got straight down to business, contributing to live projects. “Interaction with the client was immediate as we had daily stand-ups with them, and the first demo of my own work was within the first month.”
Was she overwhelmed? The fast pace was a challenge, sure, but Francesca had the right support and training to take it on. Her previous experience in CRM also carried her through: “At Softwire we do a lot of client-based work, and it’s important to have good communication skills and be able to demo well, to understand the client's requirements and relay that back to them.”
The circle completes
TechSwitch was truly life-changing for Francesca, and just a couple of years after completing her own training, she was eager to give back. With a wealth of experience delivering training in her past career – including facilitating groups of up to 60 people – she was well placed to run her first cohort.
In January 2023 she did just that. Taking on a fresh group of learners with different backgrounds and experience levels, and building their confidence and competence.
The focus, as always, wasn’t on building a detailed memory of one language’s syntax, but instead on learning how to solve problems and overcome roadblocks by asking the right questions. As Francesca explains, “There's always going to be new technologies. Things are changing all the time, and you just need to be able to adapt and to know the right questions to ask.”
With the support of working developers – including those, like Francesca, who went through the exact same journey – TechSwitch learners continue to transform their careers by stepping into the world of software development. Bringing diverse experiences and a wealth of communication skills with them.