“A career in tech isn’t defined by a single route”

In times of change and uncertainty, one of the best things you can do is to make a choice to invest in your own knowledge and building up your skills. Find something that aligns with your interests, explore your options and then start learning!

A career in tech isn’t defined by a single route. In 2001, I was a baggage handler at United Airlines. I worked 20 hours a week to have health insurance benefits and to build up a pension. It wasn’t well paid work so I always had a second job. I’d work 40 hours during the day at various temp jobs so that I could pay my bills. Then came 9/11. Within days, part-timers like me were furloughed without pay and without prospects of being recalled to work.

"Access to technology, skills and the opportunities it can bring to communities worldwide travel beyond borders. I hope we will make this journey together"

I knew I needed to do something. My fulltime temp jobs were just that, temporary and while they paid more than United, they were not enough to live on. I signed up for a class at the local community college on hardware. In the three months between September and December that year, I spent as much time as I could learning about the insides of a computer. I took my CompTIA exam and passed.

Seasonal Job at the Games Department

Each year in December, with all of the holiday gift giving, Microsoft would have a spike in support calls from customers. They would send out the request to various temp agencies to fill the positions for these short term contracts. I was selected, along with 10 others to be part of the extra hands for the Games and Hardware support line. With basic training, we started the day after Christmas to help all of the people who had received such classic games like Railroad Tycoon and Zoo Tycoon. Three weeks later, with the end of the Holiday support season, they asked if I would be interested in supporting another project. I said “Yes”.

Caroline Williams with her two dogs

For the first time in my life, I was earning enough money from one job that I could pay my monthly expenses. This was a major milestone for me. I didn’t have a college degree, I lived in Seattle and I had found a field that I could keep learning in.

Nearly 20 years later, this is the reason that I am expanding our programs to the US. Access to technology, skills and the opportunities it can bring to communities worldwide travel beyond borders. I hope we will make this journey together. Choose for yourself and your future. Maybe I’ll see you at SkillsUP Lab, where you’ll kickstart your career in tech too?

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