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Change Careers Post Covid-19 Without Returning to School

Change careers

The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly impacted economies across the world leaving in its wake numerous layoffs and salary cuts. If you are among the affected of you can see the signs, it might be time to quickly re-strategise your career path and re-align your plans to take advantage of the available opportunities.  

Take advantage of the numerous free or premium courses online to become a expert in another role and excel in it. Who knows, you might like it after all. Here are some available career paths that would take a shorter time to master. 

  1. Digital Marketing and Social Media Management

Digital marketing

Digital marketing and traditional marketing are becoming heavily merged as social and online platforms start taking a more dominant role in organisations.

Education Needed

Most organisations don’t necessarily look for a particular degree to fill this position, as it is relatively new and constantly evolving. Your key advantage would be to keep yourself on top of the industry. With the great lack of skill in this field, a post-university programme will see you jump to the front of the interview line.

The DIY route is also achievable. Look for YouTube tutorials, articles, papers and even networking meetings to go to for guidance.

What Can You Expect?

As much as marketing is glamorized as the creative brain behind the organisation, digital marketing can be a whole other arena. Data, metrics, analysis and even coding will become a second language to you.

Possible Positions
  • Digital marketer
  • Social media marketer
  • SEO manager
  • Email marketer
  • Brand manager
  • Content manager
  1.   Tourism and the Culinary Arts

Tourism and culinary arts

When everything opens up and the hospitality industry opens up, you will find more culinary opportunities coming up. While culinary skills require experience, passion and a keen industry in the art can give you added advantage in mastering the skill. A curious and experimental nature will set you apart. With the growth of various platforms to showcase your skill, growth in the skill and attracting potential employers and customers is now easier.

Education Needed

This is varying, depending on the role you are looking for. You simply cannot walk in apply as sous-chef with your engineering degree and get the job. A qualification and some kitchen experience could certainly get you there though!

Should the travel agency life be calling your name, your advantage will be some kind of travel-tourism qualification.

What Can You Expect?

Your nine-to-five will be forfeited in this industry. Kitchen staff work some of the longest hours in the world, apart from medical staff. 

That said, these positions can be immensely rewarding, and if you are a people’s person, you could thrive in these environments.

Possible Positions
  • Head/sous chef
  • Cruise staff
  • Travel agent
  • Event manager
  • Flight attendant
  • Hotel manager
  1. Computer Science and Software Engineering

Computer science

There are currently over two billion websites on the internet at the moment, with the number climbing by 300 to 500 per minute. Many companies are now waking up to the idea of having a digital print and hiring in this industry is expected to go up. 

Education Needed

Although it is advantageous to have a Degree IT studies, most organisations, are more interested in your experience and skill set. Post- university programmes and pieces of training are hugely advantageous here.

What Can You Expect?

Essentially, you will be learning a different language. The role is dynamic and exciting and your reward comes in when the site finally goes live and you start seeing some traffic to it, or when someone other than your mom downloads your new app.

Possible Positions
  • Systems programmer
  • Software engineer
  • Software developer
  • Mobile specialist/ technologist
  • Application developer
  • Programmer/analyst
  1. Media (Video and Sound) or Design

Media studies

If creativity is your thing and you loved playing around with colours and sounds in art class, this could definitely be your next venture!

Education Needed

A Degree in Fine Arts could be advantageous here. But once again; a possible post-university diploma, some eye-catching photoshop skills or sound engineering course could land you a job.

What Can You Expect?

Positions include a nine-to-five, working on a company brand, hand-in-hand with the marketing and content departments. If sound engineering is more of your thing, you could venture into the event industry.

You could branch out and find yourself in the film industry or be freelancing for a variety of clients with your impressive video or Photoshop skills. Just keep in mind here, you are permanently competing for jobs and you could go for months without work.

Possible Positions
  • Graphic designer
  • Digital designer
  • Sound engineer
  • Audio-visual producer/designer
  • Audio editor
  • Video producer
  1. Business, Finance and Accounting

Business and finance

This may seem counter-intuitive but here we are looking toward those more entrepreneurial focused minds out there!

Education Needed

Of course, your BCom, or MBA can go very far here. But so can some really big ideas. You may just need a top-up course on basic accounting, or business management to get your idea off the ground.

What Can You Expect?

Blood, sweat, tears and the high risk of the business failing. The reward is a functioning business that you have created! Start-ups are exploding globally and there are endless possibilities.

Possible Positions
  • Entrepreneur
  • Angel investor
  • Founder
  • CEO or Managing Director
  • Head of product

So, How Do You Start?

The first step would to seek out your new profession. Settling on what to do next could be quite tricky.

  1. Conduct online research or speak to people in the position about your new venture!
  2. Apply for a postgraduate course, postgraduate diplomas or post-university program to get something behind your name. There are numerous online sources that could assist you with this including BrighterMonday Learning,Udemy, Coursera among others.
  3. Build up your experience during quarantine and lock down. Volunteer, freelance, have a personal project or intern.
  4. Have fun! Changing your career can be the most daunting, yet freeing experience of your life.

Career Change Mistakes To Avoid

Changing your career may be the best decision you ever made, but it could also be the worst.You, therefore, have to do your research and prepare yourself so that you can make the right steps.

Here are a few tips to help you.

  1. Not Having a Financial Plan to Support Your Transition
Financial planning

A change in your career could mean a change in your pay, unlike when you are just changing jobs. You could end up in a job that doesn’t pay as much as your last one. You, therefore, need to be financially prepared for the change.

During the transition, you might need to rework your budget and cut down on some expenses To make the transition smooth, start making these adjustments before the transition so that you can adopt while things are still a bit smooth.

      2. Confusing Job Change with Career Change

career change and job change

It is very easy to confuse this two. Ask yourself whether it’s your job that you would want to change, or your entire career, just to be clear on your next move. This will help you ensure that don’t you end up in a career that you don’t even like just because you dislike your job.If you’re not sure, ask yourself whether there is some other work in your field that you would enjoy doing as opposed to what you currently do.

You could just be tired of what you are doing, especially if you have been doing the same thing for a long time. Maybe all you need is a new challenge instead of a completely new career. It could also be that you dislike your boss.

In this case, it is best to find something else within your department to do. Be open to taking up new projects. If this still doesn’t work and you still feel like your talents and skills could be put to better use, then you can go ahead and make the career change.

      3.  Not Finding the Right Place to Start from

Where to start when changing careers

After deciding that you actually want to change your career, find a place that is a good fit for you. A place that will let you learn and grow since this is something completely different from what you’re used to. This could mean that you have to start small. Consider working for a start-up as opposed to a huge company, as start-ups give you more room to learn new things and grow.

       4.  Reasons for the Change

Reasons for changing careers

Certain careers could be very enticing. They could have a lot of benefits that you currently don’t have. Don’t change your career all because of the money.  You could end up making more money and still not be comfortable or well suited for what you do and are constantly thinking of ways out. It is also very important to not let outside forces influence your career choice.This could be your friends, parents or significant other. They don’t have to live that career every day; you do.

       6.  Do You Have the Right Skills for this Change?

Skills when changing a job

A career change might require you to go back to school, work at an entry-level position to gain experience or learn the ropes of running your dream business. You could find ways to bridge the skills acquired in your old career to the new one. It is also necessary to gain additional training and skills before you can find a good job in a new field. Remember, as much as you have some work experience and transferable skills, every career has some unique skills needed. Find out whether you need new educational certifications and just how long this is going to take you.Try to find time to volunteer or intern in your new field.

        7.   Making a Rash Decision

Making decisions about changing careers

Before making this change, figure out the reasons why you want to leave. Take your time and do your research. Be honest with yourself, a career change is a lot to deal with, you will have to live with this decision, so again, take your time.

Take your time to and asses all the option, this could a good move for you if done for the right reasons and at the right time.

Kenyan Giants Who Have Successfully Made A Career Change

Be inspired by these Kenyans who took that leap of faith, put in the work and are now reaping the fruits of their work.

  1. Biko Zulu
BikoZulu

Well known for his blog, BikoZulu has become synonymous with the culture of successful blogging in Kenya. His blog is one of the most popular in Kenya and has a faithful legion of followers. However, before becoming a successful writer, Biko was a laboratory technician, doing his duty in ridding the world of diseases and pathogens, as he has previously put it. Despite pursuing a course in the same career, Biko always had a burning desire for writing and over the years, he nurtured this talent to become the household name that he is today. He dropped his lab technician career and pursued his passion and today, he is one of the most sought-after writers in the industry.

  1. Mutua Matheka
Mutua Matheka

Photographer extraordinaire, master of all things visual, and a man with enviable photography skills, Mutua Matheka is no stranger to Kenyans. He is the man behind some of Nairobi’s breathtaking portraits and is probably the man behind some of the most beautiful depictions of this city. But, despite having an artistic bug in him, Mutua did not start as a photographer and neither did he take formal classes in photography. He pursued Architecture in JKUAT, as his artistic nature drove him towards the course. Later on, he went to Germany for an internship and that is where he picked his love for photography and probably, his first camera. Upon coming back home, he actively pursued this passion, alongside his career in architecture and has since blossomed into a talented artist who did not entirely drop architecture but practices it alongside photography, which is his main hustle. Mutua is a testament to the fact that passion and a little creativity can take you far if you are brave enough to take up the challenge and are willing to put in the work.

  1. Angela Ndambuki
Angela Ndambuki

Starting out as a mellow vocalist in the all-girls’ group Tatuu, Angela remains an inspiration to many girls. She was recently appointed as the CEO of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce. Angela’s light first shone when she started out as a singer in Tatuu but later settled on a career in law and rose to her current position. She is a true indication that you can explore all your possibilities and become the very best in everything you do.

  1. Francis Amisi aka Frasha
Frasha

Frashaaaaaa, mi mkare! Most of you know Frasha for his punchy lines in songs by P-Unit. The group shot to the limelight with their unusual hip hop style, calling themselves wagenge. Well, Frasha, one of the lead rappers in the group recently vied for an MCA seat in Athi River but unfortunately dropped out a couple of days before the polls. What most people don’t know is that that would have marked his third career shift, since Frasha is not scared of taking any bull by the horn. He first started out as a physiotherapist, having pursued Diploma in Physiotherapy at the Kenya medical training College(KMTC). He went ahead to work in some of the biggest hospitals in the country, before quitting physiotherapy to join music full time. He is even one of the key shareholders of Pacho Records, a leading record label behind some big hits at the moment. Well, if you are hesitant to pursue what your heart wants, perhaps you can borrow a few tips from Frasha Dakitare.

  1. Caroline Mutoko
Caroline Mutoko

She is known as the queen of Kenya radio. She is known for outspoken nature, and a fearless ability to fight anyone that tries to bring her down. However, Caroline did not start off in radio. After graduation, like most people, she got into banking. She later joined Radio Africa where she started off by doing traffic updates. She later started voicing radio ads before she got her own show. She has since then grown in the media industry and is one of the most celebrated media gurus in the country.

Changing a career is not an easy thing to do. However, if you can learn anything from these successful Kenyans is that it is doable, as long as you put in the work and effort.

Tell about other people you know who have changed careers and what you have learned from them in the comments section.

WRITTEN BY
Doreen Mueke
Doreen is the Senior Content Marketer at Ringier One Africa Media.
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