by Kathryn Wharton, KLW Marketing
Switching industries was hard.
I can’t think of a bigger leap from a publicly funded museum service to a marketing tech consultancy, but I’m proof that it is possible to do it! I made this change at a time when I was studying in the evenings for my Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification and the UK had just gone into lockdown. Imagine taking a new job, in a new industry, while being fully remote.
Through my role within Women in Tech North East and position within the business world, I meet a huge number of incredible women who have also pivoted into tech. Switching industries isn’t for everyone, but it can open up a new world of opportunity. There are days when I do miss hanging out with the mummies and dinosaurs, but being in the thick of the technology and digital transformation world is exciting in its own right.
If you are curious about pivoting into tech, then my top three tips are:
1. Ask a lot of questions
I’m a big believer in being proactive and finding answers for yourself, but in the tech world sometimes you just need someone to sit you down and explain something. No one can know everything there is to know about everything, so, if in doubt, ask!
2. Keep learning
Whether through a book, podcast, or conversation, dip into different topics that interest you and relate to your work or values. Expose yourself to different points of view to ensure you’re not just influenced by your own echo chamber. Technology is evolving at a relentless pace and getting into the habit of continuous learning will definitely help your career progress.
3. Build relationships
Seek out those who have been in your shoes and ask their advice, join networks with likeminded people, and work hard to embed yourself in any new organisations you join to make the transition easier.
Here are three actions to help you get started:
- Find a mentor, someone already in industry, and ask them questions about what it’s like to be part of the sector. Ask them about the pros and cons, so you can make an informed decision before you pivot. Using your existing network is a great way to find mentors. Northern Power Women also offer great online speed-dating style mentorships.
- Check out Amazing If, which inspired my career pivot. They have a Squiggly Careers podcast, online resources, and published books which are brilliant learning aids and useful for finding out about other career thought-leaders.
- The connections I have formed on LinkedIn have definitely helped me progress in my career, so I am a huge advocate for stepping out of your comfort zone and engaging on the platform. Like and comment on posts by your connections and reach out to industry professionals to learn from them.
This may all sound daunting, but the brilliant thing I discovered through my own experience was that I’d laid the foundations of all these attributes in my museum career, so the pivot into tech wasn’t as hard as it could have been. You have probably done the same in your own career, so spend some time analysing your current skill set. Your ‘softer’, human-focused skills are just as important as the technical skills (which arguably are more straightforward to learn). Being able to communicate, work in a team, share ideas, and adapt to a changing environment are all highly valuable skills in tech.
About the author
Kathryn Wharton, owner of KLW Marketing, is driven by her values of curiosity, creativity, and collaboration. After an incredible eleven-year career in museum engagement, she pivoted into the technology sector to pursue a career in B2B marketing. KLW Marketing was established to create excellent marketing strategies for scaling technology businesses and to support their ambitious leaders.
She credits her curiosity, passion for people, and unconventional career journey for enabling her to challenge the status quo and deliver stand out marketing. When she’s not busy running KLW Marketing, you’ll either find her running the Women in Tech North East community, supporting the next cohort of talent across the North East Universities or playing netball.
You can connect with Kathryn on LinkedIn here