Andrea had been in search of an effective way to learn about tech for years. Her previous experience wasn’t successful, however, and at one point she had even put her plans on hold. She was fortunate enough to find Careerist, which offered her the perks she was looking for.
First of all, could you please briefly introduce yourself and share your previous experience before joining the Careerist training program?
Sure! My name is Andrea, and I was working as a Spanish linguist prior to joining the course from Careerist. In that role, it was a lot of translating. I used to work with a contractor and they had contracts with the FBI and the DEA. So there was a lot of communication between agents and the office, and details were shared about every single case back and forth.
Why did you decide to change careers?
I had always been interested in tech. I actually started going to college for a computer science degree, but things didn't really work out. It was a community college, and they were having some scheduling problems. At some point, I had a feeling the institution I chose was really not teaching me anything. My professor wasn't actually teaching my class. There were a lot of students, maybe two or three years above us teaching us how to code, which was very confusing at times. Then I just basically just threw myself into other sectors, like banking or marketing, because I do have a little bit of experience in those areas.
Taking into consideration all the possible paths, why did you choose to join tech?
Technology has always intrigued me. I felt a passion for it because I love anything that makes life easier, and technology does that for sure. The reason I chose Careerist is when I did my research, I saw that it took a reasonable amount of time—less than six months to be precise. And I believed the coaches had the experience I was looking for. They did a great job sharing their years of experience in every single class, and they were pretty honest about what works and what doesn’t. That's what I was looking for: someone who was seasoned in what they were teaching.
You had a little bit of experience with coding but nothing in depth, right?
Correct. As I mentioned before, we were being taught by other students within the community college. All I learned in terms of coding was how to make a game of rock paper scissors with the computer. I was like, “Wow, I'm telling the computer how to win.” It felt powerful to tell the computer what to do, what to say, and how to act. At the same time, I was still determining whatever it had to do.
That sounds like a lot of fun. What pushed you to look for something else?
I felt I just wasn't getting the right tools or environment to learn as much as I could while paying thousands of dollars. I simply didn’t see the point of going to college anymore.
That’s a fair point. And what were your next steps?
I started kind of researching other universities and courses I could possibly take, but I started working in banking and the government as well. I pushed it off for a few years until I bumped into Careerist.
You mentioned that you chose Careerist for the reasonable length of study. Did you have any other positive experiences besides that?
I think another highlight was the tutors’ focus on showing us how things work rather than just going over certain content. There were a lot of case studies throughout the training. Yes, content is very important. It's vital to learn, but having it narrowed down and explained is priceless. I also found value in getting real feedback about approaches across different companies and strategies that were easy to handle as well as the challenging ones. To this day, I hear their voices saying, “Do this, do that.” The mentality that they give you is actually the key.
Wow, that's cool. What were the most valuable skills they gave to you?
In terms of skills, it’s the techie side for sure that was mostly new for me. Then there were the sales skills, which I did have a little bit of from when I used to work in banking and marketing. I did reinforce what I had and added more to it. But what I really learned was things like SSA or Salesforce.
One more important skill I gained was the ability to research software products, which was very important for me to learn. This involves looking at a product or piece of software and seeing what it does.
Another discovery was the importance of lifelong learning. That was another thing that they taught us, to always have an open mind because technology changes every single day. And if you're not up to speed, you're going to fall off the wagon.
For sure. So after you finished your studies, how long did it take for you to start the job search and how did that go?
At the moment, I’m still in search of a job in the tech sales industry. I’ve been searching for three months now.
Are you getting any support from your Career Coach?
My coach has really been helping me out. Our meetings focus on interview practice, doing demos, and seeking ways for improvement. Every time I talk to him, he always checks on me and remembers everything I share with him. He listens to my updates and gives valuable advice. It's really helpful because I feel the support. So far, I can’t tell you that I landed a job; I'm still in the job search. But you know, the support that I've gotten through the internship has been really good.
It’s good to know you are enjoying your experience! What is the key to the job search process for you?
Having the right mentality is the key. If you get one or even 10 rejections—who cares? Keep applying. You can’t just focus on two or three rejections; you have to keep moving forward. I think that it is something that will actually happen, once you learn sales engineering. As a Sales Engineer, or as any salesperson, you are going to get a lot of rejections and plenty of no’s. But if you just stay persistent, you will definitely find something.
How do you deal with the rejections? How do you make yourself keep searching?
People often say you need 10 years of experience to be in the field, but Careerist proved to me the opposite. I simply do not pay much attention and keep applying. So the way I now see it, my email has to be full of rejections; otherwise I’m not reaching out enough. I believe every rejection redirects me to the actual opportunity.
Thinking about your ideal employer, workplace, or job, what would it be?
It would definitely be a place where you feel you are a part of a team. It would also be a place where I can meet clients’ needs and reach the development department easily if I need to. I want fewer steps in terms of bureaucracy and more flexibility from my future management to make it the best experience possible.
Yeah, for sure. Is there any company you would dream of joining? Is any particular sphere on your mind?
So I actually have been interviewing for a startup company, and I’ve already met the person who would essentially be my manager if I do get hired. It has been my number one choice so far. I'm waiting for them to get back to me; the next interview step will be meeting the founders of the company. You know, at some companies you will never have the chance to speak with the founders. I liked the interviewers and some of those people are also career switchers. That was really a key factor for me to be really interested in that position.
Could you please tell us a bit about your first interview at this company? Were you at all nervous?
On my first interview, I definitely was nervous. After all, so many companies had already rejected me. It was a phone interview, and I was talking with the HR representative. I remember struggling to find some information about the company online, and I messed it up a little bit. Then they pulled up my resume and started asking me about some real numbers, which I hadn’t been ready for. That interview was a tough one because it made me feel small. It made me feel like I didn't know what I was doing. I think it was truly necessary, though, because it gave me this attitude of being prepared and confident in what I was going to say.
Thanks for sharing. I believe many graduates have had similar experiences. Let’s go back to the Careerist learning part. What did you like best about it?
I think the best thing about Careerist is the people. It's very important for them to just share their experiences and teach in a way that everyone can understand. And I think they really did that. They foresaw all the objections and all the walls that we were going to face, and they told us how to get through them. That was the most amazing thing.
Well, that sounds good. What do you think is the one word that best explains or describes this sphere?
“Persistent.” If you are not persistent with your sales goals, you're not going to be successful. That's your goal; all the jobs I see for a Sales Engineer position talk about making X calls per day. So you have to be persistent in your goal because if you aren’t persistent, the job wouldn't exist.
And what kind of person would be the perfect fit for such a job?
I believe someone hungry for success, money, motivation, work-life balance, or freedom.
I’ve heard there are a lot of sales representatives and they are all diverse. Some of them believe those who are going into this sphere must be very talkative and extroverted. Others say this profession is good for introverted people because you only get incoming calls; you don't have to make cold calls and so on. What do you think about that?
I think I can see all of those being true. As a banker, the very first thing they taught me was that I had a relationship with every single person who came in. So my goal through every single transaction was not just to take their deposit, or not just to give them a withdrawal, but it was to make sure that I remembered them and they remembered me the next time they came in.
I believe it’s your personality itself, regardless of whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert. You just have to get people to like and trust you.
What would you say to those people who are hesitating about whether to choose this career path and whether to use the Careerist training program?
I would advise them to do it because it gives you a feeling of completion. I think technology is always changing. It expands and makes room for everybody: those who are eager to use tech products and those who strive to be a part of the development process.
The more people who are working in tech, the more diverse it gets. Different backgrounds and different personalities are what make technology flexible. If you have an idea, go for it, and give it a try; otherwise, you’ll regret it. Age is never the limit.
That's the most valuable thing someone can do for you. And someone did that for me too. Thank you, Andrea. That was a really, really exciting experience, and on Careerist’s behalf, we wish you all the best. We hope to hear from you again after you have a couple of months of experience under your belt. We are pretty sure your new job is going to be an interesting one. Inspired by Andrea's journey and curious about the realm of Sales Engineering? This could be your story waiting to unfold! If you're ready to elevate your career and dive into a challenging, rewarding industry, don't wait another moment. Apply now for our Sales Engineering training program and start your journey today. Let's shape the future of Sales Engineering together!