So how do you move out of academia when you’re a mid-career mother?
This question has been ringing in my head loudly this time last year and now and I am happy to say: “I did it”.
Data was always a great part of my life and my passion, however the wiggly path of upgrading my skills, joggling through interviews to see what employers want and what do I want was at a time intimidating. My second maternity leave was a perfect time to put thoughts into actions. Over two months I did a few short courses, failed one interview, and finally ended up signing onto a Data Analysis Nanodegree program with Udacity.
Already after two months of studying my ground was firmer. Each of my days was nearly identical — kids until 8:00pm, then studying as much as I could afterwards. Sometimes during the day I would slip a line of code when my youngest was “busy,” other times I would breastfeed with one hand and code with the other. Sometimes I was a master of disaster, but I tried to catch up as much as I could…all in all I did small but frequent steps. There were moments of hesitation, many of them framed by sleepless nights and toddler tantrums, but the reminder of why I am doing this and for who, eventually always brought me back to the ground.
Finally I got a job five months after starting the course, a job which I like and which opens up a new and exciting world of real life data. I haven’t graduated yet (planned in Feb.) and in retrospect I think I have been lucky, lucky because of support from family and friends, and the fact that nobody never flagged me as a potential failure. So to all those mothers wondering whether it is possible — yes it is, your kids will be proud of you! Good luck!