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Changing profession isn’t so hard

Have you ever considered changing your line of business but felt short of courage? Is there something deep inside telling you that, as far as your professional life goes, you should start doing something completely different from what you have done for recent years? Some time ago, Wojciech Kobiałko decided to take a step like this. For three years now, he has been climbing, one by one, the steps on the career ladder as a tester at IT Kontrakt. Learn the story of a man who, having reached one summit, chose to change something about his life and conquer another one.

My name is Wojciech Kobiałko. Before I joined IT Kontrakt, I’d worked a regional manager in a big corporation operating on the retail market. The work was very absorbing and it involved a lot of travelling. As a result, I was non-stop away from home, and I was always short of time for myself and those closest to me. One day, I and my wife started considering a change. We came to realise that it was about time we’d done something to be able to be home more often and spend more time together.

In 2014, I left my then employment. Before I started seeking new work, a friend – Piotr Carli, Test Lead at IT Kontrakt – had got in touch with me. He suggested that I try my hand at the IT business. He also hinted that I should start my retraining by attending the Tester’s Academy organised by IT Kontrakt.

It wasn’t easy for me to make the decision to start a career in IT. As a husband and father to two kids, I knew that I couldn’t act hastily. I realised that after leaving my position, in which I’d spent over 12 years, and moving to a completely different industry, I’d face a need to start everything from scratch, which doesn’t only mean a considerable challenge but also a great unknown. I kept feeling worried about whether the new job would allow me to support my family and ensure the previous living standard for it.

At the same time, however, I saw work in IT and an opportunity to broaden my knowledge and gain new experiences. I’d worked in the retail business and dealt with staff management, sales, and budgets for 12 years, so – as far as these areas are concerned – I wouldn’t have attained anything more and I wouldn’t have learned anything new. What I felt was a need for learning something new and proving myself in the face of new challenges – trying something in which I hadn’t planned to be professionally and personally involved.

After three weeks of talks and many sleepless nights, I ultimately chose to take up the challenge. I was aware that such an opportunity might not come again. Despite my concerns, I decided to keep to the thought that it was going to be OK. I knew that I had experience of management and communication with people, and I hoped that it would pay dividends. I thought it was worth trying.

I started my cooperation with IT Kontrakt in April 2014 taking advantage of the Tester’s Academy project. The idea behind the Academy goes as follows: the company hires people from outside of the industry who then undergo training that lasts from 3 to 6 months. It’s a period in which the new employee learns the ropes and gains the experience needed for a tester’ s work.

Piotr, who’d encouraged me to start the job, supported my first steps in the IT industry. It’s easier to start something new if you have the support of a person who you can talk to or who you can ask about what the work looks like from a closer, more realistic perspective. What’s more, a person like this is your support when you’re taking your first steps.

Today, after 3 years, I’m a Test Lead on a project in which 18 people are involved. In addition, I hold the role of Quality Manager on 10 projects. Looking at IT Kontrakt’s work, I can say that the change of the line of business was the best career decision I could have ever made. Now, with hindsight, I’m even wondering whether I should have earlier decided to make this change – not two but, say, four years ago. Comparing retail to IT, I think it’s IT where you matter more, as well as your potential, creativity, and skills. In this line of business, what determines general success or a successful project is not “the weather” but a close-knit team, i.e. the people. IT Kontrakt gave me an opportunity to quickly develop in an interesting industry that has a future, thanks to which I feel I’m rewarded in professional terms.

If I were to give a piece of advice to people who, just like myself – some time ago, are considering a change of profession and line of business, I’d say that it’s best to just do it. Go there, try, and do your best, and it’s sure to be alright.

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