Switching career paths can be daunting, but I’ve seen the advantages first hand. Before joining EY I spent four years in the medical device sector performing a diversity of roles including Production Operator, HR Associate and Quality Assurance Administrator. I was looking for a change, and it seemed my best option was to return to education and upskill. Having identified the major skills shortages in Ireland, I eventually decided that a qualification in information systems would afford me the best job prospects. A week after being accepted to UCC’s Masters programme in Management Information and Managerial Accounting Systems, the company I was working for announced closure. I received my redundancy in August 2011, and by September I was back in college — the stars had certainly aligned for me!
Returning to education was tough, especially given that I had no previous knowledge or experience of the subject matter. But after a lot of hard work and plenty of hours logged in the UCC library, I got the results I wanted. My Masters programme included a 6-month work placement, so I applied to EY and was accepted as an intern in July 2012. I was placed with the IT Risk Assurance (ITRA) team in Financial Services Advisory, and contributed to a variety of projects over the next few months. At the end of the placement, in December 2012, I was offered a full-time contract. I’ve been here ever since, and am currently working as a Consultant on the Cyber Security team within ITRA.
For me, the benefits of career change have been profound. Redundancy forced me to look at roles I might never have considered, and to face the challenge of learning an unfamiliar subject. The fact that I ended up working in an emerging industry with excellent career prospects proves I made the right decision, and I take a lot of confidence from that. I work with a number of colleagues who have also completed a career change, including former primary school teachers, physicists and engineers. I’m sure they’d agree that our different backgrounds give each of us our own unique perspective, and that successfully transitioning to a new line of work shows we’re capable and flexible. I think these are very important traits for a consultant working at EY, because no two days are the same — we see change all the time.