• the WD team

Pivoting career - a tale from a woman who attained her dream job

“You learn more from failure than from success. Don’t let failure stop you. Failure builds character." Unknown

I believe life is about learning from success and failure rather than counting the numbers of them. Failures in my life changed me a lot, trained my mindset, and always motivated me to achieve my goal.

After working for over five years in the Electronics Manufacturing domain, I decided to shift my career track to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Advice around me varied: it was not a good time for a career change, AI is not easy, AI is not for women, at your age you should be stable, you need to look for the marriage-and-settle combo.

It was a really difficult time in my life but I took it as a challenge, set the right example of career transition and I was patient. I also kept reminding myself that I am the strongest version of myself and only constant hard work can get me through this.

This time taught me how positive thinking can change your life and, finally, the result is here.

Today, I am an AI Researcher in the Healthcare industry. I focus on the early detection of breast cancer using AI technology. I always wanted to contribute to society and I am fully happy with my job now. I also decided to work on boosting the percentage of women in the STEM fields so I became the UAE Ambassador of Women in Coding and Data Science to guide more girls and women to pursue a career in this field.

Here are my tips for career transition:

General tips:

  • Ask yourself what you want to do rather than looking only at money-making jobs

  • Stay focused on your ideal role, responsibilities, and the chosen field

  • Ask for help

  • Leverage the power of social media and maintain an all-star LinkedIn profile

  • Hone your communication skills: learn to brand yourself and showcase your unique skills in the job market

  • Continuous learning is key so stay updated with knowledge and new technologies.

CV tips:

  • Polish and update your CV constantly

  • List your key accomplishments in previous roles

  • Don’t embellish your experience: be honest with the recruiter

  • Practice common interview questions like: tell me about yourself, why you want to join us, why you left your earlier job.

Technical tips:

  • Revise the basics properly

  • Get hands-on experience through an open-source platform like Github, Kaggle

  • Though this is the era of accessible MOOCs, focus on applying the concepts you learn not just continuous learning

  • Participate in hackathons and Kaggle competitions and look at them as hands-on courses: you will learn critical practical lessons

  • Be confident about what you already know and you will gain more confidence through practice

  • Be consistent, stay patient, and always maintain a positive attitude

Keep in mind "success is not final and failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

If you would like to talk about changing careers and pursuing the field of AI, connect with me on LinkedIn. For more guidance, tips and training, follow Women in Code and Data Science.

Pooja Tope-Puranik

Artificial Intelligence Researcher, Prognica Labs

Dubai, UAE

Interested by this topic? Make sure to check out our podcast episode on Creative career pivots.

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