4 BrainStation Alumni on How to Change Careers

By BrainStation August 16, 2019

Making the jump into a new career can be an overwhelming and complex decision, but switching career paths is becoming more commonplace as demand for digital roles continues to skyrocket. Taking part in a program or bootcamp that will prepare you with the skills necessary for your career transformation can be integral to finding success. 

To help you through the decision-making process, BrianStation invited diploma program graduates to talk about how they made the switch to their desired career.

Here’s a recap of what they shared about their experience in the program and finding a job in a new industry. 

Diverse Career Backgrounds

The panelists came from a range of career and education backgrounds, and there was at least one alum from each of BrainStation’s diploma programs – Data Science, User Experience (UX) Design, and Web Development

Aline Santoso, for instance, was working as a Biomedical Engineer at UBC prior to applying to BrainStation’s Data Science Diploma Program and is now a Data Scientist at Teligence Capital. 

“My background is in engineering, and I had a lot of data that I didn’t know how to deal with,” said Santoso. “I think that was the first time that I started thinking I need to do this more efficiently, and that’s when I started searching for programming, and then stumbled upon data science. When BrainStation launched the Data Science program, I took it.” 

Nikhila Kakarlapudi moved from London to take the UX Design program, and is now working as a Product Designer and Manager at LivNao.

“My background is in tech consulting, so I was quite fortunate that I had experience across the design lifecycle so to speak. All the way from strategy to designing and launching tech products. The area I was most interested in was the design side of things so I really wanted to dig in and get more tangible skills in that area,” explained Kakarlapudi. “Around the same time I was thinking of moving out of London, I was researching different courses that were available and came across the UX Design program at BrainStation.”

Deciding on BrainStation

One thing all the alumni have in common – they did their research before deciding on BrainStation.

For Bruna Garcia, a Web Development diploma graduate, she weighed many factors before finally applying to the program. 

“There were three things that drew me to BrainStation. First of all, I did a bit of research about the technologies that the programs use, and BrainStation focused some curriculum on React and open source programming languages which I wanted to learn more about,” said Garcia. 

“Also, I really like the environment here, people are friendly, people are nice. And then there’s the financial part, having the opportunity to have a payment plan really helped as well.”

Others were more focused on the fact that a 12-week diploma program meant they could be starting their new career sooner. 

“I was considering Data Science for a while, and UBC at that time launched a Data Science program, but it’s 16 months, and BrainStation was only 12 weeks,” said Santoso. “I think that was a major decision point for me; three months versus 16 months, and I could get a job after that.”

The Learning Experience

People interested in diploma programs often ask questions about the learning experience. What does it really mean to be in an immersive program? Is it the same as university? How do you learn so much in 12 weeks?

Well, the BrainStation alumni spoke to that on the panel, explaining what a typical day looks like and how the programs differed from traditional education they had experienced in the past. 

“I graduated [from university] in October and came to BrainStation in January – and it’s like night and day,” explained Nick Abasolo. 

Nick studied Economics in his undergraduate degree before taking BrainStation’s UX Design Diploma Program and now works as a Product Designer at Dialpad.

“In college or university you show up to class sometimes, and listen sometimes, but at BrainStation, you’re learning practical skills from people who do that job,” said Abasolo. “It’s not Professors who study the subject as a theory, it’s Designers, or Developers, or Data Scientists.”

The diploma programs are a collaborative, project-based environment, meaning that students are applying they skills they learn every day to complete real-world projects. 

“The first time I came to BrainStation I was expecting more of a traditional teaching style and I was pleasantly surprised that it was more like working in a team,” said Santoso.

“It’s definitely a fully immersive experience,” said Kakarlapudi. “It’s really collaborative, and I liked the classroom style where you have lectures in the morning and then work on the Capstone projects in the afternoon. And you have the contact with the Educators, so if you have questions, they are really open to giving feedback and providing help.”

Finding a Job After a Diploma Program

The panelists all highlighted the intensity of the program, and emphasized that it’s an environment where hard work really pays off

All three diploma programs culminate with Demo Day, BrainStation’s graduate project showcase, which is an opportunity for students to present their Capstone project to Hiring Partners, industry professionals, and the BrainStation community. 

Students also benefit from the Career Success Program, which supports them on their job search with mock interviews, resume and interview preparation, and personal branding guidance. 

“We had a mock interview just before our Demo Day and I prepared a ten-slide presentation, and maybe on the second slide [the interviewer] said ‘let’s just jump into your sketch file’ – I was completely unprepared for it as it was my first experience having that style of an interview,” said Kakarlapudi. “It was so helpful having that input and noting the things that he’d question me on. Having the opportunity to have that real time feedback was useful.”

Throughout the diploma programs there are opportunities to attend tech tours and workshops with professionals from various industry-leading organizations – really valuable experiences when you’re looking for a new job. 

“During my time at BrainStation we had a lot of workshops with different people and companies in the industry, and at that time one of the people I met worked for Unbounce,” said Garcia. “When my TA position at BrainStation was coming to an end, she actually contacted me and offered me a position.”

Changing careers is hard, but the BrainStation alumni are proof that with the right skills and support, it’s definitely possible. 

Interested in making a change? Speak with a Recruitment and Admissions Advisor today about BrainStation’s diploma programs.