People tend to change careers multiple times during their lifetime. Some articles report the number to be as low as three and as high as seven. Employees simply don’t typically climb the ladder in one career with one company for their entire working life like they used to.
We live in an ever-changing job market where some jobs and companies can quickly become obsolete while others flourish and thrive. A large part of this likely stems from new technologies being developed which are dramatically changing the way we work and live. As a result, it is essential to continuously gain new skills and be adaptable in order to stay current, relevant, and in demand in this age of disruption.
I learned this first-hand just a few years ago. I studied Health Sciences at university with the aim of becoming a doctor. After graduating, I attended medical school and did a number of clinical placements, but realized that practicing medicine just wasn’t for me. So, after graduating medical school, I joined Klick Health as a Medical Editor—a role in which I could use my medical knowledge in combination with my strong editorial foundation to fact-check, assess, and review healthcare marketing assets for medical accuracy, regulatory compliance, quality, and consistency.
In making this career change, I realized that being adaptable would be critical to my ongoing success. Little did I know that this was also going to ring true just a couple of years later when I changed gears within Klick (but, I’m jumping ahead, more on that in a couple of paragraphs).
Working at Klick
I quickly learned how to be a reliable, shrewd, and thorough Medical Editor from my knowledgeable and supportive colleagues on Klick’s Medical Communications team. I found the work challenging and the atmosphere warm and inclusive. Working at Klick was incredibly fun and I quickly met many talented and inspiring individuals who have since become my second family.
As a Medical Editor, I had the wonderful opportunity to work on many interdisciplinary teams on a daily basis—Graphic Designers, Project Managers, User Experience Architects, Copywriters, and Web Developers, to name a few. While collaborating closely with several colleagues, I even learned a bit of basic HTML and CSS, two of the main languages that Web Developers use to build and style websites.
I discovered that I enjoyed coding because in many ways it is similar to doing a logic puzzle that requires you to utilize your problem-solving and deductive reasoning. I found it so interesting that there were many different ways I could go about a problem and yet achieve the same result, forcing me to think critically about which solution was the most appropriate one. Being able to make changes to the code in my browser and see the result of those changes immediately on my screen was utterly fascinating.
Leveling up my skills
I caught the coding bug! I would find myself immersed in coding tutorials and other online resources in my spare time. I enjoyed learning these new languages so much that I decided to take things to the next level and enroll in a classroom-based web development course to improve my coding skills and consider kickstarting a new career.
I didn’t have to think twice about where I wanted to learn—I knew eight Klicksters who had graduated from a well-known front-end web development immersive bootcamp program. They only had positive things to say about their experience, so registering there was a no-brainer. Over the course of the next seven months, while working full-time at Klick, I took two part-time courses—each had six hours of class per week for 12 weeks. It was sometimes challenging trying to juggle part-time schooling while continuing to work full time, but it was exciting at the same time and definitely worth all the hours I put in. I went to class eager to soak up all that I could about web development.
I was very excited about the prospect of starting a new career, however, I really didn’t want to leave the company. While I was taking the second course, I gathered up the courage to tell my manager about my desire to move from Klick’s Medical Communications team to its Technology team. He was surprised to be sure! But he was also very supportive. It meant so much to me that he was encouraging me to explore what I wanted to do. In addition, my Senior VP ensured that I was in touch with the right people in the department I was moving to in order to facilitate a smooth transition.
After the second course ended, I took time to continue to code and increase my knowledge and skills so that I could be as prepared as possible for the technical test that all web developers must pass in order to work at Klick. Once I felt confident in my new coding skills, I took the internal front-end web developer test. I passed and soon enough one of Klick’s Technical Directors took me under their wing.
Benefits of having varied knowledge and skills
I have now been in my new role for just over a year and during this time I have noticed that being a Medical Editor-turned-Web Developer offers certain advantages. For starters, my background has equipped me to understand the regulatory reasons behind changes to the digital assets we create (changes, funnily enough, often requested by my former Medical Editor teammates). I also know what issues to watch out for as a result. What’s more, when I need to explain to other team members why technical limitations prevent certain changes from being made, I am able to suggest alternative solutions that can achieve our objectives.
Another benefit is that I am familiar with common issues that result from web development since my prior role included finding and addressing discrepancies between what was built and what the ideal asset looked like. This, coupled with the fact that I am detail-oriented, allows me to be very careful, specific, and precise in building and modifying our digital assets. Lastly, being a Medical Editor requires diplomacy when addressing challenges with other team members; a skill that continues to serve me well as a Web Developer.
I consider myself to be very lucky to have pursued a new career without leaving a company I love—a move that undoubtedly made things much easier than leaving the company for a similar role elsewhere. I was already very familiar with the new team members I would be working with, the nature of our company’s work, the internal workflow processes that we follow, and of course, the company’s culture.
My journey is definitely a unique one, but I know I’m not alone. There are more than a handful of other Klicksters who have taken their careers to exciting new heights—from Benefits Coordinator to Project Coordinator, People Organizer to Medical Editor, and Receptionist to Media Coordinator to name a few. At Klick, employees are enabled to pursue other interests and avenues that suit them while complementing our business objectives.
I’m a steadfast believer in lifelong learning because it allows people to grow and develop not only into better professionals but also into better individuals and citizens of the world. Thankfully, an endless wealth of knowledge is available 24/7 on demand at our fingertips (and even via voice-activated smart systems) and as such, learning a new skill is more accessible than ever before. The time to take advantage of it is now because we are moving from a jobs economy towards a skills economy in which people are constantly learning, training, and upgrading their skills for many different jobs instead of just one particular career.
As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “Change is the only constant in life.” Embrace it because developing your skills is not only the key to a bright career path, it’s also the best way to give yourself a competitive advantage and prepare yourself for the workplace changes ahead.
Tips for kickstarting a career
Thinking about making a change yourself? Here are some things to get you started:
- Take the time to try new things or find new interests that may be valuable in this fast-paced technological age
- Talk to people who are already doing what you’re interested in to learn more about the work they do, their roles and responsibilities, and their point of view
- Try job shadowing someone for a day or even just a few hours
- Find courses that may help cultivate new skills in your desired area of interest
- Consider changing your career gradually over time by developing new skills in your current job or seeking new responsibilities in your current role
- Plan and set a prospective timeline for the various steps that will lead to your career goal
- Believe in yourself!