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Pivoting into tech: How to find a new career path

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Technology offers new career paths and opportunities for innovation to professionals in all sectors. Learn how Professor Selwa Al-Hazzaa pivoted into tech, and be inspired to reimagine your own future.

There’s been a bit of a media trend recently for highlighting professionals who’ve pivoted their career into tech. They build on their existing skills and experience in any given profession, and take all of that into the tech industry – to cultivate a future-proofed career that can carry them into the digital era. 

Alongside this, there’s also a growing number of specific courses and bootcamps that aim to help people sidestep into tech; like this one (a bootcamp providing digital tech education to women), and these ones (Stanford’s range of courses that upskill individuals and teams). 

And it makes sense: our societies are becoming increasingly enmeshed with technology. Almost all jobs now require some level of engagement with tech; and the leaders of the future are likely to be tech leaders, not just business leaders. According to the Business Research Company, the global IT market grew from $8,364.32 billion in 2021 to $9.358.51 billion in 2022 at a CAGR of 11.6% – and the lived reality of that is simple: tech is everywhere. We’re using it for everything. And as industries continue to deploy more tech solutions, the people who are ahead of the change will be the ones directing the change. 

How do real people do it? 

It’s easy to get caught up in the promise of a future successful career in tech when it’s sold to you by a bootcamp program’s marketing team. But it’s hard to know how accurate the success stories are, and how you can really be sure you’re moving towards not just a new way of working, but a new way of working that’s genuinely in line with your ambitions and purpose.

So we asked upcoming #LEAP23 keynote speaker Professor Selwa A. F. Al-Hazzaa; MD; FRCS; MMM (Founder and CEO at SDM Advanced Solutions) how her career developed from healthcare into technology. Al-Hazzaa is a Saudi ophthalmologist, and served as the personal ophthalmologist for the late King Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. A distinguished clinical professor, she recognised that to build a resilient and fulfilling future, she had to embrace technology. 

“In 2018 I knew there had to be something that would support me in not plateauing in my career,” Al-Hazzaa said. “The routine examination and knowing what to expect everyday was killing. So I decided to look for programs that could divert me from the routine medical life. I took my masters degree in Medical Management MMM and did my thesis on Artificial Intelligence.”

“Here the doors opened for me on a new challenge and how to utilise A.I. in my profession in Ophthalmology. Being a retinologist for the past 35 years and a subspeciality in managing diabetic retinopathy was a combination I could never dream of. I flew into tech; image retinal analysis; diabetic retinopathy.” 

Professor Al-Hazzaa used her expertise and her passion to make changes in her career – and make changes for her patients. 

Find a key that opens doors

We think the key lesson here is that Al-Hazzaa found a key that opened doors. In her case, it was a masters degree and a thesis on AI. 

If you’re a professional (in any sector) with the curiosity to explore your options in tech, your key might be something different. It might be a tech bootcamp or incubation program; it might be an educational opportunity; or it might be a mentor, an idea; even a singular experience that opens your mind to new possibilities. 

The key to your tech future might even be LEAP. The simple act of being there at an event that welcomes the top tech innovators from around the world and provides the space for you to learn from them, share with them, and be inspired. 

So – see you at LEAP 2023?


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