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Alumni Stories, Career Development

Alum Spotlight: Changing Careers as a Mom? Yes, You Can

General Assembly
May 24, 2023

Juggling the responsibilities of motherhood is often described as having two full-time jobs — one that stretches into the late hours and another that spans the entire day. Now, imagine the additional challenges faced by single mothers who rely solely on themselves, carrying the weight of these two demanding roles without any breaks. It requires a unique strength and unwavering determination for a mother to embark on a new career path while fulfilling her maternal duties. 

Maintaining a resolute “Yes, I can” attitude is a crucial aspect of their transformative journeys. A positive attitude is a strong determining factor to success, but more support is always an advantage. At General Assembly, we have had the privilege of uplifting mothers from many backgrounds as they make successful transitions into tech careers.

In this article, we will explore the challenges of switching careers as a mother and how you can overcome them. It’s possible to change careers or start a new career as a mom, regardless of any limiting beliefs or underlying circumstances. 

Top 4 determining factors that can differentiate a student’s learning journey as a mom

The journey of a student transitioning into a different career while being a mom is uniquely influenced by several determining factors. Understanding and navigating these factors can significantly shape your learning journey and career change success. 

Let’s take a look at the following in more detail. 

  • Parenting dynamics play a crucial role in a mother’s career transition: balancing the responsibilities of caregiving, managing household tasks, and addressing the needs of children can create complex time management challenges. Each mother’s parenting style, the age of her children, and the level of support from a co-parent or extended family can greatly impact your ability to allocate time and energy toward pursuing education and building new skills.
  • Challenging household circumstances can pose obstacles along the way: from limited access to reliable technology or study spaces to the demands of maintaining a household as a single parent, these circumstances can require resourcefulness and creative problem-solving. Overcoming these challenges often involves finding innovative ways to create a conducive learning environment and seeking out free resources, personal/professional development tools, and community outlets that provide assistance and support. 

Here are some free resources you can utilize today. 

  1. SCORE: SCORE is a nonprofit organization that provides free business mentoring and education. They have a dedicated section for entrepreneurs called “Mentor for Women Entrepreneurs,” where you can connect with experienced mentors who can guide you through your entrepreneurial journey.
  1. Meetup: Meetup is a platform that facilitates local community gatherings on various topics. You can search for meetups related to entrepreneurship, career change, or personal development in your area. Connecting with like-minded individuals can provide valuable support and networking opportunities.
  1. Mompreneurs: Mompreneurs is a community and resource hub for entrepreneurial moms. They offer support, advice, and resources to help moms succeed in their business ventures.
  1. Lean In: Lean In is a global community founded by Sheryl Sandberg that empowers women to achieve their ambitions. They provide resources, community groups, and mentorship opportunities to support women in their careers and entrepreneurial pursuits.
  1. Reddit: Reddit has various communities dedicated to career change, entrepreneurship, and personal development. You can join subreddits such as r/careerchange, r/Entrepreneur, or r/selfimprovement to engage in discussions, seek advice, and connect with like-minded individuals.
  • Presence or absence of physical and moral support: mothers who have a strong support system, whether from a partner, family members, or friends, can benefit from assistance with childcare, household responsibilities, and emotional encouragement. Conversely, those lacking such support may face additional hurdles and may need to explore alternative solutions, such as seeking out local support groups, online communities, or childcare services that can provide assistance during critical learning periods.
  • Financial barriers can significantly impact a mother’s career change journey: the cost of education, training programs, or certifications, coupled with the need to provide for the family’s basic needs, can create financial strain. However, it is crucial to be aware of potential financial aid options, scholarships, grants, or flexible payment plans that can help alleviate the financial burden and make career transitions more attainable.

At General Assembly, we recognize the importance of providing accessible opportunities for career changers and understand the financial constraints that individuals may face. This is why we offer our students flexible payment plans to make their educational programs more accessible. 

Additionally, we also host regular free workshops and events to help prospecting students gain exposure to in-demand skills and explore potential career options without financial commitment.

Changing careers as a mom – stories from GA Alumni

Embarking on a career change journey as a mom can be a daunting endeavor, filled with unique challenges and uncertainties. One powerful way to empower and guide new moms navigating this path is by sharing success stories from fellow mothers who have successfully made the pivot. 

Thinking of making a career change as a mom? Good news, there are many that walked this path before you. Here are their stories.

  1. Ani Samajpati – from mom to developer

Q1. What course did you do at General Assembly, and when did you graduate? 

Software Engineering Immersive, Flex Program, and I graduated June 2022. 

Q2. What was your career like before becoming a mom? 

I was a Technical Recruiter hiring Software Engineers across the world. 

Q3. How did you balance being a full-time mom and student?

My son was only 18 months when I enrolled into the bootcamp and while I took the flex program, I still needed to focus on assignments, projects and learning in my own time. Initially, we had planned to put him into daycare but that didn’t work out,  so, my husband and I constructed a strict routine around his work and my studies. We would take care of our son and do household chores on our respective ‘off’ times.

Q4. How has your new career impacted your day-to-day?

It has definitely made me more productive. My daily routine is planned in a way that I finish household chores early in the morning (I wake up at 6am). Every evening, I try to spend some quality time with my family.

Q5. What advice would you give to other moms considering a career change or pursuing new career goals?

  • Ask for help: Gather all the help you can whether it be from your partner, family, friends, hired help, etc. It’s crazy to think we can do it all by ourselves.
  • Plan ahead: Don’t leave things to chance. Making lists is a good thing. It will help in every aspect of your new Mom life and take away some of that anxiety
  • Prioritize: You cannot do everything all at once (even if you think you need to). So, either (a) delegate or (b) park it for another day. If you are unable to decide, ask yourself: is it a matter of life and death? Trust me, the answer will be mostly no.
  1. Ruchika Sah – from mom to data scientist

Q1. What course did you do at General Assembly, and when did you graduate? 

Data Science Immersive, and I graduated in March 2020. 

Q2. What was your career like before becoming a mom?

I was in Academia, teaching and doing my Ph.D in Econometrics.

Q3. How did you balance being a full-time mom and student?

I did a lot of planning such as meal-planning for the week, and made sure all the kids activities and supplies for the week were taken care of.

Q4. How has your new career impacted your day-to-day?

I have learned to become a lot more organized with everything. I was always a planner but now that has become a larger part of my life.

Q5. In what way has motherhood changed your perspective on success and career fulfillment? 

I have realized that success can mean different things to different people. I am not that worried about chasing that next promotion. I feel success is doing the job well.

  1. Luxe Hahn – from mom to software engineer

Q1. What course did you do at General Assembly, and when did you graduate? 

Software Engineering Immersive, and I graduated in August 2022. 

Q2. How did you balance being a full-time mom and student?

First and foremost, with an incredibly supportive husband who was there for our girls when I was glued to my laptop, deep in code, until the early hours of the night. Secondly, by having open communication with my kids on a level they could understand about my goals and how I needed their support to be successful. 

Q3. How has your new career impacted your day-to-day?

Post career transition, now as a software engineer, I am energized and fulfilled in my career and even after a full day of squashing code bugs I am able to be present for my family outside of work. Not to mention the hours I’ve gotten back in my day by having a flexible hybrid work schedule.

Q4. In what way has motherhood changed your perspective on success and career fulfillment? 

I realized that my goals are not just for me and that I have to lead by example for my two little girls. It became so important for me to pursue success in the form of balance and enrichment over the amount of my direct deposit. This mindset shift gave me the motivation to achieve my goals of exploring a new career despite the initial challenges it would bring.

Q5. What advice would you give to other moms considering a career change or pursuing new career goals?

My advice is DO IT! You got this! Being a mom is one of the hardest parts of life. Everything else is possible. If you think it’s too late, maybe I’m too old, it will be too hard, forget those thoughts. Your life isn’t on anyone else’s timeline but your own.

3 simple steps to get started on a career change with GA

Embarking on a career change journey can be both exhilarating and challenging, especially for moms seeking new professional paths. In such transformative times, having a trusted and reputable professional development training provider like General Assembly by your side can make all the difference. 

Here are our three simple steps to help you unlock new opportunities and empower you to confidently navigate the career change landscape. 

  1. Explore our programs: we provide training in various in-demand fields such as coding, data science, UX design, digital marketing, and more. Our programs are designed to equip individuals with the skills and knowledge needed for successful career transitions. Visit our website to browse through programs and identify the ones that align with your career goals.
  1. Attend information sessions and workshops: take advantage of our free information sessions and workshops. These events offer valuable insights into our programs, teaching methodologies, and career outcomes. Attending these sessions allows you to learn more about our approach, interact with instructors, and ask any questions you may have. These events provide a solid foundation for understanding the training provided and can help you make an informed decision about your career change journey.
  1. Connect with admissions and enrollment: once you have identified the program that suits your career goals, it’s time to connect with the GA admissions and enrollment team. They are there to guide you through the application process, answer any queries you may have, and provide assistance in selecting the most suitable program for your needs. Our admissions team is experienced in helping individuals navigate the transition into their desired fields and can provide valuable guidance and support.

Break stereotypes and achieve career greatness as a mom

Don’t let your fear of failure stop you from achieving career greatness. Being a mom is already one of the most important and challenging things you can achieve in your life. Anything else you set your mind to, you can achieve with hard work, dedication, and a great support system.

General Assembly is here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today for tailored advice to make your new career dream a reality.

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