A quick introduction to Julia
When Julia graduated from university with a business degree in hand, she went into management consulting. But after a few years, she came to the same conclusion that so many young consultants do: this wasn’t exactly what she wanted to work on for the rest of her life. There was, however, the small question of what was next? She knew she was broadly interested in tech, but she didn’t know exactly what that would look like. Or how to get there.
Fast forward a few months and Julia landed a role in Strategy & Operations on the merchant selection team at DoorDash. She’s building an exciting career in tech, owning outcomes for a fast-growing company in a role that she loves. The best part? With a little help along the way, the switch was easier than she could have imagined.
If you’re a consultant or working in another professional services career and wondering how to break into tech, Julia wants to share her story with you. Read on to learn how you can make the leap into a business career in tech 👇
Breaking out of her comfort zone
Like most management consultants, Julia was used to working on projects outside of her comfort zone. In fact, she sought them out. “When I started working post my undergrad, I made an effort to always put my hand up to tackle the problems I hadn’t yet mastered,” she said. “I also always looked for opportunities outside of my day-to-day job.”
Unlike most management consultants, though, Julia didn’t only study business. After taking computer science courses as electives during university, plus picking up the basics of artificial intelligence and web development through part-time night classes while working in consulting, she had a decent base knowledge. It became clear to her that she wanted to move into tech, but she wasn’t sure what the next step would be.
That’s where The Commons came in. Deeply technical training, but focused entirely on complex business problems. “Skilful was my introduction to SQL and how to apply it in a business environment,” said Julia.
She also found a double benefit in The Commons, in that the program offered the chance to join a broader community of business professionals at top tech companies. “I knew I wanted to go into tech,” said Julia. “This seemed like a great opportunity to learn a new skill (SQL) and connect with peers and mentors in the tech space.”
Identifying a career path
Knowing she wanted to go into tech was one thing. Figuring out what kind of role - and what kind of company - was something else entirely. According to Julia, “...it felt like there were endless paths that I could take and I found it difficult to focus my search." With that challenge, The Commons became not just an opportunity to learn SQL and hone her python skills; it opened up access to people who could provide the sort of been-there-done-that guidance you’d expect from a dedicated mentor.
“The mentors and community were incredibly supportive and integral during my career search process,” she said. “They sent me job opportunities that I’d be interested in, helped me prepare for my interviews, and never hesitated to pick up the phone to be a sounding board and help me think through career decisions.”
Mentorship within The Commons didn’t just focus on next steps, either. The mentors take a holistic approach, looking at what gaps you may have from previous education.
“One of the biggest blind spots transitioning out of my first role from University was how to approach post-offer conversations,” Julia shared. “The Commons community helped me understand how to navigate these conversations - everything from compensation to career trajectories and day-to-days of the role - to get the answers I needed to make a confident decision in the company I would join.”
Pivoting from business to tech with The Commons
Through The Commons' program and mentorship, Julia realized she’d be great in a Strategy & Operations role. It would give her the business challenges she loved from management consulting but offer the technical aspects that she’d wanted as well. Plus S&O roles would give her the chance to work with a wide variety of people - something else she loved from her time in consulting.
“What stopped me from moving was really indecisiveness of what role in tech I wanted to move into,” said Julia. “Some of the best advice I received from mentors at The Commons was to think about ‘what I want my resume to look like’ at the end of my next role - this really helped me focus my career search on roles that aligned with the skillsets I wanted to acquire.”