Tech Startups, UX & Tech Sales…

This pretty much summarizes my current situation.

In December, I began Google’s UX Design certificate program and, thanks to the LeadersUp program, I haven’t paid a dime. Unfortunately, in January I lost my apartment due to a fire which misplaced my three children, boyfriend & I into a motel for almost a month. I used this time to double down on my UX coursework. It was the reality of that moment, being on maternity leave & having basically no emergency funds, that instilled a sense of urgency within me. I needed to make good money, & I needed it fast. Like yesterday.

Finally, by February 1st, I was moved into my new apartment in a great location and returned back to my night shifts as a Mental Health Technician. I absolutely love my job and it pays the bills, but I need more flexibility in my work and I set a goal to reach a salary of six-figures by 30 (I’m 27 right now). Unless I go the RN route or Healthcare Administration, this field is not one I can make six figures in. Even if the pay is slightly better than most jobs.

The job market & tech layoffs kind of scared me a little when it comes to UX… I began seeing an influx of UX Students and not enough entry-level positions… it seems most companies consider “entry level” as having 1–2 years experience MINIMUM. Or a Bachelor’s degree. I instantly felt a little let down. I was working on a project in my coursework that felt so long and dragged out. I lost motivation and decided to take a break. This is when I began looking into Sales Development Representative positions… apparently tech sales is one of the quickest ways to transition into the Tech field in an entry-level position and still make six figures. At the end of the day, my biggest goal is getting to the bag so I began applying for Tech Sales apprenticeships.

Tech Startup

I was sooo hopeful that within 3 months I would be hired into a tech sales position after completing my paid apprenticeship, which is what most of these companies promote. Well, after completing multiple mock interviews, resumé/LinkedIn revamps, and a bunch of tech sales coursework, I soon realized that it wasn’t going to be that easy. I e-mailed my recruiter who had been working with me and was told there were “no positions available” at the moment. Yet, every other day on LinkedIn, this company is promoting people who have accepted seats into their apprenticeships or have gotten hired on through their companies. They even suggested I just apply to jobs myself, which I was already doing anyway. Again, I began to feel hopeless and lose momentum.

After multiple rejection e-mails, I re-evaluated and asked myself what my end goal was. What is my “why?” I also reminded myself that these jobs pay big bucks for a reason… Of course it wasn’t going to be easy. Nothing in life ever is. But especially not crossing the six-figures threshold as an Afro-Latina woman in corporate America. I saw my three children. I saw how great the life I’m living now is, and how great it can be. Areas that are currently suffering. I know they say money doesn’t solve everything but, it could definitely solve a lot of my immediate problems.

I even began to reminisce on my love for coding and UX Design. I asked myself what I could truly see myself doing in tech, and I know it was definitely anywhere on the creative side. I even briefly considered cybersecurity because my PI skills are top-notch. ;)

I was receiving e-mails from the LeadersUp program I was accepted into telling me that my spot will be forfeited unless I logged in and worked on my certificate. I decided I was done abusing the opportunities that have been given to me. I am going to stick through my certificate program and finish. I logged back in and finished that project that I procrastinated on, and I am currently typing up my Competitive Audit report.

I also received a message from a recruiter on LinkedIn trying to fill an Account Executive role for a “Stealth Start-up” (I just found out what that means. Stealth Mode for start-ups is when a software/company is kept under the radar to keep from alerting competitors to pending product launches or business initiatives). I had to sign an NDA before even scheduling an interview with the recruiter, which I thought was pretty cool… I jumped on Glassdoor and looked up the employee reviews and of course there were a bunch of mixed ones. “Run away!” were some notable ones that jumped out at me, with others commending the experience you receive and how great it looks on your resume. This is what I expected from a start up though, usually a mix of 2/3 roles into one, a lot of independence and lower pay rate than market average. But I think I’m okay with that if it means getting my feet wet at a tech startup and being able to slap “Account Executive” on my resume. If the base pay is higher than what I’m making now, I definitely think it could be worth it. After about six months to a year, I could begin looking into Sales Development Rep jobs at notable companies who provide better training, or even apply to Account Executive roles if I’m up for the challenge. The possibilities are endless.

This week, I also have an interview to work at a brand new academic Psychiatric facility (apparently the largest in the country) with 500 beds for psychiatric patients. I feel like this opportunity could be amazing if I were to stick with my current career path… New, cutting edge technology along with a brand new facility for patients deserving of a proper mental health care plan. This is super exciting for me, but obviously does not coincide with my ultimate goal to work in tech.

Depending on how my interview goes with the recruiter from the tech startup and the psychiatric facility, I will decide what my next steps are. On top of these two interviews, I’m also meeting with someone from a Tech Sales bootcamp. I’m praying the opportunity I’m meant to align with will make itself known to me. Wish me luck!

Mrs. Rager

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Keyla

Keyla

Mental Health Tech transitioning to tech via UX Design.