Negotiating a career change for tech
There is an opportunity to blossom even when you find yourself in sandy soils and Rachel T Ainembabazi knew that blossom she must. The issue was in doubting her career choice. With a background in social sciences, it seemed unprecedented that Ainembabazi would ever interface with technology in a deep manner. Today, she is a digital product designer and entrepreneur, empowering others, especially women, to embrace a space with immense opportunities.
“I am a wife and Christian,” she says adding that she is also a co-founder and career coach – Qraft Academy, an EduTech start up that mentors young digital innovators through apprenticeships and fellowships. It took her time to transition into the world of technology and innovation so Ainembabazi uses her experience and training to help young people that desire to switch to tech to do so with ease.
“That is what I do as a career coach. Because I have a 9am to 5pm job, I now do most of the coaching in the evening, night or at the weekend. I also train design thinking in the academy to innovators,” she says.
The journey, unbeknownst to her, started after graduating in social sciences and had episodes of getting and quitting unfulfilling jobs until she totally quit, embarking on a journey of self-discovery.
“I had more time to attend workshops, do online courses, read books and explore to find my career path. A few years later, I found it; digital product design and entrepreneurship,” she says. Ainembabazi has also taken courses in career coaching.
Qraft Academy was legally registered and launched in 2021. However, even before that, the team was researching and testing the concept.
In all their apprenticeships and fellowships, Ainembabazi says they encourage women to apply and the biggest beneficiaries to date are women. For example, in the apprenticeship program that started in August 2022, 60 percent of the apprentices were women while men took the remaining slots.
“These usually come as technology and business enthusiasts but finish with clear paths in product design, software development, data science and digital start up,” she says.
Advice to girls
Ainembabazi urges girls and women to join the tech world first by finding the perfect role model.
“In such a big space, we may not all write code or build robots but there are alternative roles we can play. But first things first. You need to discover yourself, your interests, things that trigger you and this is done through exploration. Do not be scared to try,” she says.
From a social scientist background then changing her career, Ainembabazi says she embraced her love and passion for art and figured out ways it can be used in the digital space.