Taking a gamble on IT

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Futurists say people are likely to change careers numerous times across their lifetimes but the reality of pausing one career to retrain for the next when you have a family to support feels like a bit of a gamble. It was a gamble that’s paid off for new WITT Te Pūkenga System Support Officer Joe Kisby who’s found his niche in IT.

“I know I am not going to get bored or remain stationary, there’s so much to learn.”

As for the initial salary drop that has come with his career change, he’s confident with the range of careers and demand in IT that it will balance out over time and he can’t put a price on being able to drop his kids to school and being more present at home after years of offshore work.

Joe left school at the end of Year 11 and completed a painting and decorating apprenticeship which eventually led to blasting and painting work in the oil and gas industry.

“It was hard, dirty work and I wanted to use my brain more,” says Joe.

With an interest in computers, Joe looked into IT qualifications at WITT Te Pūkenga and was keen to jump straight into a level 5 programme – he’d build a computer at home and felt confident of his abilities.

“I thought retraining would be easier, but it was more involved than I thought and I discounted how much IT school leavers have done – I didn’t grow up coding for fun like them.”

Under the advisement of his new tutors, he started with the level 4 qualification and then went onto level 5 which was the springboard he needed to get work in the industry. 

“I loved the discipline of the classroom – sitting down with 20 other like-minded people, helping each other with work and motivating each other.”

It only took him three weeks to get a role in the industry when he’d graduated and then nine months later the perfect role came up at WITT. Joe jumped at the chance to come back to WITT, albeit as kaimahi not ākonga.

“I didn’t know if I would be able to fit into an office job as I’d never done it before, but in this role I am able to get around campus and work with different people so there’s lots of variety and I am not completely deskbound,” says Joe.

He also says it is satisfying to solve people’s problems and that brings immediate gratification.

“Joe has made an immediate positive impact from day one. His solid work ethic and passion for a career in IT backed by the practical training while studying at WITT Te Pūkenga, Joe was well prepared for the role and hit the ground running and has been a real asset for the team,” says WITT Te Pūkenga IT Manager Ian Wride.

Joe says the size of WITT is just right and the variety of work supporting both kaimahi and ākonga with their IT problems is interesting. He also adds that he’s landed in a great team and they have made it a good place to work.

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