Legal Practitioner to Tech Girl – A Journey By Gbemi Ogunkua
Having been in the legal profession for over a decade, I started to feel stuck, discontent and itching for more. I knew I wanted to transition into the Tech Industry but struggled with the thought of seeming to abandon Law. Leaving the comfort of the familiar and ‘Tech’ seemed like a whole different world from Law.
Unlike people that switched careers because they didn’t enjoy their previous field, I actually enjoyed being a Lawyer, I am good at it, I loved the “prestige and power” that came with being a lawyer but still, I wanted more and I could not shake that feeling.
For over 5years, I dreamt, researched and explored different avenues to aid this transition. You see, I was not a tech nerd, I wasn’t spending my time as a kid playing with computers like my brothers. My nose was always buried deep in a book. Where there was no new book, I was probably reading the back of the cereal box, I just wanted to learn.
The Transition Into Tech
After agreeing with myself that I needed to change my career, then I needed to answer the “How” question. I had no immediate desire to go back to the university to study a STEM course. I wanted a way to transition into tech as quickly and cost effective as possible. My research skill from being a lawyer became very useful. I found and took as many online courses as I could to become familiar with shortlisted career options in the tech industry, then IT Business Analysis caught my interest. with the knowledge that I needed to know more.
I did immerse myself into everything Business Analysis and when I realised I needed more professional knowledge, Heels and Tech was where i went to. Signing up for a 6 weeks intense Business Analysis course, I learnt the rudiments of being a Business Analyst and got to work on a project utilising all the knowledge I had gathered. The project went from requirement gathering to prototype designing, creating User stories, acceptance criteria, user test cases and using software. Tools I didn’t even know existed a month prior. The lawyer was indeed becoming a tech girl.
This journey was by no means an easy task, but I was having the time of my life. From collaborating on Jira, to creating process flows on Lucid chart and prototyping on Figma. I had several moments I would look at my work and be awed at the things I was creating, the way I could interpret business requirements into understandable development tasks to match a software with tools, designs and concepts that would have seemed like gibberish to me only a few weeks ago.
It was at these moments when I was becoming a Business Analyst, from Eliciting information from Stakeholders to understand Business Values, to analysing pain points and collaborating with the scrum team, I did come to the realisation and acceptance that I didn’t leave Law to become a Tech girl, I am a Lawyer, always will be and the skills I had developed in my decade long journey is why I found asking the right questions easy during Elicitation exercises, and why I had developed good listening ears. My transferrable Lawyer skills are indeed paving my way in this new field and I am grateful for it.
So, if you are out there and thinking of starting a career in Tech, I hope this article can demystify it for you. Take that step, make that research, take the course, ask questions, keep probing. Know that Tech is for anyone who chooses it and not just the “Tech Nerd”. There is something in it for everyone and I’m rooting for you to find yours.
Read Tobi Afolabi’s how to get into tech.