Switching careers can be overwhelming, especially when life throws unexpected curveballs. For Rae-Ann Covington, this meant facing job loss during the pandemic, a challenge many have encountered. But Rae-Ann didn’t let this setback define her. Instead, she saw it as a golden opportunity to pivot her career path in the tech industry. Her story goes beyond professional transformation; it’s a balancing act of managing her role as a single mom to an autistic son while pursuing her tech ambitions.
Let’s examine how Rae-Ann embraced Linux and leveraged her project management expertise. Her journey is a powerful example of resilience and determination in adversity.
Early Career and Expertise
Rae-Ann’s tech journey began long before her current transition. With over seven years in quality assurance (QA) across sectors like pharmaceuticals, R&D, and education, she gained a broad skill set and insight into diverse tech applications.
Rae-Ann’s expertise was more comprehensive than QA processes. She was also proficient in various programming languages, a skill set underpinning her ability to understand and test complex software systems effectively. Though not the centerpiece of her career, her programming knowledge played a crucial role in her overall proficiency in the tech field.
Perhaps most notably, Rae-Ann’s skills in project management stood out. As a PMI-certified professional, she possessed robust tools for leading teams and managing large-scale projects. Her expertise was not just theoretical; she had tested and proven her skills in the field. Rae-Ann’s approach to project management was pragmatic and results-driven, focusing on setting clear goals and meticulously tracking progress to ensure successful outcomes.
In her own words, Rae-Ann described the importance of this skill set: “One thing that can be said of any project management professional is this: anything can be a project. Professionally and in one’s personal life. With respect to balance in my own life, I find that goal-setting and tracking are critical to ensuring that everything I need to get done actually gets done.”
Rae-Ann’s early career laid a solid foundation for her. It blended technical acumen and leadership capabilities, setting the stage for her next giant leap into a more challenging and evolving tech landscape.
Impact of the Pandemic
The pandemic’s mass layoffs were critical for Rae-Ann, challenging her established tech career. She marked a significant shift during this period, prompting her to reassess her professional path.
Rae-Ann’s reaction to the layoffs was a mix of emotions. “My initial reaction to mass layoffs following the pandemic was actually bittersweet,” she recalls. The pandemic suddenly upended the stability she had known in her career, but it also opened the door to new possibilities. Rae-Ann was forced by this period of uncertainty to reassess her career trajectory and confront the limitations of her current qualifications in a rapidly evolving tech landscape.
The tech industry, known for its fast-paced and ever-changing nature, was shifting in ways that made some of her skills less relevant. This realization was a crucial turning point for Rae-Ann. It wasn’t just about finding another job; it was about adapting to the new demands of the industry. The pandemic, while disruptive, presented an opportunity for Rae-Ann to rethink her career path and align her skills with the future needs of the tech world.
This phase of Rae-Ann’s career highlights a common theme many professionals faced during the pandemic: the need to evolve and adapt in response to external changes. It was a time for Rae-Ann to reflect, reevaluate, and plan her next steps in a rapidly transforming industry.
The Drive for Upskilling
In the wake of the pandemic’s impact, Rae-Ann recognized the need to upskill to stay relevant in the tech industry. She strategically chose to concentrate on Linux because she was aware of the technology’s pervasive and developing role in the digital world.
Rae-Ann’s understanding of how crucial Linux is to numerous technological aspects influenced her decision. “Linux is a technology that is deeply ingrained in most of our daily lives, and the vast majority of us do not realize it even exists,” she explained. This insight led her to believe that mastering Linux would not only future-proof her career but also align with her natural inclinations toward technology. “The ‘way’ Linux interprets data and functions as an OS just clicks with how my own brain is wired,” Rae-Ann added, highlighting her connection with the technology.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program in Virginia helped her further her journey into Linux. This program provided Rae-Ann with the resources and support needed to dive deep into the Linux world. It was crucial in her career reboot, offering her a structured path to acquire new, in-demand skills.
Rae-Ann’s upskilling journey proves her proactive approach to adapting to the tech industry’s demands. By choosing to specialize in Linux and leveraging the opportunities the WIOA Virginia program provided, she positioned herself to re-enter the tech workforce with a more robust, relevant skill set. This decision reflects a broader trend in the tech industry, where continuous learning and adaptation are crucial to staying ahead in a rapidly evolving field.
Balancing Personal and Professional Life
Alongside her tech career, Rae-Ann’s role as a single mother to an autistic son presents unique challenges, especially in coordinating his therapy with her professional development.
Rae-Ann approaches this dual responsibility with a mindset that blends empathy and pragmatism. She emphasizes that her son’s needs are not obstacles but integral to her life journey. “My child’s needs are never seen as obstacles to overcome in order to achieve my professional goals,” Rae-Ann asserts. She is determined to ensure that her son never feels like a hindrance to her career progress.
Managing her son’s therapy and educational needs requires careful planning and coordination. Rae-Ann keeps a close eye on schedules and routines, ensuring that her son receives the necessary support for his development. This time management process involves constant communication with teachers, therapists, and administrators to keep track of his progress.
Rae-Ann has also found creative ways to integrate her career development activities with her role as a mother. She often shares her learning experiences with her son, turning them into opportunities for bonding and mutual growth. “Explaining what ‘mommy learned this week’ has exposed my son to higher technology and helped to solidify my own understanding of it,” she shares.
This balancing act clearly shows how resilient and adaptable Rae-Ann is. She demonstrates that pursuing ambitious career goals while being a devoted parent is possible, even under challenging circumstances. Rae-Ann’s story inspires single parents in the tech industry, showing that you can harmonize your personal and professional aspirations with the right approach and mindset.
Looking Towards the Future
As Rae-Ann navigates her upskilling journey and balances her responsibilities, she eyes the future. Her ultimate goal is to secure a stable, remote-friendly home business that aligns with her new skills and life circumstances. Her aim is not merely professional success but to create a sustainable and fulfilling work-life balance.
Looking ahead to June 2024, Rae-Ann has a well-defined picture of success. “June 2024, I expect myself to be in the internship portion of my tech journey with YellowTail and further positioning myself to obtain the best job that I can within IT,” she states. She wants to leverage her skill set to its fullest potential, continuously learning and growing as a professional in the tech industry.
Rae-Ann’s plan for the future includes obtaining key certifications that will bolster her expertise and marketability. “Success for me at that point is having my Red Hat Certified Sys Admin certification and also preparing for/taking exams for my AWS Cloud Practitioner and Security+ certifications,” she elaborates. These certifications are more than milestones; they represent her commitment to staying at the forefront of the tech industry.
Rae-Ann’s vision extends beyond personal achievements. Her resilience and determination show that it’s possible to reinvent oneself professionally, regardless of life’s challenges.
New Beginnings: Rae-Ann’s Tale of Triumph
Rae-Ann’s story vividly illustrates resilience in the face of adversity. Her journey from a QA specialist to a tech aspirant while balancing the role of a single mother is a source of inspiration for anyone facing career transitions. Her dedication to upskilling and adapting in a dynamic industry highlights the importance of continuous learning.
For those in the tech field seeking to reinvent their careers, Rae-Ann’s path shows that with determination and the proper support, new beginnings are always possible. Are you ready to start your journey? Book a 10-minute intro call with an Enrollment Advisor today.