From Nurse to Working in Tech: The Ultimate Guide to Making a Career Transition from Nursing

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One in three nurses is considering leaving the profession, and the departure is growing.

McKinsey & Company found that 32% of nurses were considering a career change in November 2021, up from 22% less than a year earlier. Despite decent pay and high demand, nursing and hospital work have grown more challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic due to staffing shortages and other hindering factors.

Nursing is stable. It pays well, you tell yourself. So why do you dream of leaving?

I Want To Leave Nursing. What Else Can I Do? 

If you’re reading this article, it’s likely because you’re one of that 32%. More and more nurses experience burnout— 43.4% of former nurses cited burnout as a reason for their decision to leave.

Poor leadership and the emotional toll of working with sick and dying patients may be draining you. You may want a change because your family situation has changed and shift work no longer works with your lifestyle. Perhaps you want to develop and use skills outside of your current job responsibilities.

The most common career changes for nurses often include jobs in healthcare, but 69% of nurses wanting a job change want to leave patient care completely. So, what jobs are out there for nurses who don’t want to be nurses anymore?

From Nursing to Tech

Emily Rose Gama earned her nursing degree in 2017 knowing she wouldn’t spend her whole career working as a bedside nurse. After working on adult oncology and surgical floors in a hospital and as a pediatric home healthcare nurse, she began exploring her options. She started a PhD program to follow her Master’s degree, but found that it wasn’t the right fit. However, she discovered a love for data and analytics.

“I discovered that I loved the coding, the statistics, and those kinds of analytical skills,” she explained. “I knew that I wanted to pursue them but just needed to figure out how I was going to do that.”

Gama enrolled in the three-month immersive Data Science program at General Assembly through Adobe Digital Academy in 2022.

“The best thing for me was the immersive part—the fast-paced, everyday deep dive that created a sense of curiosity in me about the skills that I really, really wanted to explore,” she said. “I also really enjoyed the broad variation of projects that we got to do. The instructors made sure that each project we did was marketable and could be used in interviews.”

A month after graduating, Gama moved across the country with her husband to start her new career as a Nurse Informatician at HEALTH[at]SCALE Technologies. In her role, she’s helping apply AI and machine learning to technology that recommends providers and optimizes care delivery for patients.

“Now I’m in a job that actually combines healthcare and analytical and tech skills,” she shared. “My coworkers are very excited about my blend of skills and what it will bring.”

Like Gama, Karina Gashchenko wasn’t only interested in nursing as a career. She liked graphic design in college, but because of the recession in 2008, she chose nursing instead. Burned out by the staffing issues, supply issues, and influx of sick people with COVID-19, she started considering alternatives in 2021.

At the suggestion of a friend, she found a match in UX/UI Design, with a flexible program that allowed her to learn while still working at her nursing job.

Fast-Growing Jobs in Healthcare Technology

Nurses say that they value a safe environment, work-life balance, caring teammates, meaningful work, and flexibility in a new career.

There are a lot of jobs out there that could meet these requirements. But today, we’re going to focus on one area that checks all of these boxes: jobs in tech.

The tech sector is growing with no end in sight. Tech jobs offer competitive salaries, flexibility (hello remote work!), and give the ability for workers to contribute to solutions rather than working within a broken system.

Within tech, healthcare technology is growing rapidly: Grandview Research projected that the healthcare IT market will grow by 29% by 2030. Trends like telehealth, EHR (electronic health records), and clinical information systems will need professionals with direct healthcare experience (that’s nurses) to lead the healthcare tech revolution.

6 Alternative Careers for Nurses in Tech

What can you do next? Here are six good tech jobs for nurses to pursue along with what you need to get there.

Health Informatician/Nurse Informatician

What they do: Nurse informaticians are key in the emerging field of nursing informatics. They translate information between clinical and technical teams and systems. They analyze data and develop strategies for health IT procurement, implementation, and optimization.

What you already have: A bachelor’s degree in nursing, experience in a clinical setting.

What you need: Strong skills in data analytics and project management. Some employers require advanced degrees or certifications. A certificate in Data Analytics or Data Science will give you a competitive edge alongside your nursing experience.

Product Designer

What they do: Product designers create, test, and improve apps and websites. Within healthcare tech, they design apps, websites, or software for either patients or clinicians for healthcare delivery. As a nurse, your expertise is beneficial for both.

What you already have: A patient and clinical perspective to help you advocate for the end user.

What you need: A degree is required for some UX jobs. You’ll need to build skills and a portfolio in web and mobile design along with UX methodology, which you can get through a UX/UI Design certificate course.

Web Developer

What they do: Web developers build code to create websites, mobile apps, and other digital applications. Front-end developers create interfaces that people interact with while back-end developers build the data and systems needed for websites to function.

What you already have: Teamwork, attention to detail, problem-solving.

What you need: A firm grasp of at least one coding language and a portfolio showing your work. Common programming languages include Python, Java, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. To get up to speed fast, consider enrolling in a coding bootcamp.

Software Engineer

What they do: Software engineers build applications like web developers, but they have a deeper technical background and manage software development projects from start to end.

What you already have: Project management, attention to detail, problem-solving.

What you need: A firm grasp of multiple coding languages, fluency in multiple frameworks and tech stacks, and knowledge of Agile development workflows. The best way to get up to speed? Enroll in a bootcamp or certificate program.

Clinical Application Specialist

What they do: Clinical application specialists are responsible for training and supporting healthcare facilities on how to use healthcare tech, from software to imaging systems.

What you already have: Communication skills, problem-solving, experience in a clinical setting.

What you need: A nursing degree and license (varies by state). Strong technical and customer service skills.

Digital Marketing Specialist

What they do: Digital marketing specialists manage the strategy and execution for marketing strategies including social media, online ads, and website content. If you love being creative and generating visual or written content, this could be the right job for you. There’s also an important strategy and analytics component to this career path. Your health knowledge could be a good asset for a healthcare or consumer wellness/fitness company.

What you already have: Teamwork, communication skills, a degree.

What you need: A grasp of the principles of digital marketing, including paid search, SEO, social media, marketing analytics, and client relations. You may need to reskill and will need a portfolio to show examples of your work.

5 Steps To Start Your Career Transition From Nursing

1. Decide to invest in yourself

The first step to taking a career change is deciding to do it. This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to start fantasizing about yourself in a different career. It’s much harder to actually take steps toward making it happen. Verbalize your intentions to a friend, mentor, or significant other. Start a physical or virtual vision board and write down your top strengths and reasons for investing in yourself—whether it’s for better pay, a better lifestyle, or your family. When the journey gets hard, come back to your why to center you.

2. Explore career paths

Use this list and other research to explore different career paths and the typical responsibilities, environment, and challenges in those roles. For example, you can watch coding tutorials or videos on YouTube to see if they might interest you.

A common fear for career-changers before they switch careers is “what if I don’t like it?”. To get a sense of whether something will be a good fit, talk to people already in that job. Join industry groups, and reach out to people that you know personally or on LinkedIn to ask them about their work.

3. Assess your transferrable skills

We don’t have to tell you that nurses are practically superhumans. From empathy, adaptability, problem-solving, and crisis management, there’s not much you can’t do. Write down your top transferrable skills and think of examples of how you’ve put them into practice.

One of the top transferrable skills Gama brought from nursing was the analytical mindset of anticipating patient needs, staying organized, and being able to treat patients calmly and systematically in a crisis situation.

“Similarly, in data science, you have to take a lot of data and make a picture from it,” she said. “When emergencies are happening and the code breaks, you have to be able to understand all these different aspects and pull everything together into one streamlined workflow.”

For Gashchenko, the top skills she brought to UX/UI Design were people skills, empathizing with the end user, and collaborating across disciplines. As a nurse, she learned to let go of any bias to make nonjudgmental, critical decisions.

Once you have your top soft skills outlined, you can work on what technical skills you might need to sharpen to make your career move.

4. Reskill

For most jobs outside of nursing, you’ll need some kind of reskilling to learn a new skill, earn a credential, or help you build a portfolio. Whether it’s a bootcamp, class, or certificate, do your research to find a program that has strong instructor and peer support, a top-notch curriculum, and employer connections.

To get the most out of your curriculum, consider doing some reading and prep work ahead of time. Subscribe to some industry podcasts or newsletters or teach yourself the basics of any software you’ll be using, like Figma for UX/UI Design.

Consider the time investment and cost of reskilling: If you can’t take a pay cut, you’ll need to commit to a course outside of your shifts. If you’re already burning out, this could be difficult. Reducing your working hours, switching to PRN, or quitting your day job are alternative options to get to your dream tech job quicker.

5. Launch your job search

While you’re reskilling, start to put together assets for your job search such as a resume and projects for an online portfolio. Ask a friend, career coach, or mentor to review your resume and do a practice interview with you. If you have access to career services as an alumnus, make sure to use it.

While applying blind to jobs online is inevitable, supplement your search by networking. This doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds. Reach out to recruiters and hiring managers on LinkedIn to ask them questions about open jobs or let them know you’re interested. Take advantage of online industry groups or in-person meetups to make connections and learn the industry lingo.

Getting Out of Nursing: Taking The First Step

If all you’ve known is nursing for your career, it can be hard to think about doing something else. It takes a risk to make a change, but staying put is even riskier if you dread going to work or don’t feel fulfilled.

It’s never too late to learn new skills and break out of the scripted career narrative. Whether you want to stay in a healthcare-adjacent field or find your dream tech job that has nothing to do with healthcare, take the chance and invest in yourself.

Want to learn more? Download the ebook, “Landing Work You Love” to figure out which tech career path is right for you.

10 Steps to Break Into Tech – Real Stories from Real People (UK Edition)

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Getting into tech doesn’t have to be complicated. Nowadays, it’s common for people to change careers even if you don’t have a university degree. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly common for career changers to do online courses, part-time classes, or bootcamps to pivot into a new career.

Despite Brexit and the pandemic, UK’s tech industry is booming. According to last year’s Tech Nation Report, the number of unique tech jobs advertised in the UK outweighed that of other European countries by 259% on average.

UK employers are always looking for new tech talent — keep reading to discover our top 10 tips to break into tech without a university degree.

Tip #1: Your Transferable Skills are a Gold Mine

You’ve probably heard about transferable skills as someone looking to change careers. But what are transferable skills, and which are the most important?

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What is upskilling and what are the benefits?

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Digital transformation has created opportunities and challenges for corporate leaders. Ways of doing business have changed dramatically. Today, consumers want to engage and transact with brands digitally, which has led to massive investment in technology. Yet the workforce’s skills have not kept up at the same pace, leaving businesses playing catch up as they race to hire the right talent to meet consumers’ demand for modern experiences.

According to Statista, global investment in digital transformation is expected to nearly double from $1.8 trillion in 2022 to $2.8 trillion in 2025, which will only serve to widen this skills gap. As companies continue to struggle to find the right technical talent from external sources, they are increasingly turning to upskilling their existing workforces to fill needed roles.

What is upskilling?

Upskilling is when an employee learns new skills that enable them to advance in their career. For example, an individual contributor might learn data skills so they can be promoted into a management role. Upskilling shouldn’t be confused with reskilling, in which an employee learns new skills that enable them to transition into an entirely different role.

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How to Build a Successful Talent Development Strategy in 5 Easy Steps

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A successful talent development strategy is critical for businesses to remain competitive and bridge the skills gaps within their workforces. Today, the rapid pace of technology development and digital transformation has forced companies to be more nimble and creative with talent development. Gone are the days where learning and development consisted primarily of soft skills training, like people management and conflict resolution. Today, talent development teams must also ensure their workforce has the skills needed to compete in the digital economy. 

In the US alone, corporations spend nearly $180 billion annually on formal training programs. Yet, somehow, businesses still face a global talent shortage. Talent development programs can help address this by unleashing the full potential of a company’s existing workforce. 

This isn’t something businesses can think about in a silo. According to IBM, 120 million workers in the world’s largest economies may need to be retrained due to automation. If companies don’t plan for the future with innovative approaches to talent development, mass displacement of workers could occur—with serious economic ramifications. 

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One Way to Recession-Proof Education Investment? Work-based Learning

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Despite budget cutbacks and headlines warning of Big Tech’s hiring slowdown, overall employer demand for technical skills is still on the rise and projected to grow, with job postings across technical sectors still twice as high than any other fields.

But many workers are struggling to access the opportunities that put these in-demand jobs within reach. COVID-19 has driven the skills gap even wider, with nearly six in 10 U.S. workers expressing that a lack of skills prevented them from applying for a job they wanted in the last two years and countless employers complaining of a labor shortage. Automation and digitization are accelerating, and millions of low wage workers are at risk for displacement.

Resolving the global training deficit is a massive and complex undertaking – and while significant, meaningful work is underway, it cannot be accomplished without wide-scale public and private sector collaboration. As rising inflation wears away personal disposable income, and the college debt crisis reaches new heights, it’s clear the onus cannot be on individual workers to bankroll solutions. Instead, for an industry known for cutting edge innovation, a tried and true model is emerging as an effective tool: apprenticeships.

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Alumni Success Stories: How this GA Grad went from Farmer to UI/UX Designer Build Blog

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Ming Xuan Teng Alumni Portrait

Meet Ming Xuan🧑‍🎓, a proud GA User Experience Design graduate and successful UI/UX Designer. Read first-hand about her difficult but rewarding career change journey and see how General Assembly’s User Experience Design Immersive (UXDI) helped prepare her for a career in the UX Industry.

What were you doing before joining GA?

I was a farmer (farm specialist trainee) looking for full time opportunities but had little luck. I started taking up free online courses and learnt about UX. I later heard from my boyfriend that GA was offering an immersive course and, with his encouragement and support, I decided to take the leap of faith for a career switch.

What inspired you to decide to change careers and move into UX design specifically?

I have always been interested in design and found that UX was a great combination of art (design) and science (research). I was fascinated by how research could lead to designs which were both intuitive and aesthetic. 

What was your GA journey like?

My GA journey was really great! I had super fun classmates who were a joy to work (and play) with. Many of my classmates were already in the creative industry and were very willing to share tips and tricks, and discuss various topics. The instructional team was also very experienced in the field and were super supportive and helpful throughout the intense course.

How did you feel throughout this career transition?

I was very nervous quitting my previous position to enter this completely unrelated field and afraid that I won’t be able to pass the course. Through the duration and intensity of the course, I got more confident in my abilities and skills. 

When I graduated, I was faced with Imposter Syndrome and was very worried about not being able to land a job. A couple of us from class formed a support group and we just cheered each other on whenever any of us felt burnt out. 

As a UX Designer,  I find it most fruitful to see my designs slowly come to live and work through technical limitations with the developers. I look forward to seeing real users interacting with the products and further improving from there!

What advice would you give to someone who is keen to join a GA Course?

Do your research! Take up free online courses first to have a taste of what it’s like. If you like it and are ready to commit yourself to it, just take that leap of faith! It won’t be easy but “nothing worth having comes easy” right?

Alumni Success Stories: From Public Relations to UX Design

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Megan Cruickshank Portrait. UXDI GA Sydney.

Meet Megan Cruickshank🧑‍🎓, a proud GA User Experience Design graduate and now a successful Designer. Find out why she made the decision to join General Assembly’s User Experience Design Immersive (UXDI). She shared with us her learning journey, how she prepared for the course and what the transition to a new industry was like for her.

What were you doing before you came to GA?

I started my career in public relations and social media before I realised that what I wanted to be doing was more holistic problem solving – it never made sense to me to spend huge budgets to market products that (sometimes) were flawed! I felt like I was solving the wrong problem. 

What did you enjoy most about your course? 

I loved how practical the course was in replicating real working conditions – completing projects within constraints, rather than only learning UX within a perfect world. Susan was an amazing instructor and my biggest learning was how to trust my gut, learn the rules, and how to break them. I’m still friends with many of my fellow students even now and appreciated meeting new people who shared the same passion as me. 

What are you doing now professionally? 

I work as a Service & Strategic Designer at a Design Studio in Melbourne now – my favourite thing is always working on different projects and different problems – every day is so different. Personally I also love working as a generalist designer so I get to flex different muscles all the time and continue to learn constantly. 

What advice do you have for individuals who are looking to change careers?

Lean on your past experience and the soft skills you already have as much as you can, especially if like me, you don’t have any previous “design” experience on paper. Think about all of the things you can offer that other designers can’t and what your own unique value proposition is! Get good with telling your brand story to anyone who will listen.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

You get out of the course what you put in. Go above and beyond, listen to your instructors and career coaches. Everyone is here to help you win – the only person standing in your way is YOU! Decide you’re passionate about it and go all in. 

Feeling inspired to start your own path as a UX designer? Check out GA’s part-time and full-time UX design courses and introductory workshops. 

3 mistakes you’re making when setting DEI goals…and how to avoid them

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When it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), top global businesses are struggling to bridge the gap between aspirations and actions. They know building a truly inclusive work culture is essential when it comes to social expectations, political trends, and board and shareholder demands. But business leaders also understand the direct correlation between a strong DEI program and attracting–to retain–top diverse talent. So, many businesses have stated their goals and started working toward them. They have established employee resource groups. They have appointed an array of DEI executives. They have made public pledges to elevate diverse employees to the C-Suite level. They have set a timeline for building a more diverse workforce. In short, they have taken the first–and very necessary–steps.

While society is committed to advancing DEI in the workplace, logic and statistics show there is still much work to do–from ensuring better diverse representation to more equitable compensation. Only 4% of companies employ a female chair and a meager 3.2% of executive or senior-level managers at Fortune 500 companies are Black. When you dig into pay disparities, the statistics are even more disconcerting. For every dollar a white male employee makes, Black employees make 62 cents, and Latina employees just 54 cents. The facts, while stark, are hardly surprising. Businesses have been talking about building a more diverse workforce for years, but–for the most part–they have been stuck in neutral, spinning their well-intentioned wheels.

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Don’t Let These 5 Career Change Myths Hold You Back

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How old were you when you chose your career path? 

Likely it was some time in your early 20s — when you chose your university or college major, started looking for full time work, or maybe just felt societal pressure to make a decision about what career you wanted to pursue. 

Whenever it was, you’re likely a different person then you were at that age. You know more, there are new career options and your interests might have changed altogether. People evolve, and it’s okay for your career to evolve with you. 

But a big change comes with obstacles, both internally and externally. 

“I’m not good enough”

 “It’s financially impossible” 

“I don’t have the right connections”

…these are some of the lies we tell ourselves that get in the way of making a positive change. We get it, change is scary and hard. But you know what’s more scary? Staying in a job you don’t like. That’s why it’s time to put those anxieties aside.

In this blog, we’ll walk you through some common career change myths and actionable steps to help you overcome your fears.

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3 Things we Learned from HR Leaders at the Talent Acquisition Institute ‘22 Event

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The month of May is traditionally associated with new beginnings. In many parts of the world students graduate in May, moving onto their next level of education or into the workforce. How fitting, then, that last month, we attended the Talent Acquisition Institute event in Nashville, Tennessee from May 15th to 17th. Across the street from the conference at Vanderbilt University, just a few days earlier LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman delivered the university’s 2022 commencement speech.

The Talent Acquisition Institute event represented the opportunity for a new beginning for the over 70 talent acquisition leaders who had come together for the opportunity to share experiences with each other through this unfathomable era that has been dubbed the great resignation. Most importantly, it brought us all together to learn from some of the top talent acquisition minds in the industry about what we can–and must–do to adapt with these changing times and build a robust workforce of the future.

We learned so much from the leaders and my colleagues, not only about the shared challenges we are all facing when it comes to filling talent needs, but about the employment landscape as a whole. These are different times in talent acquisition, this is a different workforce, and it demands of us a different approach.

Here are three great takeaways from the Talent Acquisition Institute Event:

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