It is possible to educate yourself while working full-time and beginning a completely new career, if you are willing to put in the work. 34 year old Frey Clante did just that and after 10 years as a train driver, he began his new job as an IT developer in March 2018.
- I’m very humble facing the task and I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little bit excited and had butterflies in my stomach.
An old dream
Frey Clante is the type of person, who cannot sit still. He runs a little business in his basement, working on electronics, and during his childhood, the family computer was taken apart and tinkered with in all sort of ways.
Frey completed a degree programme Electronics Technician early on and next to his job as a train driver, he attempted to complete a full-time degree at The School of Engineering.
Full-time work and full-time studying proved too much, however, and it was not until a co-worker at DSB told him about the possibility of part-time studying, while working full-time, that his home life with two children and working life fell into place.
-I didn’t think I had the time. It didn’t seem possible, because I thought my co-worker was talking about a full-time study programme. But, as he explained further, I learned that you could study part-time, says Clay Frante, whose colleague would not leave him alone, until he had applied for admission to the programme in Information Technology.
- And I haven’t regretted it since, says Frey Clante.
A job interview
When DSB in November 2017 were looking for a new developer, Frey Clante took a chance, well knowing he would not get the job because he had not yet completed his degree. However, an interview would help him get a better sense of what was required for the position.
He did not get the job and he was not invited to an interview. Instead, he called DSB, when he received his rejection letter and explained the reason for his application; to learn more about what was required to get the job, so that he could be better prepared.
His explanation resonated with the woman on the other end of the phone, who asked him about his experience and skills, before inviting him to an informal interview.
- I accepted the invitation and she made it very clear to me that it wouldn’t be a job interview, says Frey Clante, who had not given up hope to get the position. He was right, because that conversation turned into a job interview after just a short while.
- And it only made me want it more, says Frey Clante, who after several interviews and tests could finally look forward to working full-time in IT, starting in the Spring 2018.
An active approach
Over the years Frey Clante has obtained several skills through self-study. He calls himself an autodidact, but that does not make a formal education redundant, he says.
Partly, because of the diploma. The ECTS points and an official title are good to have, and then there is another ting; learning a specific skill.
It is one thing to be inspired by watching a professional programmer working, but quite another to work on your own skills.
- Being an autodidact, I had some really bad habits, before starting my studies. But when you have to work for an organisation, you have to do things properly, so your colleagues don’t have to clean up your work after you, so to speak, he says.
However, Frey Clante does not think the degree is enough on its own. It is important to have a professional interest, self-study, working on your own projects, and just in general having an active and curious approach to your job.
His advice to other students is clear:
- You have to want it and don’t think, just because you take one class, that you might be an expert. You have to put in a lot of work, he says.
Learn more about the new IT study programme, which Frey Clante completed: AP Degree in Information & Communication Technology.
*This degree programme is only available in Danish.