#LifeChangingConnections with Carlie Hamilton | Never too late for a career pivot
Something that is very important to us at Hunt & Co. is sharing the career stories and journeys of the life-changing connections our team make every day. After all, no two career paths are ever the same. Welcome to another Hunt & Co.’s #LifeChangingConnections feature with Software Engineer, Carlie Hamilton.
After studying Education at University, Carlie Hamilton started her teaching career as an English Language Teacher in Japan before taking the leap to build her family and then turned her focus to the software space and working at a number of reputable companies as a Software Engineer including Stacktrace, Work180, ThinkTilt and now… Atlassian. A passionate advocate for diversity in technology, she mentors women through various programs including She Codes Australia and Muses Code and has even spoken on a panel for our sister company, Women in Digital.
Now bear with us as this #LifeChangingConnections story is the tale of two Carlie/Carlys. We have Carlie Hamilton, the heroine in this story and her trusted recruiter sidekick/cheerleader, our very own Carly Shearman.
Carlie and Carly initially connected on LinkedIn primarily for their work in improving diversity in tech before eventually catching up face-to-face. While Carlie was happy in her role overall, she had that niggling feeling that she was ready for career progression and to take that next step. She just didn’t know where to start or what opportunities what available in the Brisbane tech scene beyond what was available on Seek. And on top of that being a full-time Software Engineering balancing a full-time mum workload, her days were already chock-a-block meaning that ‘find next dream job’ kept slipping down the list.
That’s when she started working with our Technical Recruiter, Carly Shearman, to explore new opportunities.
In less than 2 weeks, Carlie had multiple offers on the table and ultimately, signed her employment contract working at ThinkTilt, a user-friendly form and checklist builder for Jira. ThinkTilt was then acquired by global tech giant Atlassian and the rest is history.
We were thrilled to chat to her about her fascinating career pivots, career in software and professional development advice others interested in a career pivot to follow a tech pathway.
Tell us, how did you end up working in this industry?
Previously I was a teacher, and then a stay-at-home mum. When I was looking to reenter the workforce, I knew I wanted a change. At the same time, I coded a bot that basically mocked one of my friends, as a joke. That made me realise how much software engineering ticked a lot of the boxes on my perfect career choice; such as problem-solving, lifelong learning, and being able to listen to metal music loudly without having to talk to anyone.
How did you end up in your current role?
I was feeling a bit stagnant in my then-current role (but overall very happy), I was approached by someone with a wonderful name so I couldn’t refuse her. As typical for people with this name, I was really impressed with the way Carly listened to what I wanted and needed in a job, and she found a couple of really awesome places to interview at. Out of all of them, one was a great fit for me, and a place I felt I could grow. Then, only a few short months later that team was acquired by Atlassian.
What is it about your current role that made you transition?
I still feel like I am in the beginning phases of my career, so I was searching for a place where I felt like I could learn a lot and grow a lot. I also loved the close-knit team and the feeling of shaping an emerging company – aspects that have been thrown out the window with Atlassian! Well, we still have a great close-knit team.
How did you enjoy your experience overall working with Hunt & Co.?
I couldn’t be happier with my experience. Apart from people with names you can trust, I loved the way I was listened to and presented with potential jobs that really fit with what I wanted and needed in my next career move. I felt there was real care and attention to detail, I felt well looked after.
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Success is not the absence of mistakes.
What is one tip or word of advice you would give to someone looking for a new role?
A tip that applies to everyone but is especially aimed at women – you are valuable! So apply for that job, even if you don’t (think you…) tick all the boxes.
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about your role?
Everyone googles. It’s more important to know how to look for information (and to use what you find), rather than doing everything from memory.
After following the conventional pathway of becoming a school teacher, what made you decide to follow a different pathway?
Why be conventional when you can be unconventional? In all seriousness, while I love teaching (and thus love to mentor others in software engineering), there were a few things that made school teaching not a perfect match for me. So I took what I knew I loved from that career, and learnt from the things that didn’t work, and I found software engineering ticked all the boxes.
What advice do you have for people with a passion they want to explore later in life but don’t know where to start?
I know it can feel scary to pursue any passion, let alone “later in life”, but I believe if something feels scary it probably means you are on the right path. I also believe that you are more likely to regret the things you didn’t try, rather than the things you do. So, just start, one step at a time.
What steps should someone take if they’re not fully fulfilled in their career and need a change?
Life’s too short to live unfulfilled. Sometimes it can be hard to pinpoint what is making you feel unfulfilled, but something’s gotta change, and you have the power to start a change. You don’t have to know exactly what will work, but whatever you try doesn’t have to be the only thing you try. So just experiment. Try something new, and if that experiment fails, learn from it and start a new experiment. Probably somewhere along the way you may realise that you are working towards a more fulfilling life, and that in itself feels good.
Thanks so much to Carlie Hamilton for chatting to us. Don’t forget to connect with Carlie Hamilton on LinkedIn.