Senan Quinn, support engineer, Amazon Web Services
Senan Quinn, support engineer, Amazon Web Services. Image: Amazon

From accountancy to Amazon: Making the leap from finance to tech

22 Aug 2017

Not everyone who ends up working in tech started out that way. For some, the career journey can start somewhere completely different.

The number of times the average person will change career is increasing. With so many new jobs developing, particularly in the tech sector, it’s no wonder people are starting to upskill in things such as computer science.

That’s exactly what Senan Quinn did. After following in his father’s footsteps by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in commerce at University College Dublin, Quinn became an accountant.

However, after a few years of working in accountancy, Quinn did some freelance web design work before deciding to go back to college.

“I realised that accountancy wasn’t for me and I wanted to do something new,” he said. “I always had an interest in computers, so I wanted to pursue that interest and make a career from it.”

Even though he had the interest, Quinn knew switching careers would be a challenge when he didn’t have any qualifications. “Trying to jump straight into the industry and get an interview anywhere without a qualification proved impossible, so I decided to do a conversion course.”

Quinn went to Dublin Business School (DBS) to obtain a higher diploma in computer science. “From the outset, I knew that the course would be intense and this was indeed the case, providing me with constant new challenges,” he said. “Personally, I love learning new technologies and ideas, and, on this course, there was no shortage.”

Quinn chose DBS because he had heard good things from a friend who completed a similar course. He liked the sound of the subjects and he found the work placement section of the course to be ideal.

“On completion of this course, I had a higher diploma in computer science, a huge project and six months of on-the-job experience under my belt. Following on from my placement, I joined Amazon Web Services [AWS] and could not be happier.”

At AWS, Quinn said no two days are the same. He added that being an EC2 Linux cloud support engineer gives him the opportunity to work with a wide variety of technologies. “It also gives me the chance to deliver training, lead workshops, conduct interviews and more.”

For anyone who is thinking about changing their career, even if it feels like a drastic leap, Quinn’s main piece of advice is to go for it. “Talk to some people from the field you’re interested in, either people you know or at a careers fair,” he said.

“See what kind of jobs are available, what kind of experience or qualifications are required, what other opportunities it will open for you, and decide if it’s something you’re interested in pursuing.”

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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