Domovská stránka » Kariéra ve STEM » CAREER SWITCH – FINDING SUCCESS IN IT

Barclays Prague is a unique place. Unique in the Barclays world and unique in the world of tech and development. We are more than a bank—and more than a group of colleagues.

We are a tech-first financial organization, a community of skilled developers. And we are passionate about the future. Our work has a global impact, and we face some truly inspiring opportunities and challenges every day – developing technology that counts. We are a talented, impressive and competitive team of developers united by our passion for technology and drive to produce world-leading solutions. That is why we are admired and respected by colleagues in Barclays tech globally.

We interviewed three colleagues, Zuzana Franova, Amanda Lynn Jenys, and Irina Rurac. Their stories will possibly inspire the next generation to start an IT career or transit to IT successfully.


Software Engineer

After ten years in marketing, Zuzana switched careers and started as a Technology Apprentice at Barclays. She is currently part of the Graduate program, working as a C# developer on Prague’s Beowulf Risk Engine system. She is also a core member of the bank’s LGBTQ+ focused Employee Resource Group (ERG) Spectrum and, in her free time, plays cricket and volunteers in a buddy program.


Salesforce Business Analyst

Amanda joined as a Foundation Apprentice in the fall of 2021, and she is the Lead of a Senior Management Application and sits with the development team in Prague. She is an active member of the ERG Spectrum, and in her spare time, she plays for the Czech women’s cricket team.


Software Tester

Irina joined the Convertible Bonds team in February 2023, having an accelerated start as a Software Tester, and it started to be her second passion. In her spare time, she performs opera at various events in the Czech Republic and abroad.

What prompted your decision to start new in IT?

Zuzana: I was always amazed by science and technology, but when my parents had been deciding whether to sign me up for a math- or languages-focused class, they went for a sure hit. Many opportunities opened up at that time if you knew foreign languages. My proficient level of English and my analytical skills (together with my marketing degree) landed me a job in the marketing department at Adidas straight after university. It was a great experience, and I got to try several roles in several locations over time.

After eight years with the brand, I wanted to try something new, so I joined a marketing agency and started to work on events and strategic communications. That’s when the COVID-19 pandemic came into the picture. No clients wanted to spend marketing budgets, and even though the agency was trying to protect its employees, they had to reduce our working hours and, consequently, our salaries. There I was, sitting at home with plenty of free time and little money.

FOTO: Jakub Krakora

Benefits at Barclays? Sure!

Some of my friends suggested I try programming. I tried a couple of free learning sources and found them exciting and fun! I immediately remembered how I enjoyed logical riddles and math when I was little. Once I started to explore the IT world more, I discovered that the tech community is exciting and supportive, and I wanted to be part of it.

Amanda: Truthfully, I never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I didn’t exactly know what I wanted to do, but I knew it wasn’t for me. I was burnt out from teaching English and couldn’t keep it up much longer. There were options to use my degree in international relations and start working towards my dream to be a diplomat, but with two little people at home, it just didn’t feel like the right time.

I never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.

FOTO: Jakub Krakora

By luck, my husband shared an ad for programming courses for beginners and career switchers. It seemed like an excellent idea, and I went for it because why not? I signed up for a free trial boot camp and enjoyed it. I finished the weekend course thinking, “I could make a career of this!” Fast forward a few years, and I have done precisely that!

Irina: I have been toying with pursuing a different line of work for a long time, but the pandemic made me consider that as a good plan. Many of my colleagues, wonderful and talented personalities from theatres worldwide, suffered a problematic cultural collapse. We were used to dedicating everything to this profession, and at one point, the inability to perform frustrated us.

FOTO: Jakub Krakora

I knew that I needed a plan B, where my voice would not be so in demand, but at the same time, it should be an exciting job for me with the opportunity to progress. Music is the food of my soul, but my family’s needs were more important. So, I started studying and taking the necessary courses to become a software tester.

What would you say to women who believe a 180-degree career switch is impossible?

Zuzana: Nothing is impossible. Switching a career will become the new norm. My grandparents stayed at one employer most of their lives. My parents changed employers a few times but stayed within one field. My generation and the generation after us will probably switch fields several times. At the start of my career, it was considered suspicious if someone stayed at one employer for less than 2–3 years. Now, it is okay to try various things, wait for a few months or pick your employer based on shared values.

Amanda: I would ask why they think a career shift into IT is impossible. This question would elicit dramatically different answers as we go from person to person. Nevertheless, for every response, we can find a strong counterargument. It’s only impossible if you let yourself believe it’s impossible. Like with anything new, it requires a leap of faith. Believe in yourself, your abilities, your ambitions, and go for it!

Irina: I would very much like to inspire women and advise them not to hesitate or be afraid because fear is limiting and hindering one’s personal growth. Accept that it is not easy, and someone may face many difficult moments, but all that is an integral part of this transition process, and I assure you that it is worthwhile. This does not mean a complete switch from your current career – no, it just enriches your path with another beautiful opportunity where you can grow and have the same joy while meeting wonderful people.

It is essential to take this switch step by step, continuously focusing on building your knowledge and staying up to date with the latest developments, thus maximizing your contribution to the team’s success.

Having a good team around you that continuously challenges and helps you grow helps. That is why I changed my first IT company; I was seeking something more than a comfortable position, a constant opportunity to grow.

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