Valeena Pinnock finds safe haven in ICT sector after pandemic blow
Valeena Pinnock

Valeena Pinnock made the transition to the ICT sector in 2021 after the pandemic led to the closure of a hotel she was working at in the United States.

According to Pinnock, who had been in the hospitality sector for more than a decade, the pandemic provided an opportunity for her to try something new, noting that she specifically sought out an industry that would be resilient to economic and pandemic-related shocks.

“I was working in the hospitality and service industry for over 12 years, then the pandemic hit, I lost my job. And I said to myself the next career field I enter into must be more pandemic resistant,” she said.

“I didn’t really know what I was going to do. I just knew that it had to be something that, you know, in the event something like this were to occur again on a worldwide scale, I wouldn’t have to worry about job security,” she added.

The Holy Childhood alumni shared that she had flirted with entrepreneurship, including trying her hands at dropshipping (selling products online) and a restaurant with a Christian concept before deciding to pursue a career in IT.

“I started to look more into IT because I said, ‘I like computers, I've always found them fascinating so, let me see if this can really hold my attention’. In January 2021, I started studying. I think I got certified like three months after that. And then that's pretty much how I got started,” she said.

“When the pandemic hit, no one was really hosting face-to-face classes or anything. So pretty much, I just did courses online and I got myself certified. I did the exams at the exam centre. And I have about six certifications under my belt,” she added.

Pinnock also used the occasion to break down some myths about the ICT space, noting that there is a perception that one has to be a genius to learn IT.

“I've always thought that you have to be a genius to work in IT- and clearly, I am not a genius - and you also have to have a degree. Those are myths. Everyone should understand that once it is that you like IT or you like the technology space you can get yourself certified; you can self-study in terms of pacing yourself,” she said.

“These courses, you can take them every three months and that carries more value than an actual degree. A degree covers a wide range of subjects, and it is not really that in depth. But if you do a course that certifies your knowledge, you can become a subject matter expert, and that's more valuable in the IT space,” she pointed out.

Using her collection of courses, Pinnock, who also holds a degree in hospitality management, found work in 2023 as an IT professional in the BPO (business process outsourcing) space.

Pinnock shared that working within the BPO sector has afforded her the opportunity to further deepen her skills, as her company has been supportive of her development, adding that she is consistently taking new courses.

While the Information Technology Support Analyst wants to see more women entering the space, as she believes there are plenty of opportunities for everyone in the field, she cautions that the sector is constantly changing and requires persons who are interested in continuous learning and development.

Denieca Brown , Observer Online Writer

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