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Tim moves from managing projects to programming computers

When his employer went out of business, Tim Mills lost his role as an IT Project Manager, making him take stock of his career.

"I worked as an IT manager for a national company that, unfortunately, permanently closed in the middle of 2021. Before that, I'd had other project management roles in IT services, including IBM, for 13 years," explains Tim.

"So I thought maybe this was the time for me to do something different, and when I reflected on my next move, I decided to study programming, as it's something I'd wanted to do since my childhood."

After searching for available courses, Tim chose TAFE Queensland because he learns better in person.

"I can do it online, but I'm not interested in that as I've done it before, and I prefer the classroom interaction. At TAFE's Loganlea campus, I have access to teachers, other students, and facilities that help accelerate my learning."

Helping the 54-year-old kick off his study journey to relaunch his career was JobTrainer funding, which significantly reduced the costs to study the Diploma of Information Technology (Advanced Programming) (ICT50220/107313E) at TAFE Queensland's Loganlea campus.

JobTrainer funding is the Federal and State Governments program that assists eligible school leavers, young people and job seekers in entering high priority skills areas, like information technology, by enabling them to complete selected qualifications at no or low cost.

"The JobTrainer funding made my decision to study easier. It meant I didn't have to take on a part-time job, it helped pay for my commute from Capalaba to campus four days per week, and I was able to buy a new laptop, which has made becoming a student easy and accessible."

Tim is relishing his studies with TAFE Queensland and is thrilled at the level of support he's getting from his teachers and classmates alike, as it's giving him confidence that he made the correct decision.

"Studying with TAFE Queensland is a great way to learn. I'm around like-minded classmates who are just as passionate as I am in a wonderfully collaborative environment."

Tim also enjoys the learning environment that the teachers create, which sees him writing code, checking it over and helping him get the correct result.

"I'm learning in a classroom with supportive and flexible teachers who blend programming theory and practice, helping us to learn new computer languages as we go. So I feel I'm getting the tangible programming skills to compliment my existing management skills while getting qualified," Tim said.

Having previously managed projects and people, Tim's focus is now on finding a job in computer programming, writing code and seeing what's possible from the other side of the industry.

"After my project management career ended, it was the perfect opportunity to retrain and do something different. So far, I'm not feeling overwhelmed, I get plenty of support, and I'm looking forward to an exciting career change," Tim said.

"Having worked in the IT industry for most of my professional life, I'm excited to be re-entering the workforce in an area that I'm passionate about."

"I'm pretty confident that this qualification will give me what I need to relaunch my career as a programmer and start as a junior developer or as a graduate developer and allow me to figure out my career pathway from there," he said.

Tim has some sage advice for anyone in a similar situation to his or who is just thinking about studying.

"Consider all of the options, and don't be afraid to ask questions. I emailed questions to the TAFE person in charge of the course, and he wrote back, answering everything," Tim said.

"Do other research and look at what's available. There are lots of courses at TAFE in particular. It just depends on what you want to do."