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Making a Career Switch Within the Same Company

Marketing Lead

You’ve been working at the same company for a while now, you enjoy the culture, you identify with the company’s values, and you adore your team – but something’s missing. Your job doesn’t excite you anymore. Is it because you don’t see room for development any longer? Or maybe because you don’t see yourself in the same field anymore? Now, what to do in a situation like that? Well, if you work at a place that cares about you as an employee, sees your value, and wants to see you happy and thrive, you’ll probably have the option to make a career switch – without switching the company.

Making a career switch inside your company is becoming more and more common – especially if you work in the software development industry. Our Business controller, Dolores, is the perfect example of this. She joined COBE as a Quality assurance specialist in 2018, and after two years of reporting every bug possible, she decided to take her career in a different direction – controlling. 

Keep reading to find out why she decided to take a step into the unknown and what her career switch process looked like. 

Meeting our interviewee

Dolores, tell us about your beginnings at COBE.

  • My career at COBE started four years ago when I applied for a QA specialist position. I was the first person to join Nikolina, the QA lead. Over the years, our team grew and I’ve gained more and more knowledge – not only in the quality assurance field, but in team building and organization too. I worked on the team development process with her and witnessed the growth from just two people to a strong team of six. Working in QA taught me how to be a team player, how to develop good interpersonal relationships, and how to be a mentor. It brought me a lot of technical knowledge too, which I find very useful in my current role. And even though two years might not be much to some, I can truly say that I’ve learned the most in these two years. I feel like it has built a base for my next role – Business controller. 

Find the fire within

Now, when did the initial interest in Business controlling appear?

  • I’m not sure if there was a particular moment when I realized it, I just remember thinking how working in quality assurance doesn’t fulfill me anymore. And it didn’t have anything to do with the QA role itself, because even after two years, I still had so much left to learn. I just needed a new challenge – I needed to feel the fire within again. This is when my interest in business operations intensified, and after exploring my options and diving deep into the topics of controlling and analysis, I finally found my fire again.  

Would you say your interest in business operations led you to your new role? 

  • Yes, absolutely. When I decided it was time for a change, the first thing I did was look for all roles related to business management in software development. This is when I came across the business analyst and controller roles. As I continued my research, a new fire in me was awakened. Pretty soon I was sure that this was something I wanted to pursue, even though we didn’t have a Business team at COBE Osijek at that time. 

No other company will give you the opportunity like your own

Making a career switch isn’t something you see or do every day. When did you decide to talk to someone about it? 

  • I remember this was happening right about our half-year feedback so I decided that that it was as good a time as any to propose my idea to the management team. I started by explaining how I wasn't feeling fulfilled in the role I was in anymore, and I finished by telling them how I wanted to start a new department at COBE Osijek (which we would all benefit from, hopefully). Honestly, I didn’t know what type of reaction to expect, but negative feedback didn’t even cross my mind. This is because I’ve always had the freedom to express my thoughts and interests at COBE. Here, we’re always being pushed to grow and take on new opportunities. And that’s exactly what this was – a new opportunity. 

You told me earlier that our management actually had other plans for you – they wanted to promote you to the QA team lead position, right? Did this information affect your decision in any way?

  • I never thought about becoming the QA lead, so I felt honored. And even though I could’ve become a team lead, I was still more interested in starting my business controlling journey. It might sound crazy to some, but I preferred starting from scratch and being a junior again if it meant that I’d be doing something that I’m deeply interested in. My decision surprised them but in the best way possible. This was the first time I showed real confidence in a decision, and I think they recognized it and were proud of me. 

Did you, at any point, think about looking for a business-related position elsewhere? 

  • No. I loved (and still do) everything about COBE. It was just a career switch that I needed.

Prepare yourself for hard work

Now, what did the career switch process look like? Do you feel like it was more complicated since you were starting a whole new department at our Osijek office?  

  • It was a lot of work in the beginning. I was still booked as a QA specialist on a few projects, so, obviously, I couldn’t leave those overnight and just take over new responsibilities. I was also still learning and researching about my new position, educating myself, and working with the team on developing the best possible process for this new role. So it had been a busy few months until we straightened everything out, and until I completely changed my career direction. 

When did everything get real for you? How long until your role officially changed?

  • There was a lot of going back and forth in the beginning – from trying to define my responsibilities to making sure those responsibilities don’t overlap with the ones our project managers have. I started out as a Business analyst (BA) and the first time everything got real to me was when we sold BA as a service. This was when I was still trying to figure everything out and find my own place in the project. Fast forward to a couple of months later, when my close cooperation with our project management and product ownership teams issued a complete team reorganization. This resulted in me leaving the Business analyst role behind and tackling the sales and financial side of the business instead. It’s when I began my Business controller journey. And I couldn’t be happier about it. 

What made the career switch easier?

  • A supportive team. This whole process of creating a new position and defining responsibilities that go with it is hard. A lot of times I found myself lost in what I was doing, but having the support and educational opportunities COBE provides is what made the switch easier.

What does your role take on today?

  • I overview all ongoing projects making sure they’re profitable – that includes budgeting, forecasting, reporting, tracking expenses, etc. In the beginning, I was also tackling sales, but as soon as we realized it was too much work, we hired another person. And then another. Now we’re a team of three, each handling their own responsibilities, but still working as a team. In the meantime, I got promoted to the lead position of this newly formed team, and everything’s been going really well.

Besides a support system, what has helped you thrive in the position you’re in?

  • Having a mentor (actually multiple ones) has been the most important factor during this career switch. I’ve gained both knowledge and motivation by working closely with the finance departments in Munich and Osijek. They are the ones that gave me a push in the right direction and had my back every step of the way. Educating myself was equally important – I’ve been reading, researching, and attending different webinars and seminars ever since I made the decision. I have also attended a sales academy and my plan for the future is to finish an additional controlling specific course. 

Two years in, would you say that this was a good decision? 

  • Probably one of the best decisions I made since starting my career. Sure, there were ups and downs and days when I couldn’t say I knew what I was doing. But in the end, I wouldn’t change a single thing about it – this was my journey and I’m very proud of it.

Are you thinking about a career switch too? 

What would you advise to someone who wants to make a career switch? 

  1. If you want something, don’t think it’s going to happen overnight – good preparation is half the battle. Explore all possibilities, educate yourself about the idea and create a plan if necessary on how you’ll turn the idea into reality. Sometimes it’s better to take smaller steps than to jump straight into something. 
  2. If you’re scared, that’s not necessarily a bad feeling. It means you care.
  3. Never doubt yourself, or your decision. Forget about that voice in your head that says “You can’t do it”. The truth is you can – you just need to be persistent and stand your ground. 
  4. Making mistakes is how you learn, don’t worry about it so much. 
  5. Surround yourself with people who have more knowledge and experience than you and learn from them. 

And that’s a wrap! Dolores, thank you for sharing your story. I love seeing you thrive in your new role and can’t wait to see what the future holds for you. Only great things, of course. 

If you have any questions for Dolores, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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About the author

Katarina is the Marketing Lead at COBE. She loves creating content, showing her creativity, and bringing new ideas to life. In her free time, she's either reading, watching The Office, or learning the art of kickboxing.


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