Changing careers: How I became a designer

By Silja Sipilä, Service Design TraineeJun 21, 2022Read time 3 min

Have you ever felt stuck in a job that’s clearly not for you? Our Service Design Trainee Silja shares her journey to Wunderdog with some advice to give: it’s never too late to change careers. Having gone from retail sales to team leading and sales management, she discovered her vocation for Service Design at a later stage in life. Radical career changes can be uncertain, but also rewarding. And we’re strongly vouching for that.

My story starts 15 years ago, at the time to choose my studies after high school. I didn’t have a clear view of what I wanted to do, so I ended up applying to a hairdresser school to buy some time. Right from the beginning, I felt like it wasn’t for me, and shortly after, I went into retail sales. In less than 4 years, I went from a curious part-time employee to managing the visual merchandising of my department, and, eventually, team lead. Team leading was joyful. However, I started having doubts: Was that all? What else was there?

Don't be afraid of changes

If you start wondering what you really want for your life and career, it’s probably time to reconfigure yourself. This is what I did. For 2 years, I moved my role into different industries, exploring sectors such as Fintech or Advertising. I approached team leading from new angles, such as sales development. This sparked my interest in customer-centric design, due to its relevance to company strategy. 

In spring 2020, I saw a social media ad from the Institute of Design and Fine Arts. They were promoting their programs on social media. I checked them, it clicked, and I applied. About two years later, I was an Experience and Service Design student with all the answers to my career path questions. A lesson? Getting too comfortable might make you miss out on great things.

Why open applications are key

Traineeships at a certain age may feel vertiginous, but they are an important step to achieving your career change goal. Wunderdog wasn’t looking for interns, but nevertheless, I applied, sending an open application to the Design Lead. It worked, and two interviews later, I became a Service Design trainee. The training has given me competencies to share with my clients, relevant feedback, autonomy, and a chance to get my hands dirty with work. And the best thing: two months into it, I got hired! So don’t hesitate to try –the result is always better than not doing it.

Through my studies and training at Wunderdog, I’ve gained the competencies and knowledge that I now, as a consultant, can share with my clients.

The future is now

Most companies sell their culture highly and promise future employees amazing work experiences. Some succeed, some don't. At Wunderdog, my experience has been very positive: from being welcomed with open arms, to people approaching me with interest and curiosity, to equality efforts. There’s a place for us women in IT, and I encourage all women to seek it!

A few years ago I didn't have all the pieces together, but where I am today, is a goal accomplished. In short, if you have a dream, just believe in yourself and go for it - it's never too late.

Planning a career change? At Wunderdog there are plenty of opportunities to take the leap. Embrace change. Grow with us.