From developer to deputy director of learning

Steven Li, deputy director of learning for ICT and maths

Steven Li, career changer 

Steven Li graduated with a degree in computing mathematics and built a successful career in industry. So what made him decide to leave and become a computing teacher?

“After 13 years in industry with four different companies ranging from small to large, I didn’t feel the role was as enjoyable or rewarding anymore. I did some work experience at schools and I relished working with pupils and the sense of reward I got whilst supporting them. It’s worth noting that teaching was never in my career plan!” says Steven, who is now deputy director of learning for ICT and maths at Bluecoat Academy.

Steven had a varied career in the computing industry – from software development to project management – with experience of working on projects for clients based around the world.

He further explains why he wanted the change: “I enjoyed my earlier roles and the companies that I worked at, but I sometimes found that I wasn’t recognised or valued. The market also became more competitive and volatile, so project deadlines often became more unrealistic to secure customers and we had to meet tighter budgets. The sense of job security worsened after I had been with two companies for over four years, and major changes were announced with no warning. This had a major effect on my commitment to the industry and pushed me to consider a different career path – which I do not regret at all and I’m thankful for.”

Since leaving, Steven’s career in teaching has gone from strength to strength. He was made an assistant head of ICT just two years after his newly qualified teacher (NQT) year, progressing to his current role soon after.

“Becoming a teacher has been the best decision ever. Teaching is so much more satisfying. In teaching, the job becomes your reward and the salary is almost secondary. Though in hindsight, I do not regret my career in computing – it has contributed to my teaching skills, knowledge and experience.

“The financial support available is also good, but the primary reason must be that you want to teach, as no amount of money will compensate for the commitment that you make once you become a teacher.”

Many people succeed in retraining as teachers every year. Applying for teacher training is easier than you may think. Tax-free bursaries and dedicated advisers are available to support you in making the career transition. Register with us for support and assistance to help you begin your new career.