When I tell people that I’m an engineer-turned-marketer, I receive a lot of questions and a fair share of surprised reactions. What made you change careers? Was the transition difficult? Why marketing?
Honestly, I made the decision because I wanted to focus on my family. Being an engineer in the oil and gas sector, I spent up to 28 days at a time working offshore, sometimes with only a few days break in between before I had to fly off to another rig. 12-hour shifts were pretty normal and on days when we were drilling, it could even stretch up to 18 hours a day.
So I took a leap of faith, I quit my job to pursue a career in marketing and by some stroke of luck found myself working at a B2B Marketing-as-a-Service company called 2X. While it did take a lot of learning on my part coming from a totally different background, I’m surprised that there are actually a lot of similarities between engineering and marketing—and I turned these similarities into skills that helped me excel in my career as a Senior Marketing Operations Specialist here.
3 Ways Marketing Upgraded the Skills I Learned as an Engineer
1. Turning data into actionable insights
As an engineer, part of my job involved data analysis specifically for well testing. When we flow the well, we collect a huge amount of data—reservoir pressure, oil flow rate, and flowing temperature, to name a few—and my responsibility was to analyze the data and make sure everything was operating at safe and optimal conditions.
This set a solid foundation for me when I first started in marketing, I was already familiar with data processing, visual analytics, and spreadsheets. And when it comes to data, regardless of the industry, you have to be very vigilant and have an eye for detail.
In the context of well testing, how I interpreted that data was pretty straightforward. When the numbers hit certain thresholds, I’ll call for a shut-in and we’ll conduct safety checks before continuing with the drilling. In marketing, however, I quickly discovered that there is a whole other level of critical thinking required when you’re trying to understand the data.
Essentially, we’re trying to understand our prospect’s behavior better through the data and present that information as valuable insights to our clients. It was a challenge trying to put myself in the prospect’s shoes, but in doing so I’ve managed to gain an important perspective of what it means to be data-driven.
2. Owning the process rather than following the process
On an oil rig, a lot of what we do are governed by processes. Safety is a top priority and there is no shortage of potential hazards, which is why we have to be very careful about following the right procedures and processes at every step.
Because being process-driven was so deeply ingrained within me, it gave me an edge when I started learning about the different types of marketing technology that we use. For example, I was able to map out the steps to create an email campaign, know who is involved in each of those steps, and visualize how it comes together as a whole.
This is where marketing diverges from engineering in this aspect. When I was an engineer, it was about following processes but as a marketer, the emphasis lies in owning processes. It helps that you can follow the steps to a T as it minimizes errors, but what’s more important is understanding how it works so you are properly equipped to solve any problems that may pop up and improve existing processes as you see fit.
3. Balancing efficiency with return on investment
Another similarity I see between engineering and marketing is finding the most efficient way to accomplish your goals. In engineering, for instance, we’re constantly trying to optimize oil production efficiency so we’re always looking at the variables and creating different reservoir simulation models.
It’s the same concept in marketing. As marketers, we’re always testing and optimizing our campaigns: finding ways to reduce cost-per-lead, increase click-through rates, and improve lead conversions. No two clients are alike, in fact no two campaigns are alike—so every day brings about different challenges and opportunities to improve upon what you’ve done before. Ultimately, it’s about generating a healthy return on investment from your marketing efforts.
The 2X Culture
My experience as an engineer definitely gave me the right skills to kick-start my career in marketing. However, it’s the people I work and interact with that makes me enjoy my job in 2X.
I adapted very fast to the working environment here thanks to my team leads who took me under their wing from day one. I had access to their wealth of knowledge and I learned so much just from a couple of one-on-one meetings, more than I would’ve ever learned on my own from Google. The helpful team members and seniors that I can rely on gave me the confidence to try out new things because I knew they would have my back whenever I need help.
So after three months, I earned my first promotion and got the opportunity to work in a client-facing role. It was a huge responsibility as I mostly worked behind the scenes supporting my team in those first months, but this time I had to take the lead. That’s the level of trust that you can expect in 2X and if you’re willing to step up to the plate, you’ll be given multiple opportunities to challenge yourself.
Currently, I’ve been entrusted with training some of the new joiners in 2X. We have something I call an ex-engineer support group here, which is a small group of engineers-turned-marketers like myself. I’m glad that I can use my own experience to help make the transition to B2B marketing easier for them, just like how my team leads helped me through my early days.
And to top it all off, this is a company that really means it when they say they have work-life balance. I became a new father recently and I really appreciate the support and space I was provided leading up to my son’s birth and after. I have time at the end of the day and on weekends to play with my son, sometimes I take him out on in his stroller on long walks around my housing area. Had I stayed an engineer, I would’ve probably not had this luxury.
So if you’re looking for a company that can help you grow, that trusts you to step up to the challenge, that walks the talk, I would say come join us at 2X.