Changing Careers: Remco Timmermans
After a career in IT, banking and consultancy, Remco Timmermans is now a Social Media Specialist and founder of a social media agency for the space sector - SpaceSide.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m self-employed and the founder of a social media agency for the space sector - SpaceSide. I have BBA and MA degrees in Business Studies, with initial work experience in IT, banking and consultancy. I changed radically after a 20-year career, joined the ISU (International Space University) Space Studies Program, and now work in the space sector. I gave up on space after not doing an engineering degree and thinking that I could not work in space. I needed a few people to tell me I was wrong, after which I successfully made the switch.
What does your role involve?
I tell the stories of space exploration, space companies and space events on social media.
What's your background and career path?
I started my career in business, IT and finance, and after 20 years I made a radical switch to starting my own company in the space sector.
What did you do to go about changing career?
I got to know people who worked in the space sector, through social media of course, and they slowly convinced me that all you need to work in space is a healthy ambition to work there and some perseverance. I then went to ISU to gain the basic knowledge that gave me the confidence to pursue a career in space.
What resources, organisations, events, etc. were most useful to you?
Social media, NASA Social, ESA tweetup, SpaceUp Unconferences and the International Space University.
How did you get your first job in the space sector?
I was offered a semi-volunteer position in the World Space Week foundation right after finishing my ISU programme.
Why did you want to move to the space sector? When did you decide to try?
Space is awesome and space people are the best. Space is a unique sector, working on the long-term improvement of society.
Did you feel like there was a job for you in the sector?
For 20 years I didn't. Now I do!
Were there any barriers you had to overcome? How did you overcome them?
The biggest barrier was my own prejudice about space jobs. I needed others to convince me that my perceptions were wrong. I also felt I lacked industry knowledge (I was probably OK) but the ISU Space Studies Program was the perfect education to get over that and gain a realistic view of the modern space industry.
Were your job applications different from what you were used to? How so?
Very different! I have never applied for a job in space. It's all about the network and making your own opportunities.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I work in the space industry! I contribute to the most international, open-minded, long-term thinking, diverse and friendly industry in the world!
Do you have any other advice for people wanting to make a similar change?
Very simple. Do it! The biggest barrier is you.