Karen Robson, who studied while working as a care assistant, beat more than 250 applicants to secure a post as an IT technician at Sunderland Social Services Department.
Robson initially enrolled at Sunderland College's centre for vocational excellence to improve her skills on her home computer.
She signed up for the IT iPro level 2, which includes the Comptia computer technician qualification.
Robson decided to turn professional after attending a "Women in IT Day" conference, where she realised that women were under-represented in the profession.
"As I got more into it, I thought I could get a career change by completing this course," she said. "I absolutely love my new job. The course and then the job have changed my life."