Why I’m Thankful for Codeup

By Amy Yanaway

 

Almost every day since graduating from Codeup in December 2017, I have meditated over how much my life has changed in such a short period of time. Especially during this Thanksgiving season, I took the time to reflect even more deeply about the top three reasons I am grateful for Codeup. I am thankful for:

1. Codeup as a career accelerator

When they say that Codeup is a “career accelerator,” they are not joking! In just 18 weeks, you graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the industry as a junior developer.

When I was first searching for options to learn how to code, I was told that any college degree program would take me two to four full-time years, or four or more part-time years, to finish. As we all know, our bills do not get put on hold while we are in school!

I also looked into free or inexpensive part-time programs so that I could continue to work full-time, and although I would describe myself as diligent and able to handle self-study, this would also have been a long route, and without the career advice and connections Codeup provides. Knowing what I know now, I am so glad I didn’t try to study on my own. The depth of Codeup’s curriculum, compared to some online training I have tried, is unmatched and very important to have in my current work as a developer.

When you think about it, 18 weeks is a blip in your life, especially when that blip of time in Codeup very quickly produces a return on your investment. Remember to consider wages lost when making your decision: your time is VALUABLE, and time spent not in the workforce is wages lost that you could have been making. Speaking of finances, I am also thankful for…

2. Codeup’s financial aid offerings

Did you know that many students receive internal scholarships and financial help from Codeup’s funding partners? I, too, had sticker shock when I saw the price tag, but I ended up receiving Codeup’s Women in Tech scholarship, as well as a grant from Project Quest, which greatly reduced my cost. For the remaining balance, I utilized one of Codeup’s loan partners, which offers reduced payments while in school, and for two months after. Read more about my journey through Codeup here. Last but not least, I am thankful for…

3. Codeup opening the door to the tech industry for me

Until just a few years ago, I had never in my life met a computer programmer. I was not aware that this was a thriving career, or that development and IT jobs occupy many of the slots on Glassdoor’s list of top careers. For several years, I was stuck in another field that was not for me, and I spent a lot of time thinking about how to get my foot in the door of this industry that seemed like it would better suit me and my needs. However, I did not have any connections in the industry or the direction needed to do this myself.

Codeup provided access to the tech field to me, as a woman who knew nothing about code prior to attending, and as someone who constantly doubted (and still do sometimes) whether I would be able to grasp what I had heard was very difficult subject matter. They saw potential in my aptitude and, more importantly, in my attitude.

Life since Codeup has been incredible. My job is fun, challenging, and stimulating; most of the time, it feels like I’m working on jigsaw puzzles all day. The hours just fly by, and I can’t believe I’m getting paid for this! Sometimes, when that pesky ol’ imposter syndrome pops up, a coworker of mine will brag about the quality or speed of my work to my supervisor, and I’ll feel validated and appreciated all over again, despite my newness to the field. Financially, I also feel appreciated, as I am now a skilled worker in high demand. In fact, in less than a year since graduating from Codeup, I was able to purchase my first home, all by myself!

This truly has been a life changing year. Codeup got me in the door of the tech industry, and where I go from here is up to me. This Thanksgiving, I am humbly grateful for finally being able to carve out my place in the world, and I hope the same for you. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Amy is very proud to say she is currently the only female developer employee working on Whataburger’s first ever online ordering platform. She has a Master’s degree in Music Theory and keeps that knowledge fresh by analyzing music on the radio during her daily commute. Since learning to code, what she enjoys most is mentoring new developers.  

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From the Service Industry to Software Development

By Randi Mays

Randi Mays

For many teenagers, the path to self-reliance starts in one of two places: a restaurant or retail store. Until it’s time to begin a professional career, you’re working that part-time job stocking shelves, helping irate customers with expired coupons or prepping for the dinner rush. I’d venture to say I’m one of the very few who was sad to leave that lifestyle behind.

I worked in the food service and retail industries for 10 years before I attended Codeup. I took great pride in my work every day; I couldn’t go home until everything was near perfect: my work area spotless, the shelves neatly stocked and everything ready for the next shift. When it came time to leave the service industry and move on to professional work, I was initially reluctant. I had found great personal fulfillment and success in customer service. Why would I want to leave?

I have big dreams. Of course I want to travel the world, spending my vacations in exotic destinations, trying new foods, seeing centuries-old architecture, and making lasting memories. But more importantly, I wanted to work for a company with a more widespread mission than gastronomic satisfaction. I wanted to work alongside people with a passion for their work that ran far deeper than a paycheck.

After graduating from Codeup in September 2016, I began working for USAA as a software developer and I can tell you–the company is no stranger to giving. Each employee receives company paid volunteer hours and I used some of mine to volunteer at the San Antonio Food Bank among dozens of other USAA employees. Last year when Hurricane Harvey hit, USAA was quick to organize several volunteer sessions at their home campus to prepare food and other basic necessities to be delivered to people in need. They even have a system where I can automatically deduct a specified amount from my paycheck to give to charitable causes I am passionate about. I have heard story after story about their representatives on the phone going above and beyond their duties to serve members in combat zones and at home. I can’t enumerate here all of the reasons I admire USAA for its community involvement and caring, but I’m sure I’ve made my point.

There are times I look back on my experience in food service and retail nostalgically, remembering how I excelled in those positions and enjoyed the repetitive work. Then I come back to the present and remember how big an impact my employer makes serving the military community and their families, and how many lives are changed by the work I do with my team. I find great personal satisfaction and pride in my work every day, and I am just getting started.