America’s Promise helps Minneapolis woman’s ‘dream come true’

July 23, 2018
America’s Promise helps Minneapolis woman’s ‘dream come true’

Jane is a Minneapolis resident that received tuition support through the America’s Promise funding to be able to enroll in a Full Stack Engineering boot camp at Prime Digital Academy. Though she had earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, she had experience some bumps in life and had wrestled with substance abuse before successfully completing a treatment program. After an extended period working multiple part-time jobs that paid between $10-$15 per hour, Jane began researching a career in IT, where she anticipated being able to learn new skills, and get a full-time job earning a much higher salary.

Her first step was to take self-study classes through Codecademy to ensure coding was the direction she wanted to pursue. She then researched coding boot camps in the Minneapolis area and decided to apply to Prime Digital Academy. The Full Stack Engineering boot camp at Prime, which is a 20-week immersive training that typically requires a weekly effort of 60 hours between class time and homework, trains people for careers in software development.

The tuition for Prime is expensive, but through her admissions process with Jewish Family and Children’s Service (JFCS) – the wraparound support partner of the MSP TechHire – Jane learned the City of Minneapolis provides scholarships to eligible students like her. To be eligible, students must live within the city limits, be part of an underrepresented population in the tech industry, and meet low-income guidelines.

During the six-week pre-work phase, Jane’s biggest challenge was balancing work, social life, studying, and sleep. She established a routine in that phase and also met monthly with her job counselor at JFCS to check in on academics, peer interactions, and self-care/coping strategies. Jane noted the intensity of the program and how different it was from college courses. She increased her focus on healthier eating, walking or biking to Prime, and using the Head Space app for mindfulness which she employed throughout her training. In addition to completing her homework and group projects she regularly attended tech events and meets up to network. She specifically attended the Women In Technology (WIT) meetup to gather insight into how women experience the technical work environment and how to advocate for women in tech.

Jane completed her training, updated her resume, LinkedIn profile, and established a Github account as she began her job search. Jane accepted a short-term contract as a web designer that continued to interview for a full time positions. In an email to her job counselor, Jane recounted, “It feels great to have effectively doubled my take home pay per month. Thanks to JFCS and MSP TechHire for this opportunity to enjoy work and get out of the “barely making it” financial category.”

About a month later, Jane updated her counselor again, stating, “Today I accepted an offer to become a full stack software developer with SportsHub. I get to work with cool, interesting people, and use React and Python to make magic happen. I have been coming home from work to study for weeks and weeks, and months and months, so to have someone welcome me aboard as a full time full stack developer (regular full time exempt, no contract), it’s a dream come true. I’ve been working hard, loving every minute of the work, but just hoping it would pay off. It finally has.

I found this position because I was active on social media about my studies and excitement about Javascript. I posted a few times about how I loved Prime and asked friends for job leads.  A friend gave me a lead on the SportsHub job…and the rest is history! Not only do I love my job, but I am the only woman coder on the team. It feels great!”

Jane has moved from multiple part-time jobs with minimal benefits to a full time permanent position with substantially higher pay, PTO, medical, dental, and vision benefits. This sense of stability in an environment that encourages her in the work she truly enjoys.