Software Support Analyst at Keysys
"Innovate Birmingham exposed me to an entirely new and incredible career. They showed me how many jobs were out there."
Before starting at Innovate Birmingham, I had been working various parking management positions. I spent a good 6 years making decent money as a valet, then supervisor, and then manager after realizing that college, well student debt, wasn't the right choice for me. I was incredibly burnt out on what I was doing for a living; however, I knew it wasn't a satisfactory career for me. I reconnected with a childhood friend who has a great job at BBVA as a programmer analyst. I asked him how he got there. He told me he went through a program called Innovate Birmingham. He sent me the link. I took a look and applied immediately. It was free! I was ecstatic. This was exactly the kind of opportunity I had always been looking for. The kind of opportunity I wish had existed. It is a full-time, 40-hour a week program. So, I saved my money, rounded up all the help I could get, and dove in fully committed.
I learned how to wireframe, plan, and design. I learned how to interview, build a resume, network, give elevator pitches, job hunt. I learned how to brand myself, how to use LinkedIn. I learned how to create and build. I learned how to come up with original app ideas. I learned how to consider varying use cases. Probably most importantly, I learned how to think like a programmer. I have already used all of these skills at my new job.
I currently work as a Software Support Analyst at a company called KEYSYS. I've been here for about 3.5 months now. Everything is going great! I've created a testing system and given a lunch and learn on it. I've contributed production code, and I'm about to join a team working on a giant, new product using modern technologies (that many of my co-workers have never learned) that I learned in the program.
Innovate Birmingham exposed me to an entirely new and incredible career. They showed me how many jobs were out there. They facilitated a remedy to the bitterness I felt about my social class, my economic status, my lack of a fulfilling career. They proved to me that if I had the determination and commitment, I could get hired without a college degree. Personally, the program changed my entire worldview. I'm extremely proud of what I've done and what I do. I'm thrilled to tell people what I do for a living. I'm optimistic about my professional future. I have a skill that I am passionate about now. I am genuinely a happier person now that I've found my calling in life. Simply put, they helped me form goals that I didn't have, or that needed refining. To describe Innovate Birmingham in one word, life-changing.
Software Developer at Altec
"Innovate Birmingham helped me recognize and develop my "thing," and granted me the opportunity to do something I love for a living."
Prior to Innovate Birmingham, I wasn't really doing much of anything at all. I was working as a delivery driver. I didn't find that very fulfilling and certainly did not want that to be what I did for the rest of my life. I was without direction until a family friend of mine in the industry told me about Innovate Birmingham, and I looked into it. It was very appealing to me because I see myself as a problem-solver and have always taken an interest in technology. I obsess, and this seemed like a healthy, gratifying obsession. Innovate Birmingham in particular was a gift. It grants life-changing opportunities (for free!) to people that are willing to go out and work hard for a better future. The staff there work hard to make sure that good work is recognized and rewarded, and I and many others can attest to this.
This program really makes sure you understand exactly how development teams collaborate in 2019, that being Agile development methodology. I came into my job confident, because I was already used to working with teams in a way the industry recognizes and uses. Outside of technical skills, Innovate Birmingham bringing in a guest speaker to talk about personal finances was a valuable experience for every student involved. Everyone learned something that day, and I'm sure everyone left with a feeling of more control.
I currently work at Altec. I started as a software development intern in May 2019 and worked for 11 weeks before being promoted to a full-time software developer. I have decided I am going to go to school for a computer science degree. I go home thinking about work - what I did that day and what I'll be doing tomorrow, excited and ready. Innovate Birmingham helped me recognize and develop my "thing," and granted me the opportunity to do something I love for a living. I don't see this changing any time soon. My experience in this program was truly invaluable.
Front-End Developer at Martin Retail Group
"Innovate Birmingham, gave me the tools and knowledge to drive my future in my direction."
Before Innovate Birmingham, I was learning myself through odd jobs and living on my own. I was growing into teaching yoga and understanding what I needed to do to better my life and achieve financial safety. My old roommate taught himself how to code through an art culture project. Spending evenings together and seeing the work he put in inspired me. When he then achieved a life-changing career, I knew I needed to buckle down. Our mutual friend, Jordan Hansen, who was in the first few cohorts, ended up working with my old roommate at XpertDocs. I decided that there wasn't much to lose besides being broke for 3.5 months, learning 9-5 Monday through Friday and weekends. The first day when we gathered in the waiting room meeting our new friends, I knew I would enjoy this time.
I currently work at Martin Retail Group, an advertising firm that handles all of GM, (Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Chevy) as a Front-End Developer. Innovate Birmingham taught me to handle certain issues as they come up and how to google. When it came time to get a job, they were very insightful for questions on salary, benefits, etc.
Innovate Birmingham, gave me the tools and knowledge to drive my future in my direction. I feel like a silver surfer on the web sometimes whenever it comes to problem solving. If I had to choose one word to describe this program it would be, paramount.
Software Developer at Altec
"One of the biggest advantages of the Innovate Birmingham program is that they put you right in front of employers that are real interviews and truly do everything in their power to help you land your first job as a developer."
Since I didn’t go to college for computer science and wanted to get into software development as soon as possible, I started doing some research and found that a lot of developers got their start in the industry by going to a code bootcamp. I immediately started searching for code bootcamps near Birmingham and came across Innovate Birmingham and the IAmBham program. It looked like a solid program with great curriculum, so I applied immediately. One of the biggest advantages of the Innovate Birmingham program is that they put you right in front of employers that are real interviews and truly do everything in their power to help you land your first job as a developer.
I knew the bootcamp was going to be challenging going into it, but I have to say I was surprised with how hard our instructor pushed us. We were expected to give our best effort every single day, and I can say that the payoff was a million times worth it. We learned heaps of valuable information in a short amount of time and even better, we proved to prospective employers that we are committed to learning and actually putting these skills to use. Also, I have built many great friendships with both the staff and my classmates that will last a lifetime.
If you’ve ever considered joining a code bootcamp, apply to Innovate Birmingham right now!! Seriously, whether you’re wanting to jumpstart your career or if you’re like me and wanting to change careers completely, Innovate Birmingham will set you up for success. All that’s required of you is to be fully committed and put in the work. This program has changed my life and I am so grateful to have found this incredible opportunity. My only regret is not finding this program sooner. Thank you, Innovate Birmingham, for helping me start a career that I love with a great company!
Technician at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama
"I personally needed something new that would challenge me by pushing my boundaries mentally"
I heard about this program from my uncle, which at the time I was involved in the fitness industry working as a personal trainer/pilates instructor - something that I was very passionate about. Although I love fitness and the joy it brings to my life, I personally needed something new that would challenge me by pushing my boundaries mentally, and what else would be better than something that was completely foreign to me.
There are two sides to this course, one was full stack software development, and the other was professional development. During professional development, we were able to hear from other IT professionals that gave us insight as to what we were preparing for and the great opportunity that was in our near future.
Towards the end of this program, we were split into groups and were assigned a final project to develop an app that could be used in today's society. For my final project, I was able to combine my passion for fitness and new my found passion for technology. My group developed a fitness app called SoloFit that allowed people to connect with fitness instructors and find the workout plan best suited for them.
One of the most important factors about this program is that they provided the opportunity for their students to interview with possible future employers. I definitely took advantage of this and was able to land a job at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC.
I truly do appreciate Innovate Birmingham for the people I’ve met and the knowledge I’ve gained. I hope that others who find themselves in a rut or want a shot at a better quality of life have the opportunity to go through this program. Innovate Birmingham changed my life and helped me in becoming the person that I’ve always envisioned myself to be.