Graduate Stories

Meet Alyshia, Apprentice Software Developer at Accenture

From Hair Stylist to Software Developer

Before Momen­tum, Alyshia was a skilled hair­dress­er who worked her way up in salons start­ing at the age of 19.

Life as a hair styl­ist can be errat­ic. Often, they skip lunch breaks, stand all day, work unpre­dictable shifts – and when they do work shifts, it’s long phys­i­cal­ly demand­ing hours for less mon­ey than right­ful­ly earned. 

Accord­ing to Alyshia, that was great while she was in her ear­ly 20s. She got into the skilled craft at age 19 and worked her way up in salons. Five years of the styl­ist lifestyle gave her entre­pre­neur­ial oppor­tu­ni­ties, but she was ready to find anoth­er career option that made sense for her well­be­ing and her fam­i­ly life. ​“I would like to go home before 9 o’clock at night and real­ized I need to fig­ure some­thing out.”

Free cod­ing resources got Alyshia excit­ed about start­ing a career in web devel­op­ment – an area ripe for find­ing and solv­ing prob­lems like in her styling pro­fes­sion. But she thought care­ful­ly about how to make the career change hap­pen. A four-year col­lege pro­gram? Too long. Inde­pen­dent learn­ing? Too unstruc­tured. Code school? Just right. 

As an Appren­tice Soft­ware Devel­op­er at Accen­ture, the hours are sta­ble and the work is reward­ing. That means, using JavaScript-based lan­guages and Python in her role. But more impor­tant­ly final­ly get­ting to plan life out months in advance like she’s want­ed to and steady income with­out the back­break­ing hours.

I’m not exhausted anymore which is like a weird feeling for me. My general quality of life has massively increased, I’m less tired, less in pain. I feel a lot better.

Alyshia Polk

Apprentice Software Developer

Look­ing ahead as a soft­ware devel­op­er, Alyshia is most excit­ed for the sta­bil­i­ty her new career pro­vides. ​“Know­ing that I’m going to have the same amount of days off, make the same amount of mon­ey, gen­er­al­ly know what I’m get­ting into day to day.” That’s a big deal com­pared to the feast or famine volatil­i­ty in her role as a styl­ist and a reas­sur­ing feel­ing after mak­ing the major career change. 

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Go from potential to professional with us

She did it all dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, too. ​“I even think when I did it was the best time to do it. I would’ve been out of work any­way,” cit­ing the pandemic’s crip­pling effect on the beau­ty indus­try. Yes, the course was 100% vir­tu­al. But the live dis­cus­sions, com­mu­ni­ty, and real-time sup­port the course pro­found­ly helped Alyshia’s jour­ney to becom­ing a devel­op­er. ​“There was a huge dif­fer­ence between Momen­tum and online options to learn code because I was still face-to-face with some­one. That I real­ly appre­ci­at­ed and hav­ing some­one acces­si­ble to me. Not even that, but more cama­raderie in the class. I still talk to my class­mates now and it’s still very helpful.”

Plus, com­plet­ing the course from home actu­al­ly made it eas­i­er in some ways. With a ​“pri­vate tutor” in her front-end engi­neer fiancée, she was able to tap him for extra help on cod­ing chal­lenges. ​“He was pret­ty in awe of what I was able to do,” as she showed him projects he says he didn’t learn to do until his junior year of college. 

To those con­sid­er­ing web devel­op­ment, Alyshia encour­ages them, ​“If it feels right, just do it. I’m very glad I went with my gut and just did it.” So, if you’ve got the gut feel­ing, we’re here to help you get started.

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