Before Momentum, Heather was serving the public as a Criminal and Civil ID specialist.
Twelve-hour workdays. Standing for eight hours straight. Endless people management. Unsavory characters. And constant physical exhaustion. “Grueling” sums up Heather’s past career as a Criminal ID Specialist – a role that tested her on a daily basis physically, mentally, and emotionally.
With a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, Heather’s old career started when she took on an internship as a Criminal ID Specialist for a county government bureau. Heather was left feeling unsatisfied, with a challenging work environment and an unpredictable schedule that made family life difficult. Then, Heather switched to the civil side, completing monotonous fingerprint analysis for background checks. However, Heather felt stuck, with no opportunity to grow or be challenged in this role.
Mentally drained, and physically exhausted, Heather decided it was time for a change. She hoped to translate her fingerprinting skills into a data analytics career, so she looked to opportunities with coding courses. She wanted to find a code school that could give her a network, access to instructors, and a classroom community to help her succeed. After months of researching her options and considering how to make it work financially, Heather joined Momentum.
Heather felt that she benefitted greatly from being able to work so closely with classmates and easily ask questions or explain work processes. She also liked having the ability to connect with previous Momentum graduates, as the always-on digital community of Momentum provided support.
If you need help there are a lot of people to turn to. Between the alumni and instructors, you always have somebody to go to and bounce ideas off of.
After her time with Momentum, Heather hoped to find a job that would allow her to connect her college degree and experience in criminal justice with her coding experience, so she took part in a Women in Cybersecurity meetup. This gave her an opportunity to speak with women from a variety of different backgrounds and become connected to an open position, thanks to a Momentum instructor who encouraged Heather to reach out to a member of a previous Momentum cohort. As Momentum had helped train Heather how to learn, she felt confident that she could quickly become skilled in a new language that she would need to use in the open position. Because of this, she was hired.
Now, Heather is feeling very encouraged in her new role as a Cybersecurity Consultant at MetLife. On a day-to-day basis, she works with metrics and investigates insider threats and fraud. Heather is also encouraging her team to bring on more people to monitor insider threats, providing analysis that impacts business decisions. According to Heather, her new job has positively changed her lifestyle.
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She feels supported by upper management and receives regular feedback, which has been a major change from her previous career. And, starting out during the Coronavirus pandemic, Heather likes the flexibility of her new job. “As long as I have Wi-Fi, I could go anywhere.”
For people who are seeking out a career that challenges them, taking coding courses can be a great stepping stone toward a new path. Heather feels that the most important thing to seek out in a program is community, since networking and having contacts in the industry is vital in successfully making a career switch. Where you start is often not where you end in this type of career, so it is up to you to find your own path. Because of her time with Momentum, Heather’s new career is helping her bring her goals and interests together for a more fulfilling life.