“[Before Momentum] I didn’t really have a career,” Jeanette O’Brien tells us. Don’t let her words confuse you though. While she wasn’t on a career path, Jeanette’s resumé reflected a series of jobs she excelled in.
From Site Coordinator for a YMCA program to Events and Marketing Coordinator for a non-profit, Jeanette was always able to get jobs in different industries. But a long-term career where she could use her creative talents and positively impact people? That Jeanette had yet to find.
Even more, Jeanette recognized that without a solid professional network, it was hard to make a career change. “I was stagnating because I didn’t know who to connect with. I didn’t have that mentor or even the network to show me the ropes.”
Her career began at Momentum. After a year in her Software Engineer role at TransLoc, Jeanette now works at Ansible by RedHat as a Front-end Software Engineer. “I’m really grateful for the fact I have a career now. It feels great. I don’t feel like I’m working somewhere just to be working somewhere.” She says “the door is wide open” for her career now. “[At Momentum], you’ll get a community and you’ll get help finding a career. Not just a job. A career.”
Every time I go to work I think about all the other women who are in the tech industry. I think about how grateful I am to be another woman in this industry making a career for myself.
The unconditional support she received in the Momentum classroom helped her get there. In Jeanette’s words, she was the “biggest crybaby” in her cohort but never felt judged for it. “This tech community has probably been the most open, non-judgmental community that I’ve been a part of, especially the one that Momentum has built. Being a black woman going into the tech industry can feel very othering so having that diverse community that Momentum’s built for its students has been paramount in my ability to grow in my career.”
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For Jeanette, Momentum was more than just learning how to code. “My professional network grew and grew and is still growing even now.”
Jeanette is paying it forward. “At Red Hat I get to contribute to an open source community. By doing that, I get to help people who look like me, who want to learn how to code, take real code and learn from it.” Whether it’s conferences, meetups, speaking engagements or Momentum mentorship, Jeanette seizes opportunities to connect with other women in tech and trailblaze for underrepresented groups to have a seat at the table in tech. “Everytime I go to work I think about all the other women who are in the tech industry. I think about how grateful I am to be another woman in this industry making a career for myself.”
It wasn’t easy, but for Jeanette it was so worth it. “Momentum was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I would 100% do it over again in a heartbeat.” She’s taking that experience with her into the community as she advocates for diversity and change in the tech industry. “I want everybody to learn how to code. It is a future-proof job. It is a recession-proof job.”