Written By: Tabatha Chandler
Applying to Road to Hire’s tech academy was a complete shot in the dark for me. At the time, I didn’t have a ton of technical experience besides two classes I took my junior year of high school. Even after seeing a presentation about the program, I still wasn’t sure that I understood what I would be doing, but I was willing to take a chance. My teacher encouraged me to apply and I’m pretty sure I submitted my application before the presenters even left the classroom. If I had not listened to my teacher’s encouragement and didn’t take the chance to apply, I would not be in the position where I am today.
During the Road to Hire training, I had to work significantly harder than most of my classmates. I’m not naturally gifted in the art of software engineering, so I put in a lot of extra hours after our classes – on top of working my part-time job. I spent a lot of my free time self-teaching and working on every tutorial I could find. I faced a lot of doubt during this period, as I was never sure if I was good enough for Road to Hire or good enough to be offered a job from a large technology company. This made me work even harder because I wanted to exceed everyone’s expectations and make sure there would be no reason I wouldn’t be chosen for a tech position.
My hard work paid off in unimaginable ways. I was employed as a software engineer and I’m now making a salary I would have never imagined for myself. I celebrated by buying my own car at the age of 18 – not even a year after graduating high school. I was given responsibilities on my team that I didn’t think anyone would ever trust me with. I was launching entire websites by myself and maintaining our online shopping cart. I was specifically requested to be on multiple teams. When I started my journey through this program, I didn’t have the slightest thought that I’d be in that situation. During my first week on my engineering team, I was so nervous and afraid that I just sat at my desk staring at my monitor. Again, I worked extremely hard to overcome this fear and I’m glad that I was able to push myself through it.
For the past two years since graduating from Road to Hire, I’ve found ways to assist others through the program. I started with just grading coding challenges, and then I started teaching a few sessions. Now, my role has evolved into developing a new mentorship program for upcoming Road to Hire classes. I’ve mentored every tech academy student throughout the past two years. It’s amazing to see young adults so much like myself that have similar stories and backgrounds, but they’re becoming just as successful as I am. Road to Hire has truly been the most amazing and life-changing experience.