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Toni’s Journey Outside Her Comfort Zone — and Into a New Career — Through Skill Distillery

We all, at one point or another, have faced imposter syndrome and the fear that we won’t have what it takes to make it in a certain career. Toni, at the time working at a company’s billing department in Colorado, felt just that same sense of self-doubt when it came to the idea of learning to code. So how did she overcome her fears? We got a chance to hear from Toni about her experiences at Skill Distillery’s coding bootcamp and her journey to becoming a software engineer!

After trying out a handful of different career paths, Toni fought through her hesitations and decided to learn how to code.

“I had been flitting about from one job to another but not finding anything I wanted to do for the long haul. I had a wonderful time working with developmentally delayed children as a teacher’s aide, but I couldn’t support myself on the salary. Then I moved into some roles in corporate America but those jobs didn’t fulfill my need to grow and better myself. I had considered coding before but never thought I could do it, so I always talked myself out of pursuing it. However, seeing my friend be successful after going through Skill Distillery helped me to decide to go.”

But despite receiving a scholarship, she still needed to figure out how to pay for the rest of the program.

“I was lucky enough to get a partial scholarship from Skill Distillery. Yet even after that I did not have the means to cover tuition. Climb Credit helped me to fund my learning through a very easy process that led to my new career.”

Now in the midst of her coding bootcamp, Toni found herself out of her comfort zone — which ended up being one of the most valuable skills she gained while at Skill Distillery.

“Get comfortable being uncomfortable. As a software developer, there will be many times where you don’t have the answer and that’s OK! What’s important is to keep going, to persevere as you work through the problem.“

And she didn’t just learn the basics of coding. She also got a taste of what a career in development would actually be like.

“The midterm and final project come to mind as great examples of what it will be like to be in the actual workforce. These projects helped me to anticipate what my day-to-day would look like and I felt well prepared for my current role.”

Once out of her program, it was time for the job search. But she wasn’t only submitting applications and going in for interviews — she also took that time to build her skills even more.

“I think the job search is a bit of a mixed bag across junior developers. Some get roles very quickly; others may have to go through many interviews before they land the job. For me, I searched for about six months before getting my first role. That time was spent taking Udemy courses on the coding interview process or problem solving on HackerRank. And also the occasional video game or two!”

Those efforts paid off, as she now has a thriving career as a software engineer.

“My role is entirely back-end. I use tools like Snowflake to analyze and process large datasets and develop software workflows to communicate with 3rd party APIs. Most recently, I worked on a POC for integrating Apache Airflow into our project.”

These days, she’s gone from working jobs to having a career, and from feeling insecurity to feeling pride in her accomplishments.

“Overall, I am in a much better place compared to what I was doing before Skill Distillery. Before, I was just working jobs, but now I have a career. I used to feel very aimless which fed into feelings of insecurity. Now, I am very proud of myself and everything I’ve accomplished.”

And looking back on her days before attending Skill Distillery, there’s only one piece of advice Toni would give her former self.

“I wish I could go back and tell myself to do it sooner! Don’t give into feelings of self doubt. I kept holding myself back for so long. Now that I’m on the other side of all that, I realize I was one of the biggest blockers to my own happiness and success.”

Toni is a client of Climb’s. However, she was not paid or otherwise compensated for this testimonial. This testimonial reflects the real-life experiences and opinions of Toni; however, it should not be assumed that all users will have the same experiences. Individual results may vary.

The quoted statements appear verbatim as given by the user, except for the correction of grammar and typing errors. Some testimonials may have been shortened or rearranged for the sake of clarity.

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