“My name is Travis. I used to be a lab tech, now I’m a Software Engineer.”
Travis Anderson was a college grad working as a research lab tech creating and mixing pesticides for an agriculture company when he decided he wanted to make a career change. For the 6 years prior to that, Travis had worked as a lab tech for a different company, and it still wasn’t the fulfilling career he had imagined. So, he finally felt it was time to explore another industry.
“I witnessed friends making successful strides in tech, have the ability to move, get new jobs easily, and be genuinely happy,” Travis said. “I didn’t have heart in my last job and that brought about stress. Plus I felt ‘stuck’ as the skills were so focused on a particular job. I thought to myself, ‘Why can’t I do that?’”
From there, Travis began researching coding schools. He looked up success rates, read articles about bootcamp grads, and talked to friends who worked in tech. Then he found Kenzie Academy.
For Travis, the length of Kenzie’s Software Engineering program stood out when he was comparing coding schools.
“I liked that the school was longer than most, some folks probably don’t need that long, but the reason why Software Engineering pays well is that it takes time to learn,” Travis said. “Something else that gave me faith in the model was the Income Share Agreement (ISA) program. The way Kenzie sets it so they possibly don’t make a dime until you get a job encourages the school to do better, rather than colleges that, no matter what, get their money back.”
Travis has been working at Angie’s List as a Software Engineer since his graduation from Kenzie. His responsibilities include researching and writing code for new features. He also contributes to meetings, raising concerns on how the team approaches problems and presenting information to team members.
“Kenzie helped prepare me in a lot of ways,” Travis said. “The technical skills are a biggie. We were definitely taught the surface of many concepts and several languages. While at Kenzie we had the chance to work on a couple of weeks-long group projects that mock the real-world work environment with deadlines and project management. We had to take on different team roles such as product manager or quality assurance.”
Travis encourages anyone considering a career in tech to research the market, wages, and benefits so they can develop realistic expectations. He also suggests looking up articles and YouTube videos about the reasons why you should or shouldn’t attend a bootcamp or become a Software Engineer.
“Like any industry, it’s not for everyone and if you join without being sure, it doesn’t do yourself any favors,” Travis said. “Make sure you’re able to meet living and tuition financial needs and have the ability for more than the minimal time commitment. It would be a shame if you’re more than capable, but lack the finances or time to truly focus to do your best. For some, it may be a good idea to work and save money for a couple of extra months and join in a later session, while others could sign up today.”
Travis looks back on his time at Kenzie with fondness and shared one of his favorite memories with us:
“I liked that, as a class, students and instructors all built each other up,” Travis said. “We encouraged each other to learn the material and be accountable. We always encouraged each other to apply for jobs and make longer-term goals. We also encouraged each other to relax and shed the anxieties we carried.”