Last Friday was Kenzie Academy graduation day! We were extremely excited to bestow Full-Stack Software Engineering and UX Design certifications on our deserving grads.
We also honored students who have completed their Front-End certifications and those who have completed the design portion of their UX education.
Chok Ooi, Kenzie Academy Co-Founder and CEO, kicked off the ceremony. As usual, he included some great tips for the job search and leveling up while living within your means. He also shared some inspiring words for the graduates to take into their careers.
“Change the way you think,” Chok said. “Instead of getting beat up by every ‘no,’ use them as learning opportunities. There is a ‘yes’ in each one as long as you learn from every failure and don’t give up.”
Our guest speaker for this commencement was Alok Deshpande, Senior Manager of Camera Software at Apple. As a member of Kenzie’s extended professional network, Alok gave our grads plenty of advice.
“All of you have already taken that great first step towards reaching an ambitious goal: by coming to Kenzie, you committed,” Alok said.
Next, we heard from our class speakers, Vincent Newsom and Mia Peace, graduating from the Software Engineering and UX Design programs respectively. These graduates touched on some of the tough realities of completing their courses and beginning the job search in the middle of a global pandemic. Additionally, they focused on how their skills and the Kenzie community will still be there as support systems.
“Maybe the reason 2020 was so challenging was so that today we could all say, ‘I did it. I became a better version of myself, and I became a damn good Software Engineer!’” said Vincent.
“The hurdles don’t stop but neither do we,” Mia said. “We will continue to grow, challenge ourselves, and challenge the world with our unique perspectives.”
To close the ceremony, we heard from Andrea VanderStelt, VP of Talent. As our grads prepare to begin the job search, she had some tips for how they can stay motivated and best utilize Kenzie’s Placement Services team.
“The road to your first job is going to have bumps, obstacles, and twists and turns,” Andrea said. “Placement is here to remove the orange cones and salt the roads for you. We’re like the Google maps lady telling you where to go and rerouting for you. But you’re the one driving the car. You decide how fast you go, you decide when you’ve arrived at the right job.”
She also had some great advice for celebrating their accomplishments today and remembering why each of our students enrolls at Kenzie.
“You’ve had to say ‘no’ to so many things during your time at Kenzie,” Andrea said. “But now that you’ve put in the work, those ‘nos’ will turn into more ‘yeses’ for your life once you get your first role, and more and more ‘yeses’ as you reach your dream career.”
Thank you to all of the students, staff, family, and friends who logged on to our virtual Kenzie Academy graduation to support and celebrate our wonderful graduates last week! We also want to give special thanks to Alok Deshpande for a motivating commencement address.
Our grads are off to do amazing things in the tech industry, and we look forward to seeing where they end up.