Alumni Stories
Photo of Kenzie Academy grad Alex Zimdahl working on his laptop while sitting on a balcony on a sunny day.

Alexander Zimdahl

Persevering Toward a New Career

Amazon Career Choice '20
  • Job Title
    Software Engineer
  • Employer After Graduation
Alexander's Story

Alexander Zimdahl needed to find a career that would allow him to live more comfortably — where his kidney health could begin to improve. He already had a Bachelor of Science in Game Design but he hadn’t had the opportunity to do much with it. There isn’t much demand for game developers where Alexander was located and moving to another city was expensive and ultimately not an ideal option. If Alexander was to start getting better, he’d need to find a new way toward tech.

The Need for Change

I needed to get off of hard work like a floor job into somewhere I could work calmly and in a sitting environment because my kidneys were failing. I needed something where I … I was already dying. I didn’t need to die at any faster rate.

Dialysis While Completing the Program

All through the course I was going through different types of dialysis. I started with hemodialysis because my body had just shut down and then moved into peritoneal dialysis. It was a lot harder when I was on hemodialysis … It felt like I got hit by a truck at the end of the day and I was pretty much done for the rest of the entire day. So there were a couple of times I did have to go into class and I would, I just felt out and I would have to lay on the table.

How Support Came Through

Luckily, because I had a lot of disability, I was able to go home a lot because I couldn’t physically work. Then of course doing the Career Choice, Amazon works with you on your schedule. So they were able to help me do the schedule as well as put me on the easier labor. A less labor-intensive job.

Being Able to Graduate

I kind of begged the doctor to let me walk. I had a kidney pillow and I had to clutch it against me because it helped the sutures and the pressure. I had that with me and my doctor said I had to get in, take the reward, and get out as soon as possible. That was a great moment. Getting through graduation as well as getting through kidney failure at the same time.

Benefits of a Career in Tech

Probably the biggest perk is personal freedom. I work from home a hundred percent. The pay is really nice. It’s definitely changed my lifestyle from the past 28 years when I struggled financially and was just always paycheck to paycheck.

Being Able to Pay Off Debt

I’ve been able to be aggressive [with debt], which has been, honestly, super refreshing. It’s really a confidence booster when you’re paying debt at a rapid pace whereas, for all the years before, it’s just very minimal. I also opened up a savings account for once, finally. I’m seeing the light and for so long, I’ve just been living in that darkness and pain of living in debt.

Pushing Through Exhaustion

If I didn’t have the Kenzie course that I was going through, with that light at the end of the tunnel, I might have fallen into a bit of despair. Amazon had great insurance to get me through, but there wouldn’t have been much light at the end of the tunnel if I had just gone right back into labor-intensive warehouse work.

It gave me the desire to want to have better health as well as a desire that I could have a better career and a better lifestyle if I pushed forward and I didn’t give up and that this wasn’t the end.

The Kenzie Learner Experience

They really put the information in really well, held my hand when I needed it, but also pushed me where they believed I could. I even talked to some of my friends who are struggling in getting their life together in jobs. If they’re interested in doing tech or having the kind of better lifestyle that I do now, I recommend it.

The “It Clicked!” Moment

I think every developer has gone through the aha moment where everything is really hard. It is a different time for each person, but it’s the aha moment when everything just suddenly clicks. There’s just one day you go into class and everything makes sense. You get what you’re doing. Things still come as a little bit of a struggle, but you can figure it out a lot easier and things make sense.

A new career in tech could be on the horizon for you! Will you take the opportunity? Kenzie Academy’s programs can help you build a foundation for a bright future in a growing industry. Apply today and begin your journey.

"The pay is really nice. It’s definitely changed my lifestyle from the past 28 years when I struggled financially and was just always paycheck to paycheck."
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