David Richardson is a Software Developer 1 in the Kenzie Academy program from Southern New Hampshire University. It’s a position he’s held since he was just 19 years old, shortly after graduating from the Kenzie Academy Software Engineering certificate program. He values his role because it gives him the opportunity to give back to learners who are currently carving a path of their own. David reflects on a journey that has taken him from high school graduate to tech professional in less time than it takes to complete a traditional 4-year degree.
Choosing the Kenzie Academy Program After High School
I graduated high school in 2019 and I joined Kenzie Academy in July of the same year. I had some exposure to the Kenzie Academy program even before I graduated high school. When I was looking at my options as far as college goes, I was feeling frustrated about spending 4 years until I could get into the industry. So, I was really excited to shorten that expectation and get through Kenzie. I wanted to have relevant experience and get ready for the workforce.
Getting Relevant Experience
The biggest question for me was how relevant is this certificate going to be? The big selling point was that hiring managers were saying college-educated people with computer science degrees don’t actually have any relevant workforce experience. These hiring managers are looking for someone from a program like Kenzie for their relevant work experience. The biggest question for me was, is that really true?
I was really into the tech meetup scene at the time and I had conversations with folks who were hiring software engineers and I was hearing the same things. They were frustrated that computer science degree students didn’t have relevant work experience and they were open to considering certificate programs like Kenzie Academy. It was a huge weight off my shoulders to know that this certificate would be relevant and that I would not have a problem finding a job.
Support from his Parents
For my parents, I think initially it was a tougher sell, but they were excited about me just exploring new opportunities. We had to look at the program together. As I started to explore it with my parents and introduce them to some of the people [who were a part of Kenzie], it was easier to see. I was learning about it myself too and they just trusted me to be able to research it and make the best decision.
Kenzie Support Dedicated to Success
The support as a learner was amazing in so many ways. Kenzie is so incentivized to make sure that you succeed. I felt as a learner that they were just willing to stop at nothing to get me through the curriculum. The support system and especially the peer-to-peer support system is just unlike anything else and really dedicated to success.
Giving Back in the Kenzie Academy Program
There was a huge incentive for me to want to work for the Kenzie Academy program because I really feel like I’m able to give back. It has given me so much and being able to kick-start my career. It’s been awesome to be able to work here and give back to that learner experience and help solve some of the problems that I faced for future generations of learners.
Nurturing the Kenzie Community
One of the things that we’re focused on, especially for learners, is being able to cultivate that collaborative environment and bring people together, because peer-to-peer support is just as important as instructor support. If you can help each other and build from each other’s success, even as learners, you’re going to learn so much faster. It’s going to stick so much more.
Kicking Off a Career at a Young Age
It feels so great to have kick-started my life with Kenzie and to really be ahead by building my career so young. It’s not without its challenges. I’ve had to learn early on how to work hard. I’ve had to grow up a little bit faster. But at the same time, it’s kind of given me the freedom to have a lifestyle that I want outside of work. I haven’t struggled to enjoy all of the hobbies and the things that I like to do. If I were to have gone a more traditional route, I would’ve really been frustrated with being a poor college student.
Why You Should Go For It
I talk to a lot of high school students, and even today, my parents’ friends and people that I know are sending kids to me that are considering their options, and looking at a career in tech. What I found myself saying a lot is if you know you’re passionate about one of the programs Kenzie Academy is offering, I don’t see a reason not to go with it.
Now, if you are just considering a tech career, but you don’t know if you want to be a programmer, that’s where something like a computer science degree can get your foot in the door and still give you the room to explore. But if you’re as passionate about coding as I was, this is an amazing program to just get you right into the industry without any doubts.
A new career in tech could be on the horizon for you! Kenzie Academy’s programs can help you build a foundation for a bright future in a growing industry. Apply today and begin your journey.