Alumni Stories
Back view of man coding on computer

Jeffrey Simpson

From Stay-at-Home Dad to Software Engineer

Software Engineering* '21
  • Job Title
    Associate Software Engineer
  • Employer After Graduation
Jeffrey's Story

When Jeffrey Simpson’s daughter turned one, and after being a stay-at-home parent for a year, Jeffrey decided it was time to get back in the workforce.At that point, he had graduated from college 10 years ago and spent most of that time in and out of retail jobs. But this time, he was looking for more stability — and the Kenzie Academy program from Southern New Hampshire University was the solution to reach his goals.

The Inspiration

I thought, maybe I’ll just be a guy just in an office … maybe one day. I knew people who worked in the tech world, whether it be just IT or actually doing coding work, and I saw how well they were doing for themselves. I had a friend who, even before the pandemic, was working from home full-time, and I thought, well, I would like to do that.

Why Choose Tech

Coding always sounded interesting to me. I love solving puzzles and I also love being creative and learning to build things from scratch. Coding seemed to fill both those slots for me, where I got to be creative with something but also go to be a puzzle solver — problem solve all sorts of issues and break things down. I liked doing that, and that’s where coding made sense to me, but I just didn’t know. Then once I started [my Kenzie Academy program], it just felt so natural to me. It was a wonderful first experience.

Building a Community with Other Learners

I have friends through [my Kenzie Academy program]. I still have yet to meet them in person. After lecture would happen in the morning, we’d immediately jump into a Discord video and just hang out while we’d all be working on our assignments and occasionally chime in and we’d talk either about coding, or we’d just talk about — hey, guess what I just did this week with my kid? They’d be like, oh, yeah, my son is going through the same thing. I got way more connection, and then on top of that, the staff cared so much about me.

More Than Just Coding

You don’t just learn how to code, you learn how to get an opinion on code. You’re going to be so deep in it. [In a Kenzie program] I’m going to learn how to interact with others, work with a team, learn how to talk about code, and explain not just “why” it works. I can talk about the “how” and give my own opinion of why I did it the way I did.

Personal Support

I got to talk to [the Kenzie Team] all the time. They were always checking with me. I remember having a family emergency happen at one point during lecture. I had to hop off and within the same day, I got a message saying, how are you doing? I heard you had to jump off. Is everything okay? Is there anything we can do? They were so quick to ask me what they could do to help. I would have never gotten that at a university. It made me feel more at home.

A College Alternative

I think so many times about being in college for four years for this degree. I thought maybe I could do something with it. I feel like I was wasting more time and money on those things. I spent two years not even really in my major. I felt like I was going to high school 2.0 where I was taking a bunch of math and English classes and science courses.

If I was just out of high school, I wish I had something like [Kenzie Academy programs] to be able to go to straightaway. Just straight out of high school. Because being a little more hyper-focused on something I think made way more sense. I always joke around, the best thing I got out of my college degree was meeting my wife.

Reservations About Tech Education

It was a big leap of faith because I had no tech background. I’ve never even worked with HTML, which is the most basic of coding you can think of. Every website uses that. I couldn’t even tell you what that HTML even did before. So, it was a weird leap of faith, because I didn’t know if I was going to like it. For all I know, I would have gone in and thought, this is too overwhelming. This is stressful on me. So, there was a lot of trust. But what made it even easier was [the Kenzie Team]. The fact that I had someone like my first instructor, who was just such a sweet caring person and so patient.

Family as His “Why”

It was really scary. Going back to school after 10 years and being a dad on top of that. Because I have a little one, I try my best to also do this for her. I want to have something for my family, but I also want to make sure it’s something I’m going to love myself.

To Kenzie Academy

Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me, and not just me, but all the people that are around me. Because not only did you help me, you also helped a lot of people in my life. We’re able to have something better than I thought I ever could have. I never thought I would have a purpose. I never thought I would have a career in something that could actually be used for my family.

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

*This alum graduated from a previous, non-credit bearing, version of the software engineering program.

"You don't just learn how to code, you learn how to get an opinion on code. You're going to be so deep in it."
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