Alumni Stories

Katrine Jackson: Discovering A Career Path in IT With Kenzie Academy

In January 2020, Katrine was working for Amazon and wanted to transfer into the IT department. She had experience in web design, which she enjoyed. So, she took advantage of her employee tuition benefits — an opportunity that helped her take the next step toward a different career path.

She had picked out an institution, a program, and even her classes when she was informed she would have to wait due to an issue with her credits. It was then that she heard about Kenzie Academy from a coworker and decided to find out more.

“Well, I went to the information session. That was really helpful,” she says. “I’ve designed a whole two websites before and that was fun. I was like, OK, I can go ahead and do this.”

When it came to tech education, Katrine didn’t want to commit to something that would take years to complete — she wanted her journey to be rewarding, but also convenient and online. This made Kenzie Academy’s Amazon Career Choice program the right option for her and something that proved helpful when the pandemic struck.

“I started, I think it was March or April of 2020, right before COVID hit and the classes were online. So it was perfect for me … I could do [my education] at home.”

At Kenzie, Katrine appreciated that her instructors were always determined to help her expand her knowledge.

“[My instructor] was teaching us things that you probably wouldn’t learn in a regular web class, or web designing, and all of that. He was teaching us things, and I was like, OK, it clicked,” she revealed.

“He’s been all over the world, and it seems like he’s done everything related to IT. He’s this super nerd that we all aspire to be.”

Kenzie’s sense of community made a strong impression on Katrine as well. When she was experiencing a tough personal stretch and needed support, the Kenzie Family did not hesitate to provide it by reaching out to ensure she was well and encouraging her to keep moving forward.

“When I got stuck on my own work, well, because I got behind too, [my instructor] came in and tutored me and helped me and brought me right back up to speed.”

Right off the bat, Katrine noticed something else that was different and refreshing about Kenzie Academy. Unlike the traditional tech setting, Kenzie offered a more diverse classroom environment full of people from all walks of life.

“First, I was like, OK, I’m going to be in here with a bunch of guys. Because that’s usually what tech is. But I wasn’t in there with a bunch of guys. It was nice to see young ladies, older ladies, older men, younger men of different nationalities.” – Katrine Jackson, Kenzie Alum

This diverse setting, thriving with people from different backgrounds, may have given the impression that close connections would be difficult to come by, especially in an online environment. But this wasn’t the case for Katrine and her cohort.

“As we were getting ready for our final, our group became so close. We started joking with each other and that’s what it was about. To me, it was all about just getting close enough that even if we were just squares on the monitor, we felt comfortable enough to be a family at the end.”

After learning to code and graduating, Katrine continued to receive support from Kenzie. Her counselor was integral in making her feel more comfortable with non-coding jobs and helping her discover where she wanted to take her career.

“She helped me see what I wanted to do. I was more customer-focused, more customer service-focused, like the customer success manager or something like that — still in the coding IT field but not actually being a coder.”

The support made an impact on Katrine’s life and she continues to recommend Kenzie to anyone who asks her if they should do the same.

“If you’re deciding to do this and you are asking me this question, it’s because you’re ready to advance your life. Go ahead because Kenzie is about the best program out there.”

Katrine is currently working in IT at Finish Line where she provides customer-facing software support and maintains the company’s hardware

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