Alumni Stories

Kenzie Alum Transformation Stories: See Their Before and After Pictures

Kenzie Academy Alum before as a painter and after as a coder

Call it a transformation.

Kenzie Academy is a place where people come to transform their lives, embarking on a journey to pivot and pursue a new professional path. Our grads have diverse experiences and come from various jobs, like math teacher, delivery driver, Uber driver, and legal assistant. Then after watching YouTube videos on software engineering or learning to code on the side, former Kenzie learners made bold life-changing moves and enrolled in Kenzie.

Meet four grads who did just that! We’re sharing their transformation stories and snapshots of their life before and after Kenzie.

4 Kenzie Academy Alum Transformations

  • Aspiring Artist to UX Designer and Web Developer

    before and after of artist to ux designer

    It was Tanner Lemon’s passion to take a paintbrush to a blank canvas, creating beautiful masterpieces. An aspiring artist, Tanner’s pursuit to become a painter wasn’t panning out as he would have liked. At the time, he was trying to support his family and needed to find a source of income that would enable him to do so.

    Tanner always loved apps and technology and saw UX design as a way to both express his creativity and build a more stable career. So, he took the first step with Kenzie Academy, which gave him “a bridge to another path in life.” Unfortunately, personal circumstances didn’t make the transition an easy one. But he persevered and with Kenzie on his team, he never quit and finished school. Today, Tanner is designing and building websites and software apps full-time for a number of businesses. He’s a tech guy, but don’t worry, he hasn’t let go of his passion and still works on his art on the side.

  • Professional Brewmaster to Software Engineer

    Before and after of brewmaster to software engineer

    Kevin Clark’s story starts in construction, which collapsed in 2009 with the housing bubble burst, and his job subsequently collapsed as well. He moved on to finish his degree and while in school learned how to brew beer. Kevin then became a professional brewmaster, building two breweries in Minnesota and remodeling another in California. It was a lot of fun, but he reached a point where he wanted change — something that’s less labor intensive with a better pay grade.

    Motivated by the need for flexibility as a parent and wanting to travel, Kevin saw a future in software engineering. Today he works for Relevant Developments managing websites, developing mobile apps, and building new features. The now software engineer credits Kenzie for helping him develop the technical ability and communication skills to take on this role — as he works his way up from there.

  • Amazon Associate to Junior Technical Sourcer

    Before and after from amazon worker to technical sourcer

    After working at Amazon in multiple roles for nearly five years, Samantha Yanas was ready to advance. She applied to many internal positions, but without much success, she decided to take a manager’s advice and look in the Amazon Career Choice program.

    You could say she took a chance on enrolling in the Web Development program. “I jumped in with both feet, scared to fail and waste my time and energy.” Like all learners, Samantha pushed through self-doubt but was so thankful she didn’t give up. Just two days after graduation, she landed her first interview after submitting a number of applications and received a job offer within a week. “When I graduated, I can’t even explain the happiness in my heart.” Samantha kicked off her career as a Quality Software Engineer with Piñata and then moved onto SiteRX as a Junior Technical Sourcer, and is taking advantage of new opportunities that come her way.

  • Formerly Incarcerated to Dropbox Contingent Worker

    Before and after of inmate to contingent worker at dropbox

    Manny Ledoux ended up getting involved with the wrong people and doing the wrong types of things. He spent the later half of his twenties incarcerated for one reason or another. The last time he got out, he needed to make a change: “This isn’t the life for me.” It was a journey that led him to Kenzie — working at a sign shop in the Sacramento county jail and signing up for community college where he took a C++ course and discovered a passion for working with computers. Then schools shut down due to the pandemic, and Manny discovered Kenzie through Facebook while literally being dripped on doing plumbing work.

    Fast forward to today and Manny is now a contingent worker at Dropbox, an opportunity he found through an apprenticeship. It was through Kenzie’s training that Manny was well-prepared for the workforce. “My personal experience at the school was absolutely amazing.” And since he’s in a field he’s so excited about, his career path will be just as incredible.

These alums know firsthand what it feels like to want to find a career with more financial stability and flexibility, to grow and advance, and to turn their life around. They also know firsthand what it feels like to achieve their goal and turn that career into a reality.

So, if you’re wondering if you have what it takes to do the same — dare to think yes. We’d love to hear what you’re doing now and talk about where you could be in just one year from now. Apply now and one of our Admissions Counselors will reach out to start the conversation!

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