Alumni Stories

My Experience as Part of the Kenzie Family

kenzie academy student typing code on laptop

PLEASE NOTE: Kenzie Academy no longer offers Income Share Agreements as a financial option. If you would like to learn more and better understand what options are available please click HERE.

photo of Jack DetkeCurious about what it’s like to be a learner at Kenzie? Current learner Jack Detke gives us a peek into his journey. 

When I decided to come to Kenzie Academy, I knew I was taking a leap of faith.  I had just graduated from a traditional public college with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing, and I was having serious trouble finding a job that suited my interests and skillsets. Despite having a very creative mindset, I also have a very analytical and hands-on learning style. I also knew that going to college again would be a drain on what little time and money I had left before I needed to find a job.

As it turned out, Kenzie was the solution to my problems, and now I have already earned the first of my two certificates (in Front-End Software Development; I still have to earn my Back-End Software Development certificate, and plan to do so) now that my year-long stay at Kenzie is half over. I feel like I’ve made massive strides toward finding my niche in the workforce as a Software Engineer, and I think said profession suits my interests, skillsets, learning styles, and long-term career goal of becoming a computer programmer of some kind. I am not certain of my goals entirely right now, but I have always been interested in computer games and how they work, so I am considering trying to make it into that industry. Kenzie is helping me realize my long-term goals more and helping me actualize them.

In addition, Kenzie’s year-long program is short enough that I feel like I have more time to spend looking for a job than preparing for one, while its curriculum is packed into the 12 months in a way that it’s akin to completing 2 years of a traditional college education. In more ways than not, I’ve learned more in my 6 months’ time here at Kenzie than I did during the majority of my prior college education. In addition, their innovative ISA (Income Share Agreement) option for helping learners pay off their tuition later on once they’ve landed a well-paying job has saved me a fortune and prevented me from going into debt.

It’s also worth mentioning that I had some prior experience coding at my public college I went to as a Media Arts and Science major. I learned just the bare basics of HTML (Hyper-Text Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and the JavaScript programming language over the course of two years. At Kenzie, I learned much more than just the basics of those front-end software development programs, as well as knowledge on how to use other toolsets, such as command-line interface applications and industry-preferred packages used to enhance JavaScript programs like React and Redux. Trust me when I say that all of what I just said will make much more sense if you enroll in the Software Engineering program at Kenzie.

Overall, the Kenzie experience was not at all like the experience I had at the public college. While I enjoyed my stay at my first college, I felt like I didn’t get the support I needed to prepare me for entering the workforce. Not only that, but the massive amount of people going to such a huge school was intimidating, and made it hard to get access to the resources I needed to succeed since they were in such a scarce supply compared to the demand for them. I also struggled to make friends there due to how many people went to school there, and the fact that I have autism and bad social anxiety definitely didn’t help.

None of those issues came up for me at Kenzie. Due to Kenzie’s smaller, more intimate campus size, I was able to get access to the resources I needed to learn how to code. The sheer amount of coaches, facilitators, and support team members that were available to help support me if I needed help understanding some part of my schoolwork (or if other factors in my life got in the way of my schoolwork) were critical for learning how to code. While they were super helpful when I got stuck on certain aspects of the coursework, their “teach a person to fish” approach to education worked so that they weren’t holding my hand and doing the work for me. Instead, they showed me how to get the work done myself using the toolsets available while merely guiding me along the way.

Part of what I’ve enjoyed the most during my time at Kenzie is being able to make so many friends with learners, both ones located on campus and ones working remotely. The need to make connections in the industry is important, and that support is there, but it was being able to be part of such a friendly, diverse, and inclusive community definitely that helped me feel more confident in my own skin (especially since I’m known to be a bit of a goofball sometimes due to my bizarre sense of humor).  In my opinion, this helped me more than any practice I got doing interviews for various jobs I had no interest in.

Overall, my experience at Kenzie has been incredibly positive, and I would absolutely recommend becoming a part of the Kenzie family if you’re interested in getting into the Software Engineering or User Experience Engineering as Kenzie offers programs for each. Kenzie offers a much better experience preparing you for the workforce while helping you enjoy yourself along the way than a traditional college experience by focusing on a curriculum that will help you learn the important skills and toolsets you’ll need going into a job – while not bothering or wasting your time with pointless elective classes.

As a result, provided you dedicate time and effort to your schoolwork, the odds are in your favor that you’ll get a great-paying job in a field you enjoy and feel comfortable in thanks to the knowledge you’ve acquired over your time at Kenzie. I imagine if you’re reading this, you might be a little skeptical of all this. Believe me when I say I was in the same boat when I was deciding whether or not to go to Kenzie Academy and believe me when I say now that it’ll be worth it. Going in I wasn’t even sure if I would be a good Software Engineer. Now I am sure, and I’m sure you’d be a great one as well.

Ready to jumpstart your career as a UX Designer or Coder? Learn more about our 12-month Software Engineering and UX design programs, or check out our free beginner’s coding program Kenzie Free.

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