Alumni Stories

Alexander Zimdahl: Persevering Toward a New Career

Kenzie Academy alum coding on laptop while sitting on couch

Alexander’s Story

Alexander Zimdahl needed to find a career that would allow him to live more comfortably — where his kidney health could begin to improve. He already had a Bachelor of Science in Game Design but he hadn’t had the opportunity to do much with it. There isn’t much demand for game developers where Alexander was located and moving to another city was expensive and ultimately not an ideal option. If Alexander was to start getting better, he’d need to find a new way toward tech.

As an Amazon employee, Alexander had access to Kenzie Academy Career Choice — tech training programs for the Amazon workforce. So, he decided to give it a try.

“I saw that they were offering the frontend portion there so I decided I could use that to re-enter into what I wanted to do.”

In the past, when trying to enter the tech field, Alexander had difficulty answering questions about what he had done since he had graduated from university. His lack of experience meant he felt he had little to show any potential employers.

“I needed something else to add to that answer. So logically to me, it was like I took an extra course that further developed my skills.”

Once Alexander started his program, he noticed just how well the lessons were flowing. He feels like the curriculum was very well thought out.

“It seemed to flow very well going from HTML into CSS, into JavaScript and into React. That merge really was pretty helpful and useful.”

Alexander also felt the immediate impact his instructor had on his progress. The relationship he was able to build with his instructor and peers made classes more fun and allowed for concepts and skills to have a rich environment to develop and grow. But almost as soon as Alexander began his program, his health took a turn.

“All through the course, I was going through different types of dialysis. I started with hemodialysis because my body had just shut down and then moved into peritoneal dialysis.”

“It was a lot harder when I was on hemodialysis … It felt like I got hit by a truck at the end of the day and I was pretty much done for the rest of the entire day. So there were a couple of times I did have to go into class and I would, I just felt out and I would have to lay on the table.”

Working through his program while getting dialysis treatments was no easy feat, but Alexander made it work with perseverance and plenty of support.

“Luckily, because I had a lot of disability, I was able to go home a lot because I couldn’t physically work. Then of course doing the Career Choice, Amazon works with you on your schedule. So they were able to help me do the schedule as well as put me on the easier labor. A less labor-intensive job.”

Today, Alexander is a software engineer at, a business intelligence platform. It’s a new career filled with new opportunities and benefits unlike any he had ever experienced.

“Probably the biggest perk is personal freedom. I work from home a hundred percent. The pay is really nice. It’s definitely changed my lifestyle from the past 28 years when I struggled financially and was just always paycheck to paycheck.”

Alexander knows better than anyone just how difficult the road to his new career was. When he felt exhausted, it was the education and potential new future that became the “light at the end of the tunnel.”

“It gave me the desire to want to have better health as well as a desire that I could have a better career and a better lifestyle if I pushed forward and I didn’t give up and that this wasn’t the end.”

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