Alumni Spotlight Series: A Career-Changing Journey from the Army to Software Development

Tech Elevator’s alumni network continues to grow year after year. With more than 3,000 graduates from our remote and physical bootcamps across the country, there are so many incredible alumni stories to share. Alumni Spotlight Jessica Gorrell

This is a continuation of the Tech Elevator Alumni Spotlight series, in which we highlight some of the exceptional career-changing journeys of our graduates. We hope that these stories will inspire and empower more individuals to make the change they’ve been dreaming about and start their journey into a career in tech.

You can also sign up for one of our virtual Student Spotlight events to hear directly from one of our alumni about their experience with Tech Elevator.

For this post, we sat down with Jessica Gorrell, a 2022 graduate from Tech Elevator’s Cincinnati Campus to ask her about her journey to software development. Keep reading to see how she transformed from an Army supervisor to a full-time software developer in just 14 weeks.

Before: Hit a Career Plateau and Wanted More

Before Tech Elevator, Jessica flew unmanned aircraft (UAV) in the U.S. Army. She was in the Army for seven years and became a supervisor in which she was overseeing a large team in a fast-paced environment. However, after years of service, she found herself wanting to transition into a civilian career path.

That’s when Jessica’s brother-in-law suggested that she try a career in coding, so she began her research. One question she needed to answer was whether or not she should go into a four-year college program or attend a coding bootcamp. After exploring Tech Elevator, she chose the coding bootcamp route.

Jessica said: “Tech Elevator covered everything that I was looking for in a coding program. It teaches you how to code and it helps you with career support and finding a job.” 

During: “Challenging in a Good Way”

Jessica attended Tech Elevator’s Cincinnati Campus starting in May of 2022 and found the program to be “like drinking from a firehose” at times.

She said: “It was a whirlwind, to say the least. It felt like drinking from a firehose, as is expected, but it was challenging in a really good way. The program challenged my mind in ways that I never thought I could be challenged.

I really enjoyed the people [in my cohort]. They definitely helped and my classmates were super supportive and motivating. The instructors and campus staff were very helpful and I felt supported the entire time. They reminded me that I was not the only one who felt lost sometimes and that everyone could lean on each other if they needed it.”

After: Working as a Platform Engineer

Today, Jessica is working as a platform engineer for Procter & Gamble. She feels the only similarities between her old career and the new one are that she’s working on a computer every day and they are both fast-paced. Other than those similarities, they’re very different. She is learning and applying new skills often and feels challenged regularly.

One thing that stands out with her new role is the potential for career advancement. She started with P&G as a cloud apprentice and from there moved into a platform engineer position.

She is looking to become even more proficient with the cloud and build upon her foundational coding skills for future career advancement. Jessica is very happy with her current career trajectory and is focused on learning and developing more skills as a developer. Someday, though, she would like to combine her avionics and software development skills to open up even more career paths.

Jessica’s Advice for Those Considering Tech Elevator

Jessica says: “I’m very happy that I went to Tech Elevator because they give you the full package. Also, be prepared to feel like you’re not the smartest person in the room because you will feel lost, but the important part is that you’re not alone. Just keep in mind that even senior developers feel imposter syndrome and don’t give up. 

There are going to be times when you don’t think this is right for you at all, but you’ll be fine because you have the support you need to get through it. 

You really have to keep pushing through and take the time to ask questions. One of the things that helped me the most during the bootcamp and even now in my current role was that I asked questions and learned how to ask better questions.”

Are you a Veteran ready to transform your career? 

Veterans who are eligible and enrolled in Tech Elevator are able to use VET TEC or GI Bill benefits to help finance the program. For more information on either, visit our VET TEC and GI Bill benefits pages on our website.

Your new future in tech could be yours in as little as 14 weeks. If you’re looking to take the next step in your career and think being a software developer is the path for you, then take our 25-minute Aptitude Test to get started.

Alumni Spotlight - Madey Khurma

Alumni Spotlight Written by Madey Khurma, Tech Elevator’s Former Director of Alumni Relations