Alumni Spotlight: A Career Transformation from Banking to Software Development

Tech Elevator’s alumni network continues to grow with each graduating cohort. With more than 3,500 graduates from our remote and physical bootcamps across the country, there are many incredible alumni stories to share. How to become a software developer

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

We also have our virtual Student Spotlight events where you can hear directly from one of our alumni about their experience with Tech Elevator’s coding bootcamp.

For this post, we sat down with Melissa Ferguson, a 2020 graduate from Tech Elevator’s Cleveland Campus and Represent Tech scholarship recipient, to ask her about her journey to software development. Keep reading to see how she transformed from a compliance analyst to a full-time systems developer in just 14 weeks.

Before: Experiencing Burn Out 

Before Tech Elevator, Melissa worked as a senior anti-money laundering compliance analyst in the banking industry. While she enjoyed the data aspects of her job, Melissa found herself feeling burned out by her role and from stress caused by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Melissa heard about Tech Elevator from a friend and always wanted to give coding a try, but never had the opportunity to pursue a career in tech. That all changed when the feeling of burnout became too much. Melissa decided to put faith in herself and her own abilities to start her career-changing journey into tech.

Melissa said: “I always thought about tech and was familiar with Tech Elevator because of friends who went through the program, but it wasn’t until the pandemic and feeling burned out that I gave software development a chance. I knew I didn’t want to go back to school, so I put faith in myself and decided to take the leap into tech.”

“I received Tech Elevator’s Represent Tech scholarship, which was life-changing.”

During: “A Community-Driven Experience”

Melissa attended Tech Elevator’s Cleveland Campus starting in the Fall of 2020 and found the sense of community from the students, instructors and staff to be incredible.

Melissa said, “The program was awesome and I loved it! It wasn’t in person because of the pandemic, but that wasn’t a problem. From day one, another student asked a group of us if we wanted to make a Discord server and the rest is history. The community in the program was incredible. Even to this day, we all still stay in touch with each other.”

After: Finding a Career and Community in Tech 

Today, Melissa is working as a systems developer for Quadax, Inc.. Her journey to this role started as an infrastructure engineer with another company, which she says highlights the importance of utilizing the skills students learn in the Pathway Program for career advancement.

Tech Elevator is the start of your journey in tech–don’t let your first job after the program be the end of that journey. Keep learning, keep growing your network and keep pursuing your next goal.

When asked about her thoughts on the tech community, Melissa said: “It’s a lot healthier of an environment and very neuro-divergent friendly. The tech community is so accommodating. Working in this industry makes me feel like a person instead of just another employee. There is so much appreciation for people who don’t fit the mold and the community is open to differences.”

Melissa’s Advice for Those Considering Tech Elevator

Melissa said: “Don’t be afraid, it’s absolutely worth it! We all enter the program at different parts of our life and Tech Elevator is very understanding of our individual journeys. The program is very good at taking your background and skills from your previous career and helping you showcase them for your new career. You might not feel like you’re good enough – imposter syndrome is normal – but the Pathway directors will help you through that, too. There’s so much support in the community of students, instructors and staff.”

“Your network increases exponentially from Tech Elevator. I have people reaching out to me asking for advice and how to get started. They feel burned out and want to take the leap. They need change and Tech Elevator can help them achieve that.”

Women are eligible for Tech Elevator’s Represent Tech scholarship.

Did you know that women are eligible to apply for Tech Elevator’s Represent Tech scholarship? Women are currently an underrepresented group in tech and as such are eligible to apply! If selected, scholarship recipients get $13,175 of their Tech Elevator tuition cost covered.

Learn more about this life-changing Tech Elevator scholarship on our scholarship page.

Ready to Kickstart Your Own Career Transformation? 

Your new career in tech could be yours in as little as 14 or 30 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.

how to become a software developer - Madey Khurma

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