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10 learner stories that will inspire you to code


All across our community, learners are doing amazing things with code. From students assembling the skills they need for the future to workers making huge leaps into technical careers, we’re constantly blown away by the stories we hear.

Here are just a few of the things our learners have accomplished with code this past year. If you’re feeling inspired to start your own journey, check out our full catalog of courses to get started!

Finding meaningful work

When lockdown began in the UK, Bernard decided to make a career change. He started learning code, spending a few hours each day on Skillacademy and completing a number of certifications. From there, he got accepted into a cloud engineering bootcamp, and shortly after started his career in technology.

Today, Bernard works as a junior software developer. His focus is back-end development, building cutting-edge technologies that ensure safe and efficient transportation across the UK train network.

Bernard continues to use Skillacademy whenever he needs to learn a new skill, or get up to speed on a new technology. He tells us:

“Although my free trial of Skillacademy Pro expired, and I have found meaningful employment in technology, I still have, and use, a Skillacademy Pro account. There are a lot of technologies on the platform, and if I need to get used to the syntax of a new language, a short time on Skillacademy is normally my first step. I genuinely enjoy how the topics are taught on the platform.”

Fighting crime with data

Jessica was a furloughed worker who made a unique and inspiring career change — she went from museum curator to crime analyst. Learning data analytics using Python and SQL allowed Jessica to build upon her existing research skills in anthropology and museum research.

Jessica advises setting clear goals for anyone that wants to learn code:

“My advice for anyone starting their coding journey or who have gone through something similar is to form a goal and learn with that in mind. I had a goal of becoming some sort of analyst, preferably a crime or intelligence analyst. I knew analysts needed to know code. And once I started learning, I began to see how code could be used. Believe you can take at least some power back into your life and don’t be afraid to share that you’re learning this with others.”

She also tells us: “I continue to learn and practice code in the custom queries I build or edit in my new job as a Crime Analyst!”

Making leaps in a marketing career

Caitlin is a digital content marketer, who took the opportunity to advance her career by learning to code. She used her time off as a furloughed worker to grow her technical skills in web development.

Confident in her technical knowledge, she landed a new marketing role, where she uses HTML and CSS on a daily basis to create email templates and web pages.

Caitlin shares with us: “Before, I didn’t believe in my technical abilities…Skillacademy made me feel that with practice, I could not only learn the code necessary for web development, but make a career out of my knowledge.”

She also tells us how coding helped her become a more creative marketer:

“I think coding knowledge is always going to make someone an asset to the job market no matter what field, but on a personal level, it’s just fun. I have a more right-brain mind, so I assumed coding would be boring, but it’s allowed me to take my creativity to the next level.”

Growing a consulting business

Maggie is an actor who runs a web design and consulting business. When lockdown began and theaters closed, she decided to focus on learning web development. This meant she could grow her business by offering more services to her clients.

Maggie joined Skillacademy Pro through a scholarship program for workers impacted by COVID-19. “The Skillacademy scholarship allowed me to gain more skills in CSS and HTML, which allowed me to offer more and better services to my clients. My increased skill level gave me more confidence in taking on more complex and larger projects,” she tells us.

What’s Maggie’s advice on learning to code?

“Try not to let the intimidation of the word ‘coding’ stop you! I felt like I wasn’t ‘smart’ or ‘tech-y’ enough for coding for years and years, but after getting through that resistance I found that I really enjoy it! I love puzzles, and coding really exercises that part of my brain. Start slow, stay curious, and continue to practice to get more comfortable. Remember that millions of people have learned this before, so there’s no reason why you can’t as well!”

Taking a growth year to learn code

After graduating high school, Jacob decided to defer and take what he refers to as his “growth” year (instead of a gap year).

During that time, Jacob learned with Skillacademy every day, completed the Data Science Career Path, and joined a data science bootcamp where he became a teaching assistant. He then landed a paid fellowship with the government doing software engineering, and has participated in and won several hackathons.

This year, he’ll be attending Rice University as a freshman. Jacob credits Skillacademy for giving him the direction and opportunity to take a “growth year” and accomplish things he wouldn’t otherwise if he was a full-time student.

“Skillacademy gave me the support I needed when I felt most vulnerable in my learning journey and that’s why I have continued coding throughout the year,” Jacob shares with us.

Before classes start, he looks forward to gaining even more skills with the Front-End Engineer Career Path, the Build Deep Learning Models with TensorFlow Skill Path, the Deploying with Netlify and Heroku course, and Building Python Web Apps with Flask.

Discovering a new path

Thomas majored in music, but wasn’t sure what direction to take his career. He had taken a few computer science classes at his school. But he shares that coding didn’t click for him until he started learning with Skillacademy.

Now he’s declared a CS minor, and feels like he has a leg up in his college courses based on what he learned with Skillacademy. Thomas is graduating this semester, and in less than a year of getting serious about coding, has landed an entry-level job as a programming analyst.

Thomas describes the feeling of taking a new path:

“You can do hard things, especially if you’re interested in it. In my computer science classes, I feel like there are always people that are smarter than me. But just sticking to your own will, and trusting that you’re here, and that you’ve made it to this point — you’ll be able to look back at all your progress. I’ve done the work to get here, so it’s just about believing that you can do something difficult.”

Learning skills for a class project

Jacque, who is studying systems engineering in the Dominican Republic, decided to learn web development for a college project.

As a recipient of the student scholarship program, Jacque tells us: “It came on in a really good moment because I had to work in a Web project and I learned a lot of HTML and CSS that I needed right in the moment.”

Jacque shares that now he’s looking forward to completing the Full-Stack Engineer Career Path.

He also tells us: “What I love the most about Skillacademy is that there are many different ways to learn: reading, watching a video, watching pictures, listening to someone explaining it, practicing what you are learning…Skillacademy literally has them all!”

Preparing for job interviews

Mathias was studying Communication Technology and Digital Security in Norway, when classes moved online. He had more free time on his hands, which he spent on Skillacademy.

Through learning with Skillacademy, Mathias was able to build his portfolio and prepare for job interviews. He applied his new skills in JavaScript and React to create a pathfinding visualizer project. Sharing his journey with employers helped Mathias make a positive impression:

“Using Skillacademy to learn things I normally wouldn’t learn during my studies has really proved helpful, and it proves to those around me that I both have experience, but also am willing to put in the extra effort.”

Mathias shares that he is now making his way through the Learn TypeScript course, and looks forward to starting the Learn C++ course too.

Supporting bioinformatics research

As a high school senior, Ellie was planning to spend her summer doing research at a local lab. When the pandemic hit, her research focus turned instead to bioinformatics.

She applied for the student scholarship program — which awarded 100,000 student scholarships last year — to learn the programming skills she needed for her research. “Coming in with minimal programming experience, I used my Skillacademy scholarship to learn R in the week leading up to my internship,” Ellie tells us.

Within a short time, Ellie was able to apply the skills she’s learned to analyze large publicly-available RNA-sequencing databases, run correlation analyses, and submit her findings to a bioinformatics conference. “Throughout the summer, I returned to Skillacademy to brush up on concepts or learn specific skills that I needed to solve a problem in my code.”

Getting creative with AR/VR

In his last semester of university in Brazil, and having been temporarily laid off from work, Lucas decided to start learning with Skillacademy. He completed the Learn A-Frame course, the Build Deep Learning Models With TensorFlow Skill Path, and the Learn the Basics of Blockchain with Python course — which he says he enjoyed the most.

“When I got back to my job, my employers were really surprised by how I could apply several programming skills on our projects. I ended up creating several VR and AR websites and remodeling the company’s website. Right now we are developing a few projects which use Machine Learning and Deep Learning,” Lucas says.

Currently, Lucas leads the Rio de Janeiro Skillacademy Chapter, hosting virtual meetups for learners in his local community. His future plans include combining his programming skills with his interest in film to pursue a masters in Virtual Production.

“Right now I am looking for more opportunities and means to develop myself. In the meantime I’ll keep my day streak going! Just got past 200 the other day,” Lucas tells us.

Feeling inspired by these stories? Check out our full catalog of courses  to get started on your own journey. To check out more inspiring stories — and to share your own — head over to the Skillacademy Forums.

April 22, 2021

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