Although 2020 has been challenging, we wanted to end the year on a positive note and take a look back at all the things that went well!
Here at Skillacademy, there’s nothing we love more than hearing about the amazing things our learners are accomplishing with code. And in 2020 we were absolutely blown away by the awe-inspiring stories shared with us. We’ve heard stories of people that used more time at home as the opportunity to learn a new skill and change careers, stories of students building skills for the future, Skillacademy for Teams customers learning to code to advance in their careers, and more.
These are just a few of the many inspiring things our learners achieved with code this year. To check out more 2020 wins — and to share your own — head over to the Skillacademy Forums.
Code can be the catalyst.
Some of the biggest wins of the year were the result of starting with a small, bite-sized goal. Ioannis, a Skillacademy learner in Greece, shared his inspiring story with us in the Skillacademy Forums. “My goal was to start learning a new language and get at least one certificate,” Ioannis shared. In the end he ended up earning 20 certificates!
Outside of earning 20 certificates, Ioannis tells us that his biggest win of 2020 was “being able to think of an idea and build it using knowledge. I learned so much by trying to turn my idea into an actual program, and courses from Skillacademy gave me a solid background to achieve it!”
Code can reshape.
We met Jessica earlier this month after she shared her amazing career change story. “In the past 11 months,” she wrote on Medium, “I have gone from total tech luddite to functioning junior software engineer.”
Jessica started learning with Skillacademy in January and, when the pandemic hit, she decided to give learning to code a serious shot. “I decided to really commit to it for the next month. I said if I like it I’ll keep going; if I don’t, that’s fine — and I loved it.”
“I had so many moments where I’d be hitting my head against the wall trying to understand and then I would finally understand and it was so rewarding.” It was those small moments that had the biggest impact and kept Jessica going. What’s Jessica’s goal for 2021? She’s preparing for interviews and looking forward to being hired as a web engineer in the medical or health industry.
Code can reinvent.
Skillacademy community member Regina went from working in the classical music world, as a piano teacher to landing a job as a software engineer in 2020. We interviewed her earlier this year and she shared advice for others thinking about making a career change. Check out Regina’s advice in the video below.
Since we last spoke with Regina, she’s taken on a job in Operations at a company called On Deck. She tells us, “My technical background + strong experience with being a previous founder led me to this role and I’m so happy in it!”
“My 2021 goal is to become better at no-code products,” Regina shared. “But everyone knows that having a strong understanding of programming helps you use these powerful tools even better.”
Code can empower.
At the end of November, Michael shared an inspiring post in the Skillacademy Community Facebook group. “A year ago, I started on a coding journey with Skillacademy. I’ve practiced a little every day for a whole year. I am glad that I signed up for a yearly Skillacademy Pro subscription. You’ve given me more confidence in my new skills and have improved my life.”
Code can open doors.
Community member Rosita shared the story of how she became interested in coding in the Skillacademy Forums earlier this year:
“About 4 years ago I started a blog about living with cerebral palsy, because I had just quit my bachelor study social work and I didn’t know what to do next. I was getting treatment in a rehabilitation center because of cerebral palsy and found out I couldn’t become a social worker anymore. But I liked blogging and I learned to type blind with just my left hand.”
“Through blogging, I discovered I liked the technical stuff behind my self-hosted WordPress website and in November 2017 I became a free member at Skillacademy and started to learn the basics.”
In 2020, when lockdown began, Rosita decided to sign up for Skillacademy Pro and really focus on learning. She tells us she decided, “If I don’t invest in myself, I’ll never learn to code.”
Half a year later, Rosita shared a major milestone with the community. “I have found a work experience position! This is similar to an internship because I am on a reintegration trajectory. I am going to work as a front-end developer at a marketing agency.”
Rosita is now working as a front-end developer eight hours a week. In 2021, she tells us, she looks forward to getting even more work experience. “I have achieved a lot this year and I want to continue to do the same next year.”
Code can advance.
Learning code can be an opportunity to get started in a new career, but it can also be an opportunity to advance in the career you’re already in. Back in October, Skillacademy community member Anicius shared a post in the Forums about his journey from Technical Consultant to joining the development team at his company.
“After finishing university, I was offered a job at a big software development company. My first work there was as a Technical Consultant, but because I was always fascinated by software development it was the perfect opportunity to learn how everything fits together. In 2020 after COVID-19 hit, we were forced to work from home, so I had more spare time and I have joined Skillacademy Pro, which has really changed my life.”
“After 7 months of learning every day here at Skillacademy, reading books, and trying my own projects, I was given the opportunity from the head of development to join the development team because they were amazed how much I was able to learn in such a short time.”
Code can bring teams together.
Calli is a Product Manager at Paradox, a Skillacademy for Teams customer. She and a group of PMs that she works with started their own coding group at Paradox during the pandemic.
“Having a basic understanding of code and the technical aspects, you’re able to ship higher quality products,” Calli shared with us. “You’re able to think through problems in a different way and have a better understanding of what’s possible.”
“Being able to speak the same language is very helpful [when working with Engineering teams],” Calli says. But that’s not all. The coding group has also given Calli a way to bond with her fellow-PMs during the pandemic. “It’s been super awesome,” she tells us. “It’s kind of that distraction away from everything that’s happening and it’s a good opportunity to get together and have a couple laughs.”
Code can create opportunities.
Bryan was a recipient of a free 3-month Pro membership, donated by new Pro members as part of a campaign in the Spring to help those whose work was affected by COVID-19. Bryan shared in the Forums that the Pro membership has “opened my life to so many opportunities.”
“About 3.5 months ago, I began my web development course path when I found out I was laid off from my Sales career in San Francisco. I really enjoyed solving all the course work and eventually, it came to a point where I could converse with my peers about coding. This led to a minor mentorship with a close friend who is a senior web developer. Next, were ideation meetings and through this whole process, I was able to find something I was passionate about; technology, entrepreneurship, and food.”
In July, Bryan and his partners launched a marketing campaign, got users to their website, and successfully transacted orders. “This is a great feeling, a small win,” Bryan shared. “I know this path isn’t guaranteed, but I know I have more tools in my belt to proceed forward.”
Code can connect.
Here at Skillacademy, one of our biggest wins of 2020 was getting to connect with our learners — and watch as you’ve shared your own experiences and advice and inspired one another.
Back in October, Community member Ella shared a reflection on her own 35-day streak. Ella began learning back in the Spring when quarantine began. “Navigating a whole new lifestyle was a challenge to say the least. I ended up being very lucky to have the ability to work from home. With the extra time I gained back from commuting to and from work I knew it was the perfect time to explore taking classes in coding.”
Ella signed up for the 30-day challenge and, in the end, completed a 35-day streak. In her reflection, she shares:
“Overall, my experience has been really positive and fulfilling. I’ve gotten to start the journey of sharpening my skills, connect with people who are also interested in coding and get into a groove of making coding a regular part of my schedule.”
“This is only the beginning and I am truly looking forward to learning so much more. With the skills I learn, I hope to continue infusing them into my current full-time role and work on projects of my own. For anyone just starting out, Skillacademy is a great place to call home and get started.”
What was your biggest win of 2020? Head over to the Skillacademy Forums and share it with us!