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A Person, A Phone Call, and A Class That Changed My Life

Tellina Oakford, Dec, 19 2019 | 2 min read

  
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I started my tech journey with no real direction and not a lot of previous experience. Before I started this, the last “techie” class I’d taken was Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. If you haven’t heard of it, I’ll wait while you Google it. But I knew I wanted to get out of my former career and had started self teaching some HTML and CSS through online resources. It was going okay; but I felt like I was missing something. My husband recommended that I go to a few Meetups in the area and see if I could connect with industry professionals and maybe get some insight. 

My first Meetup was with a women in tech group in a downtown co-working space. It was good to meet women who were in the same place I was, but I didn’t feel like I connected with the group. And parking downtown is ridiculous. 

A couple weeks later I attended a Meetup just down the road from my house and I met Gabe from Tech Talent South. Have you ever met a person who completely changed your life? Meet Gabe. Gabe is an amazing human being; he really wants you to do well in life and that shows in all his interactions. He introduced me to other people who were either in the process of changing careers, or had recently done so. Making the change no longer felt so daunting. If these people can do it, I can too. Right? I would leave each Meetup with renewed energy toward my self teaching goals.

I’d gone to a couple of the Coffee and Tech Meetups when I got the phone call that changed everything. “I want to give you the Women in Tech scholarship,” Gabe told me. 

I nearly dropped my phone. A bootcamp would be nice, but I was unemployed and had absolutely no money to put toward it. I got off the phone and I called my mother who immediately told me to do it and she would front me the balance. I sat at my dining room table absolutely dumbfounded. I could do this. I could take the first steps toward really invoking some change. 

The first few weeks of class were hard. I had to put in a lot of extra work to understand the material. I stayed after class to go over the slides again and work through the problems a second - or third - time so I would understand them. When I went home, I would watch YouTube videos on the subject to see how other people were tackling the same problems. 

It paid off. By the time we started building webpages, I understood what I was doing. I was still going back through the slides and rebuilding the webpages a second time when I got home; but I was understanding it. I was even able to help out other students and troubleshoot some of their code as well. 

Remember how I said Gabe was a life changer? Well, he did it again. Tech Talent South held a Company Crawl and Gabe made sure I got my face in front of a recruiter from Accenture. She and I had a good talk and she called me two weeks later to interview for an entry level position at Accenture. If it weren’t for Gabe, that connection wouldn’t have happened.

My experience with the Tech Talent South Full Stack Bootcamp has changed my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s the truth. 

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