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Apprentice Success Stories: Chenxi, Peter, and Lainey

Apprenti is proud to help talented individuals get certified in today’s most in-demand tech jobs. Here, in their own words, apprentices share their career successes and how Apprenti helped them along the way.

If you are inspired by these stories to take the first step on your pathway to a new career in technology, learn more about our application process here.

Name:

Chenxi Wang

Current Occupation:

Software Developer 1

How did you first learn about Apprenti?

I first learned about Apprenti when I participated in a virtual career event. There, I had the opportunity to speak directly with some of the Apprenti staff and to learn about Apprenti. I was very interested in the program. And then I applied for it.

What impact has Apprenti had on your career?

Before Apprenti I could never believe I could become a software engineer one day. I don’t have a Computer Science degree. Apprenti truly transformed my tech career path and more importantly, built my faith that I could do great things as a software engineer. Also, Auriana, my Apprenti contact, is very helpful and supportive. When I face any issues and ask her any questions, she always gets back to me with very insightful answers.

Would you recommend Apprenti?

I would recommend Apprenti to those who are seriously thinking about changing their career path. Applicants should be aware of the commitment!

Name:

Peter Staker

Current Occupation:

Software Development Engineer I at RealSelf

What were you doing before Apprenti?

I graduated from the University of Washington with a Philosophy degree and spent several years working as a bartender before I decided to try my hand at programming. I attended UW’s full-stack web development boot camp, but getting interviews was nearly impossible without prior experience, so I ended up working as a UPS driver. I assumed that employers didn’t think I had the skills or experience to be a productive engineer, so I continued studying and scoured the internet for opportunities to further my education or get my foot in the door. I stumbled across Apprenti and it seemed perfect for me. I had found an opportunity to continue learning without incurring any more debt and to gain professional experience with a credible company. It seemed too good to be true.

After an hour or two of reading everything I could find about the program, I decided to give the assessment a try. I scored fairly well on my first attempt, but I wasn’t satisfied. It had been several years since I had taken any math courses and I knew I could score higher in that section if I studied the concepts behind the questions that I had missed. I gave it another attempt and I was able to improve my score.

How has Apprenti impacted you?

Before Apprenti, I was struggling financially. When the pandemic started, I was out of work because the restaurant I worked at was forced to close. I couldn’t collect unemployment because I had worked reduced hours for six months to attend UW’s full-stack web development boot camp. I couldn’t afford to pay my rent anymore and I moved into my sister and her husband’s home, so I could get back on my feet. The room I was sleeping in doubled as her office during the day, since the pandemic forced her to work from home. I ended up getting hired as a UPS driver and started saving for an apartment. I was delivering packages on New Year’s Eve when I got a call from Apprenti inviting me to interview with RealSelf. After a successful interview, I received an offer to participate in the program and I knew that my life would never be the same. My sister and brother-in-law were kind enough to give me a free place to live while I attended the technical training. During OTJ training, I was able to start renting a house. Having my own space and being self-sufficient again is an incredible feeling.

Thanks to Apprenti, I should be able to buy my own home sometime next year. Apprenti allowed me to regain my financial independence and allowed me to gain the skills and experience to achieve my dream of becoming a software engineer. The entire experience has given me a renewed sense of hope and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store. I know that I couldn’t have achieved this without the help of everyone along the way. Even though I’m busy with my new role, l have been donating my time to tutor a boot camp student on a weekly basis, and I have helped connect several boot camp grads with recruiters because everyone could use a little help sometimes. Everyone at Apprenti and Realself believed in me, took a chance on me, and gave me the helping hand I needed to change my life forever.

Would you recommend Apprenti?

Absolutely. I have suggested it to several people thinking about a career change, several students and grads looking to get their foot in the door, and even just friends of mine that I believe would make great programmers.

Name:

Lainey Yockey

Current Occupation:

Developer Apprentice at Wolfe LLC

What were you doing before Apprenti?

I was working as a Communications Manager at a nonprofit here in Pittsburgh. I got into that position through AmeriCorps so I taught myself how to do the job from the ground up with great success.

How has Apprenti impacted you?

In my previous role, I couldn’t see a path to advancement that didn’t involve taking out more student loans for a Master’s degree, and that wasn’t financially feasible for me. Apprenti has given me the path to career advancement that I’ve been searching for. If you told me two years ago that I’d be learning how to code and build out websites, I’m not sure if I would believe you. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for the longest time, but outside of dabbling with learning online, I never thought I’d have the resources to learn it well enough to secure a full-time job. I’m thankful to Apprenti and my employer Wolfe LLC for making this possible for me.

Would you recommend Apprenti?

I would highly recommend Apprenti. In fact, I already have. I talked to my sister Jessica about it and she actually applied and was accepted in the following cohort. It’s been great to see her learn and advance in her journey. I’ve also talked to another friend about Apprenti and she may apply as well. 

Lainey was recently featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which you can check out here.

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