Per Scholas' training was the challenge that, at the end of the day, got me closer to my dreams.
Business Analyst and Developer
Omari Brown is from the Greater Atlanta area and had a longstanding interest in technology prior to enrolling at Per Scholas. However, after graduating from high school, he had looked into his options and found that college and training programs were out of his financial ability. Working as a valet and parking attendant, he heard about Per Scholas from a friend, applied, and was accepted to the Software Engineering course in spring 2020. “The timing of it in my life was just perfect,” Omari says. “It was during a time when I was just questioning my direction and what I wanted to do versus what I had the ability to do.” He adds that when he initially researched Per Scholas, it seemed too good to be true, offering technical education on par with what he had seen from other tech training programs, and for no personal cost.
Omari reported that his experience in the Software Engineering course was challenging, but rewarding. “It was the challenge that, at the end of the day, got me closer to my dreams,” he says, adding that his instructor helped talk through the material and provided insight into personal and professional challenges. Omari also cites the project-based nature of the course, which didn’t center around ‘multiple choice questions and due dates,’ as being a particular benefit. “I got to build something that I was passionate about,” he says. “I always knew that I wasn’t working towards a test, but creating something.”
Omari also enjoyed Per Scholas’ professional development instruction, integrated weekly into the curriculum and focusing on creating LinkedIn profiles, honing resumes and using interview skills and strategies. “If I had gone to college for six years, I probably would have gotten less career development than I did through three months at Per Scholas,” he says. At the end of the course, he says he was highly confident in himself and his abilities. “In addition to making me feel like I could add value to a company, Per Scholas taught me that there is a lot of unique value in my life experiences that other people might not be able to provide, whether that’s people who didn’t have the same upbringing as me, or people who went to a four year university.”
After graduation, Omari interviewed at Capgemini for a consulting position. He found that the interview strategies he learned at Per Scholas were especially helpful during rounds of multiple interviews. “I remember having printouts of strategies that we had worked on in Career Dev taped behind the computer, making sure that I’m following them,” he remembers. “I know 100% that that was a huge factor in my success in my interviews.” He adds that even now he continues to share interview advice that he learned at Per Scholas.
Omari was offered the position at Capgemini and began in March 2021. “I was in an onboarding class of about 50 people, and of those 50, I was the only one without a college degree,” he remembers. “It was pretty awesome.” Omari has made it a priority to work hard and go the extra mile from his first day on the job. “From day 1 of onboarding, [my motto] has been, all I needed was an opportunity; all I needed was a foot in the door, and I’m going to show you guys why you made the right decision,” he says. Now, he continues to volunteer for every task that needs to be done and was recently promoted within his project, adding Business Analyst to his title in addition to Developer.
With success already achieved in a short time, Omari now hopes to continue to build his skillset and advance in the tech industry. “I heard of Per Scholas as an organization that helps underserved communities, or people who wouldn’t otherwise have those opportunities, and that’s exactly what they were,” he says. “All I wanted was an opportunity to show what I had to offer, and Per Scholas was able to give that to me.”
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Per Scholas is a great program. You come out either certified or with all the knowledge you could have possibly accrued. You have the foundation to be able to succeed. It works for everybody - it’s not something where you need to have a certain skill set before applying.
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