As a single parent, I wasn’t making enough money to afford to go to a coding boot camp. When I found Per Scholas, it challenged me, and though it wasn’t easy, it was worth it. I graduated debt-free and could be an example to my daughter.
Full Stack Software Engineer
The Beginnings of a Tech Career
Today’s 12-year-olds are growing up with technology as an everyday part of their youth. Many already own personal smartphones and tablet devices and are changing the tech industry with every new trend that emerges on social media.
Shante Austin wasn’t much different from today’s youth. Growing up in a small town in Georgia, Shante loved technology, especially computer hardware. When she was twelve, she built her very own computer from spare parts.
A career in computer science and engineering was seemingly taking root. However, during junior year in high school, Shante became pregnant. She dropped out of school yet later acquired her GED. With the birth of her daughter, Shante needed to find work ASAP. She landed an administrative role for a company that presented her with the opportunity to manage its website. Shante really got into the work and wanted to learn more about web management and design. Her passion for technology resurfaced, and she began looking for a way to build her skills and once again jump start her tech career.
A Debt-Free Tech Career
There weren’t many options for Shante to consider. As a single mother working a full-time job, she couldn’t afford the thousands of dollars charged by most coding boot camps. As much as Shante liked her job, her hope for a tech career would require her to pursue additional technical training. She later discovered Per Scholas in an online article and read up on its software engineering course. It seemed too good to be true, she thought, but nonetheless applied and was admitted into the free intensive 17-week training course.
Shante’s parents supported her during this time, helping her with child care while she attended classes every day from 9 am to 4 pm. During the evenings, she would return home to her family and spend time with her daughter. She would then stay awake late through the evening to complete homework and projects. Still, it was all worth it when she was able to graduate without any student loans. “As a single parent, I wasn’t making enough money to afford to go to a coding boot camp. When I found Per Scholas, it challenged me, and though it wasn’t easy, it was worth it. I graduated debt-free and could be an example to my daughter.”
After graduating, Shante continued to practice her software development skills by challenging herself to create an app a day for 30 days using Java and React programming. She would often share some of her efforts on her personal LinkedIn profile. One such post helped to attract an invitation for a speaking engagement at Georgia Tech. From there, she made additional connections that led to her current role as a full-time software engineer in the automotive industry.
Today, Shante is pleased in her new role and delights in encouraging her daughter’s own potential. At eight years old, her daughter attends a charter school that is STEM-related and is already learning how to code. “She pretends to be a scientist and that her bedroom closet is a lab.”
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During my training at Per Scholas there was a ton of support, especially from the other women and other non-traditional learners that also had the same thoughts I had. They told me it’s not too late to go into doing what you really want to do.