The OfferUp x Ironhack Tech Empowerment Scholarship program received thousands of applications when we first launched the program last year and graduates from the school have all received skills that boosted their careers. In this blog post, we take a look at the experiences of two graduates who supercharged their learning after receiving a scholarship.
Space in the program is limited, and scholarships are available on a need and first-come basis, so apply by August 21 for your chance to receive a scholarship to attend one of Ironhack Miami's Remote-Live career-changing courses.
Kellie Parker Switched Careers and Doubled her Annual Income
After hitting a dead-end in her career as a retail buyer, Kellie Parker was ready for a change. She always had an interest in design, and Kellie was inspired by conversation with her sister to pursue her interest and consider UX design. But, the idea of going back to school for an additional two to four years felt daunting. That's when Kellie heard about Ironhack. "My sister is actually a user experience designer, and she got a new job and started working with a girl on her team who went to Ironhack," said Parker. "I was kind of at a crossroads in my life of starting a new job or going back to school. I didn't know what I wanted to do, but when I heard about her story, that inspired me to look into going to Ironhack," Parker says.
Kellie’s sister told her about the OfferUp Tech Career Empowerment Scholarship and she took it as the sign she needed to go after her new dream. "I needed a career change, and the scholarship really motivated me to make the jump," she said.
Today, Kelli is working as a User Experience Designer for an established startup in Orlando and is reaping the rewards of Ironhack's program. "I doubled my income, so I am able to live much more comfortably,” said Parker. “I now have a career that I can grow into. Before, I did not."
Kellie credits her Ironhack instructors and classmates for giving her the confidence she needed to graduate - and excel - in the program. "Hearing other success stories from people coming from non-design backgrounds was probably the most motivating," she said. "The ‘I can do it and so can you’ attitude that other grads had." For anyone considering applying to Ironhack, Parker adds: "It's only nine weeks, so you can do it!"
Juan J. Martinez-Guevara Learned to Code and Uses his Skills as an Immigration Advocate at United We Dream
After graduating from Georgetown with a degree in International Studies, Juan Martinez-Guevara entered the legal field as a paralegal. However, he just couldn't seem to shake his desire to learn to code. "I decided to seriously begin looking into programs in mid-2020," he said. "Eventually, I came across Ironhack and immediately knew it was the ideal program for me."
Ironhack had everything he wanted, a comprehensive and full-stack curriculum, dedicated career services, impressive faculty and staff, and a large and talented alumni base. However, Juan knew that he would need a scholarship to make his dreams a reality. Then one day, as he was sifting through his family's shared email inbox, he came across an email from Ironhack about the OfferUp Tech Career Empowerment Scholarship.
"It was thanks to the OfferUp/Ironhack scholarship program that I ultimately felt empowered to apply and capable of committing to a life-changing coding experience at Ironhack."
Now a graduate of Ironhack's Web Development bootcamp, Juan credits the various forms of support he received at the school, from additional instructions to career guidance to mental health check-ins, for his success. In addition to curriculum support, one key theme across his experience as an OfferUp Tech Career Empowerment Scholarship recipient was the celebration of non-traditional backgrounds and differences.
"As a Latino and undocumented immigrant, being celebrated by program mentors for the potential they saw in me went a long way in making me feel welcome in an entirely new professional field," said Martinez-Guevara.
Juan is now a Texas Advocacy Associate at United We Dream, one of the leading immigrant rights networks in the country, where he uses the technical skills, soft skills, and critical thinking skills he developed at Ironhack. In addition, he's able to utilize his coding knowledge to create efficient ways to streamline projects and workplace applications.
For future students looking into OfferUp Tech Career Empowerment Scholarship, Juan encourages them to take the leap. "If there is a hesitancy about entering the tech field because you feel that you might not be included or represented, I'd say you being there will help change that," he said. "There are so many other people in the field who are trying to do the same thing, and you'll be able to find those people to reassure them that there is a place for you and a place for other people like you."