Jodi “JBJ” Kansagor joined Alchemy about 7 months ago coming from a career where she was primarily engaged with non-profits which required hard work without the financial benefits to match. Watching her go through the program was beautiful to observe. She had a turning point where you could really tell she loved to code, and this was a career she was going to excel at. Her instructors and peers could see it too.
JBJ finished our program in the beginning of March and was immediately interviewing with several places having leveraged her network well. She also authentically showed up as her true self rather than trying to fit into a mold crafted for the ‘job search’ as so many of us can fall into during a career change. JBJShe ended up securing a role as a Software Engineer at Lithia Motors in their new Digital Innovation Team they are building here in Portland. She’ll have the chance to grow her skill-set with an experienced developer on her team too. JBJ stood out to her hiring manager because of her enthusiasm, honesty about what she needs out of this role, and her grit. These are all things we try to empower our students and grads to do and love when it shines through.
We will miss JBJ so much, but look forward to seeing her thrive in this new role. Learn about her experience below!
- What were you doing for work before attending Alchemy? Before coming to Alchemy Code Lab, I was working in fund development and communications for various non-profits. My career had taken a meandering approach, moving from research scientist to general manager of a small business to independent marketing consultant to GIS professional and then all the way to non profit management.
- Had you considered other coding schools? What made you choose Alchemy over the others if so? I was considering other schools, mostly remote options. I decided to come to Alchemy because of the rigorous curriculum, their reputation for being the best in town, and because the atmosphere was almost electric. You could tell whenever you spoke with anyone affiliated with the school how special of a place it was. Everyone was incredibly welcoming. It truly felt like a community.
- When did you graduate and can you expand upon your job search a bit? How long did you actually work on landing a job? I graduated in February of 2020 and will be starting a job on Monday March 30th. I honestly was not expecting to find a job this fast. My tactic was to get engaged. I went to multiple meet ups a month, I asked people in the tech community to have coffee with me and chat about what they did, I networked by butt off. And I tried to stay as to true to who I am as a person as possible. In the end, the job I found was through a contact of Shannon, the Director of Career Services at Alchemy.
- What is your new position? I will be a Software Engineer with Lithia Motors, a large car retail company. I will be part of their small Digital Innovation Group developing an app to help customers schedule remote service for their vehicles. It was initially to work on an App for buying and selling used cars, but the role shifted quickly because of the pandemic situation.
- Can you tell me about the types of technologies and languages you will use in your new role and do you think Alchemy prepared you well to learn/use them? I was hired as a Front End developer, working in React with TypeScript. I feel relatively proficient in React and am super excited that I get to learn from a Senior Engineer with a decade of experience and has been writing React code since it's inception. TypeScript is new to me, but I am very excited to learn and not at all concerned about being able to pick it up. Alchemy taught me how to learn code, first and foremost, so learning a new framework is no big deal.
- Why are you excited about it, and how is it going to impact your life? I can't begin to express how excited I am to start this job. It has been a very long time since I had a job where I was doing something that I enjoyed. I never wanted to work in non profits, I never intended to be a fundraiser. It just sort of happened. I often was able to find things within my jobs that I enjoyed, but I truly love to code. I love solving problems and making things work. Additionally, the salary bump from working for a non profit to working in tech is substantial. That will make a huge difference in my life, especially now during such a weird and unprecedented time.
- What will you miss most about being at Alchemy every day? The biggest thing I miss about not being at Alchemy are the people. It is incredible how fast you can bond with people. I had a wonderful cohort and really truly miss seeing them all every day. I have certainly kept in touch with a lot of them this past month, but there was a certain magic in that classroom, a vibe that we had that felt really special. Each student brought something really awesome to that experience, I definitely miss that.
- If there’s anything you would tell someone considering an education to be a software developer, what would it be? Do it. I wish I had done this sooner. Maybe try taking some free online courses to see if you like it. But don't put it off for years. Figure out how to make it work and make it work. It will be worth it.
- Were your instructors helpful to you? Ryan Mehta and Dani Cairns are sweet angels. And both ridiculously smart and funny. I am so grateful that I got to learn from both of them. Dani was our instructor for Boot Camp 1, and it was their first time teaching at Alchemy. We all learned together. Their humility, grace, and humor made it an incredibly welcoming, but also stimulating and challenging experience. Once we got to Career Track, Ryan was our instructor and everything sort of intensified. The work we were doing got harder, but Ryan is so chill, everything always felt like it was going to be ok. I think the thing that I appreciate the most about learning from both of them was that they are both self taught. Neither of them went to school for computer science. They both, similar to the students at Alchemy, had other experiences and other education before finding and falling in love with coding. They can teach to that experience. I find that very valuable.
Alchemy is still teaching our program, and it's completely remote for now. Same intensive program, in-person instruction by our senior software engineers, and lots of community!