“2020 was horrible to a lot of people for a lot of reasons, but for me, it was one of the best years of my life. While a lot of my colleagues were struggling to get work, I was building my skills and searching for a way to get better.”
With grief, debt, and frustrations building, Nyasha decided to make a change and got into coding through MTC.
June 2019 was one of the weirdest moments of my life. I was dealing with the death of my oldest sibling seven months prior. I had just gotten married two months prior, and two days prior to my wedding, I said goodbye to the insurance industry for good.
I had so much on my plate from grief to wedding debt, to just total frustration with life and where it was heading. Life seemed so short and fleeting to me, and I knew I needed to pick up the pieces. If not, I was not going to make it too long in the state I was in. It was then I decided to get into coding.
Coding is thrown around as a fix-all by people these days. Need money? Learn how to code. Want a career? Learn how to code. Feel cursed? Learn how to code. And for a lot of people, it really is. I started looking at a few things on my trusty old HP from freeCodeCamp and Udemy. One of my friends who went through MTC’s TechHire program a year before told me I should look into the program. After a few Google searches and an application, I was accepted to TechHire and on my way to learning how to code.
All the way up until the end of 2019, I worked myself silly trying to get everything down. I was a supervisor for the U.S. Census, so during the day I ran around the state of S.C. making sure my workers in the field were OK and did overtime knocking on the weekend to keep the money coming in. At night after classes, I went over concepts two or three times if I didn’t get it. I kept on working until I got it right, and I refused to stop learning. Reinforcing classwork with books, YouTube tutorials, and Udemy.
And I did pretty well in classes. I kept going until I could figure things out, and even if I didn’t have it 100%, I made sure to at least follow it up. And this time was extremely hard. The day before we started CSS, my brother also passed away. Not even saying goodbye to my other sibling a year ago, I was back to square one. My job was seasonal, so the money ended around the end of October. I was at a loss for so much, but what else could I do? Ambition has always had a hold on me, and with everything I kept losing, I told myself that it was an incentive to gain so much more.
So by the end of December, I was freaking out. I needed to find a job, but I had limited experience. I built up portfolios, but I didn’t have much confidence in them, and I started wondering, “Was this a mistake?”
So I applied to work for IBM. Long-eyed, as my grandmother would say for a baby programmer. However by January 6, I had an offer letter to move to Baton Rouge, LA to work for IBM in an office overlooking the Mississippi River.
I could not believe it. I was jumping for joy because I felt like my hard work was paying off. I ultimately ended up not taking the job as the finances needed to move did not work out. But it fueled a fire in me that could not be stopped. I continued to build more projects, I continued to learn more things on YouTube, and thanks to Midlands Tech, I was given an internship to take my skills even further.
By March, I was offered a Programming II job with the state of South Carolina. Four days after I started, COVID-19 shut down the entire world. They sent me home before I could even put pictures up in my office and put a hiring freeze in place. But I still had a full-time work-from-home programming job.
2020 was horrible to a lot of people for a lot of reasons, but for me, it was one of the best years of my life. While a lot of my colleagues were struggling to get work, I was building my skills and searching for a way to get better. Nothing changed for me, I was still on YouTube, Udemy, and in books trying to get better. I was extremely fortunate and privileged to have income in a year where many people even in the tech sector lost jobs, and I was able to get better.
The day before my 30th birthday in October, I secured a part-time programming job that paid even more than my full time. It gave me the chance to learn newer programming methods and languages. It was rough at first as it is completely remote as well, but I was again fortunate to have a boss who gave me learning opportunities and worked with me. Everything that I went through in 2019 turned around in 2020.
And picking up coding at Midlands Tech was what I have to thank for that.
Sometimes I sit and think about how badly things could’ve gone if I would’ve gone through 2020 with no income or health insurance as I did in 2019. What would have happened if I didn’t have enough income to secure food/TP/disinfectant from the shortages?
And after, I clap because that was not my reality.
I couldn’t be more thankful and proud of everything Midlands did for me, and I’m going to continue to help others as I go. I figure it’s the least I can do and more of what we need in the world.