Adies share their journey to tech this Giving Tuesday season to inspire future Adies to believe in themselves and get started! Emma made the switch from Software Developer to Technical Support Engineer. Read more about Emma’s decision to stay in tech and how she made the industry work for her.
Currently at GitHub
What motivated you to come to Ada and pursue a role in tech?
My path to Ada was the result of a number of things. I was at a time in my life where I felt I needed to do something more interesting and challenging career-wise. I wanted a career that paid more than what I was making in my entry-level role in Higher Education. I had been a stay-at-home mom for over a decade, and I felt like I really needed something drastic to get to the level I wanted quickly. My background was in Geographic Information systems, but it was not a field that I could get into years after graduating college and with no experience. With that in mind, I started looking at different options, but what turned my attention to tech specifically was that my six-year-old son told me that he wanted to be a programmer. A search for coding resources for him quickly became a career option for me. But I have to say that what ended up being my biggest motivator for choosing Ada were the amazing Adies who had gone through the program and shared their experience and journey with me.
How has Ada made an impact on your life?
There is my life before Ada and my life after Ada, and I am so grateful for what the program and community have done for me. I have a career I love, a great salary, amazing work/life balance, my job is 100% remote, and the hours are flexible. This was made possible through Ada’s program, which led me to my first tech job at Redfin, one of Ada’s awesome sponsors.
What has a career in tech afforded you the opportunity to do for your family and community?
The first thing that comes to mind is financial security. The means to do the things I want for myself and my loved ones and the opportunity to support the non-profits doing work that I deeply care about. Another big perk is time; The company I work for gives unlimited vacation, which means I can take the time I need to travel and spend quality time with my kids when school is out. Working remotely also means staying at destinations longer than I would on a regular vacation to visit with family living abroad. I have grown so much professionally. I am not worried about losing my job because I am confident in my skills and know there are many opportunities for me.
How did you find yourself in your current role as a Technical Support Engineer?
My Ada internship was at Redfin, where I worked as a Software Engineer for two years. Towards the end of my time at Redfin, I realized that software development was no longer something I enjoyed doing. Still, I knew I wanted to keep working in the industry and maintain a similar salary or higher. Based on a conversation with my manager, I started looking for a user-facing technical support role, and that’s how I found my current role at GitHub (and a host of other roles and opportunities I wasn’t even aware existed). My background as a software engineer made me a very desirable candidate, and I was even able to negotiate a higher salary. I absolutely love my job and don’t see myself going back to being a dev, but I know that the opportunity is there should I ever want to. I should also add that I was first introduced to GitHub through Ada’s program since it was the development platform we used in class, so this feels like a full circle to me.
What do you want others out there to know about your Ada story?
I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. The time and energy I put in were all worth it in the end. Ada changed my life for the better in so many ways.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for women and gender-expansive folks in tech?
Be unapologetically yourself!
Any other thoughts you’d like to share about your experience or anything else?
Ada can lead you to so many different careers in tech.
If you’d like to help future students like Emma through their life-changing journeys at Ada, please consider making a donation to our program today.
It’s only through your support that our students can change their lives and diversify the tech industry from within! Mark your calendars for November 30th to join our #Increasethe3percent campaign this Giving Tuesday!