In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’ve introduced you to numerous women who are balancing their dedication to re-skilling, growing their careers and the demands of everyday life. Marcy Bursac has successfully made a mid-career change in the midst of raising a family.
When Marcy realized she wanted greater balance in her work-life schedule to allow for more time with her kids and husband, she was faced with a dilemma about her career. She took the time to reimagine what she had done previously, and what she could do next. Over the course of a year, she enrolled in an intensive local tech program, the Udacity Front End Nanodegree program, and became involved in the local tech community. Her experience is marked by motivation, dedication, and hard work. We recently chatted with Marcy to learn how she changed the direction of her career in the midst of an active personal life.
Thank you for chatting with us, Marcy! Can you start by telling us a little about your educational and professional background?
Hi Caroline! As we chat, I am in my home studio having just finished the final assignment for my first MBA course, Accounting. Milestones are so fun!
After receiving an undergraduate degree, I began work in a non-profit pediatric clinic. I was immediately taken with non-profit work, and thus began an incredibly meaningful chapter in my life. I spent the next 12 years working with several organizations on behalf of underserved populations such as individuals who were homeless and individuals who were unemployed or under-employed. It was during my time with one organization, Dress for Success Midwest, that I learned about the underrepresentation of women in various STEM-related fields. I was intrigued.
At the same time, a friend of mine worked at MasterCard Foundation, and we were able to collaborate to create a local non-profit tech program with the mission of aiding single moms to rapidly propel their career into tech jobs, to achieve a living wage much more quickly than through a traditional college degree. Seeing women who had never coded building their own program over just a few short weeks, I found my own interest in the tech sector, coding, in particular, growing. In the evenings, I began a free online program which lasted a few lessons until I was lost and I totally put that wild idea to the wayside.
This year, we are honored to celebrate Women’s History Month throughout the month of March and International Women’s Day on March 8 by introducing you to three of our students. In keeping with this year’s International Women’s Day theme of “balance for better,” we hope you find inspiration in each student’s journey, and their ability to balance busy lives with their desire to progress in their career and better the balance of women in tech roles.
Flavia Izquierdo began her career as a software engineer. She excelled in the role, working for a number of exciting companies in Spain and Germany. But, after six years in the industry, she began to feel unfulfilled with her work.
“I just didn’t feel like it was interesting enough and I wanted to change, but my next thought was—what can I do? I’m not that young.”
At the same time, Flavia had to consider what would be more fulfilling? One of her first thoughts: data. Whenever her projects involved working with data, she found herself drawn to the possibilities and conclusions one could draw. She let this interest lead her. After researching data analyst jobs and looking for relevant online learning options for gaining these skills, Udacity’s Data Analyst Nanodegree program stood out.
“It just felt right. The structure, the projects, content…and the fact that you started from the very beginning and built analytical skills from the base all the way up to data wrangling—it seemed like a program that gave you a well-rounded set of skills.”
As her passion for data grew, she realized trying to balance data study and work didn’t feel right for her. She wanted to invest even more time in the program, so took the leap and quit her job as a software engineer. Flavia spent the next six months steadily learning the industry skills she had seen on numerous data analyst job descriptions.
Since 2016, more than 73,000 people across Europe have explored new career opportunities with the Google Developer scholarship; 21% have already landed new jobs in tech.
Since Google and Udacity first launched the groundbreaking Grow with Google scholarship in late 2016, an astounding 73,000 scholars from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa have learned new cutting-edge skills in a range of Udacity’s programs. It’s an incredible figure that provides a real insight into the positive gains Google and Udacity’s initiative is making to address the digital skills gap in Europe. Most importantly, it has supported many individuals to learn new skills, grow their careers, and change their lives. This is a part of Google’s program called Grow with Google, a series of training, tools and events to equip people with the skills they need to succeed in the digital economy.
20 years of hard-earned experience managing the logistics of military relocations led to a programming career helping other military families move more easily!
While it’s not necessarily thought of as a conventional “career,” 20 years of organizing regular house moves for her military family (including four children!) has been a LOT of work for Kimberly McCaffrey. She has managed a constant cycle of organizing movers, schools, housing, and logistics, in whatever location the Navy sent them next. When her husband decided to retire, Kimberly knew everything was about to change, and so she started on an exciting new journey—embracing her childhood fascination with computers and launching a career as a programmer. Along the way she won a hackathon, and is now building a new app focused on a subject she knows very well—helping military families relocate!
We were lucky enough to chat with Kimberly to hear about her experiences learning to program, and what she plans to do next.
How a 6-month technology course at Udacity helped Anna Preis — and thousands of other people this year — change her life through a new career in tech.
Eight years ago, Anna Preis, originally from Poland, found herself in Dublin, Ireland, in a dead-end job working the phones for a payday lender. She hated getting people to take out high-interest loans she knew they could never afford to repay, but she had to meet her quotas to keep her job. “It was heart destroying,” she says. She talked to customers all day long but was never able to truly help them. A string of customer service and customer retention jobs followed, until late last year when a particularly awful day at work caused her to question everything. “I wanted to do something about my life,” she says.
A move from London to California offered a great deal of excitement for Lucia Gonzalez and her husband, but getting her career going in a new country proved harder than expected—and then she found Udacity!
When Lucia Gonzalez’s husband was offered an exciting new job in San Francisco, the couple leapt at the chance to start a new chapter in their lives. They packed up everything in London and headed to the US. But while they loved their new home, Lucia couldn’t land a job in her field. She searched for six months without success.
Lucia felt stuck, so she started looking outside her comfort zone. It being the Bay Area, tech was everywhere, and she started to think about learning programming. It was a new field, but Lucia was curious. She took some free programs, learned a few basic skills, and was quickly hooked. At the same time, Udacity announced its new Grow with Google Scholarship, offering the opportunity to earn a full scholarship to Udacity’s Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree program. Lucia applied immediately and was ecstatic when she got accepted.
Half a year later, Lucia is a Nanodegree program graduate, and she has landed a Front-End Developer role in the San Francisco Bay Area! We spoke with Lucia recently to hear how she successfully navigated the experience of transitioning careers.
In just two years, Ricardo Diaz executed an almost impossibly rapid career transformation. Today, he has a new career as a Machine Learning Engineer in Peru, and this is his story.
Ricardo Diaz is a machine learning engineer. He works for a great company in Peru, and he’s a graduate of no less than four Nanodegree programs! By all measures, he’s a success. But just two years ago, it was a different story. He was still in Venezuela, struggling to learn new skills. He was short of money, and his prospects for making a full-time salary weren’t great.
How did he manage such a rapid and complete career transformation? We chatted with Ricardo recently to find out.