After Gaining New Skills, This Online Learner Took Her Career to the Next Level

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Kaliesha Pickering didn’t always know that she was interested in coding and web development. But after working for five years at Bell, the largest telecommunications company in Canada, she had learned enough about the field to discover that she was hungry to learn more.

Kaliesha’s next step was launching her own business. While still employed at Bell, she began to explore setting up a website — and quickly ran into added costs and challenges. To save money, she opted to work on the website herself and found out she really enjoyed it. This, in combination with the experience she was gaining in her full-time job, made Kaliesha determined to become an expert in the field, so she enrolled in UofT SCS Coding Boot Camp online. Today, her life looks different because of it. 

Logging on: Entering a new kind of classroom

Boot camps are unique, covering a broad range of complex material in a short period of time. For many learners, it introduces a learning curve and a challenge — ultimately sending them off with a wealth of new skills that position them for new job roles. For Kaliesha, her boot camp was not only fast-paced and thorough, but it was also online — a format that she found highly beneficial.

Because much of her professional work experience has been remote, Kaliesha felt at home in her new online classroom. It wasn’t long before she found her rhythm as an online learner — seizing every opportunity to go above and beyond the thrice-weekly sessions, with pop-up study groups and tutoring sessions in between.

Although she and her peers didn’t actually attend class in the same room, they quickly came together: working outside of class, forming relationships, and eventually sharing their post-boot camp professional endeavors with one another. “All of the people in my program really wanted to learn, so we branched out, came together, and made our own study groups,” said Kaliesha. “From that, we were able to build friendships that we then continued on Slack and beyond the program.” 

Kaliesha also felt supported by her instructor, assistant instructors, and tutors, who made themselves available to learners at times that fit their busy schedules. Her instructor always logged on an hour before class and logged off an hour after, leaving time for learners to ask questions about any material they needed help with. Kaliesha was still working her full-time job as a corporate account manager during the boot camp, so the program’s flexibility — and the teaching staff’s eagerness to help her succeed — made all the difference. 

Sharpening up: Discovering new skills

At the beginning of the boot camp, much of the curriculum was completely new to Kaliesha. But by the end of the program, she had new hard skills under her belt like JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and more — launching her into an exciting new career path. The full stack coding program was a challenge that Kaliesha tackled by going above and beyond in her spare time. 

“The boot camp covered a lot of material, so the onus was on us to take advantage of the resources,” said Kaliesha. “I spent a lot of time studying outside of class. From the start, if the instructor said we should read an extra book or do extra practice, I was on it. That really helped me.”

Staying motivated: Continuing to learn

Today, Kaliesha continues to exceed expectations in a different realm — at work. In her current job as a Sales Manager, she brings her new skills to work every day. “Many salespeople don’t understand code, so it’s an advantage that I do,” Kaleisha said. “With the skills I learned in the boot camp, I’m able to talk to developers, take part in their meetings, discuss different features, and give quotes on the spot.”

For now, Kaliesha plans to keep working, learning, and building her skills. “The lessons I’ve learned in the boot camp have helped me in different aspects of my life, in part because I embraced the challenge of coding and learning how to make something work,” Kaliesha said. 

What will you discover about yourself once you take the leap into technology? Explore UofT SCS Boot Camps offering programs in coding, data analytics, cybersecurity, UX/UI, and financial technology to find out.

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