Tony Bee was a few months into Northwestern Coding Boot Camp when advice from a friend put him on a trajectory that eventually led to his current role with the AHEAD Associate Program. “I was talking to a developer friend and he said, ‘You need to learn AWS, that’s what companies are looking for,’ so I decided to dive in and learn all I could about it.”
With its early roots in data centers in 2007, AHEAD has grown tremendously through acquisitions since then. Today AHEAD integrates service management, cloud, data center, software development, and security into holistic solutions that fulfill the technical, operational, and financial objectives of their clients. In 2019, as a part of their commitment to education, AHEAD piloted the Launch Associate Program out of their Chicago Office. Partnering with 2U’s employer-facing career services team to utilize their tailored referral services was a natural next step in recruiting agile tech talent. Only a few months after completing the boot camp, Tony Bee joined AHEAD as an Associate Cloud Engineer in January 2020.
“Launch is a great example of an education program that is built to take people with all the right foundations and give them the tools they need to succeed”, said Brian Weber, Director of Talent Acquisition at AHEAD. “The best part of working here is the opportunity — it’s a place where if you have tenacity, grit, and ambition, all the opportunity to grow is here.”
After his first 4 months of immersion at AHEAD, Tony moved into an AWS Residency with AAA Life Insurance. “It’s been great so far, and the best part of working at AHEAD is the amount of expertise on our team, and everyone’s willingness to help.”
Launch, a 2-3 year program that aims to move candidates from an associate level to mid/senior level through continued education, shadowing, and mentorship, currently offers tracks in Cloud (AWS/Azure), ESM (ServiceNow), DC Networking (Cisco), DC Virtualization (VMWare), and DC Data Management (Dell). Associates are evaluated and eligible for compensation increases every 6 months for the first 2 years, and have access to the AHEAD Lab, a multimillion dollar live environment where they’re able to work with every partner product and build their competencies.
In July 2020, after being referred to the program by the Industry Insights and Impact team at 2U, Daniel Sochor became the second Northwestern Boot Camps alum to join the AHEAD Launch program — a great fit for the career shifter.
When asked if he had any advice for current boot camp students, Tony shared, “Keep an open mind to all of the paths that are available to you after completing [the] boot camp. I kept an open mind and found my passion by experimenting.”
For more information on AHEAD’s next Launch cohort, visit their website.