While attending high school in Orlando, Florida, I heard about a highly selective local program that allowed kids my age to do an internship with a top company and earn advance college credit for it. Considering I was always told that ‘knowledge is power but it has to be tempered with modesty and humility,’ I was eager to participate. I encountered a roadblock. The point of contact for my school, for whatever reason, wouldn’t put me forward. Another student might have left things at that; but since I was my mother’s son, “no” was not the answer I would settle for.
“A lot of times, people are going to tell you no,” she had always told me. “Your job is to figure out how to get the same result or outcome without that person’s help using a different pathway!” My mom wasn’t the only one who showed faith in me. Throughout my childhood, a number of teachers and other adult mentors made a point of telling me I had potential and helping me shine.
With all those confidence boosts behind me, I cold-called the program administrator. She could hardly believe it. “That alone tells me how much you want this,” she said. I wound up interning at NBC Universal Studios, where even corporate vice presidents were asking my opinion on things. And you had better believe I told them! The memories and experiences I gained from that internship were life changing.
Knowing how much I benefited from believing in myself at a young age, I have always tried to instill the same self-confidence in others. For 16 years, I worked in the higher education space, at various universities from coast to coast, both public and private, helping students work toward their degrees and develop important life skills along the way.
It was fulfilling work, but there was a problem: even with their degrees in hand, I saw many grads struggle to land jobs equal to their talents. All too often, it seemed that hiring managers could not see how students’ qualifications would translate into valuable workplace skills. I helped out where I could, helping students articulate their value in a way employers would understand, but it was an uphill struggle.
When I heard about Revature, I realized that it was, in many ways, what had been missing from this picture all along: a bridge between college and the workplace. I joined in a role focused on attracting good associates to our programs, nurturing their skills, and making sure they are ready for the next step.
It can be difficult, sometimes, to convince people that they can succeed in a software career without formal training in coding. Many people see the field as so specialized and complex that they could never learn it. Part of my job is to show promising prospective associates that they really could make a great career in software.
It’s true! Our outcomes are just as good for non-computer science majors as they are for the computer scientists. One of my proudest moments was when a manager at a big tech firm told me that our Revature alums, with four months’ training, could hold their own with programmers who had been at the company three years!
I soon figured out that Revature builds much more than coding skills. As part of our holistic training model, our associates are called upon not just to develop a software portfolio, but to collaborate with one another, to give presentations, to lead meetings, to solve problems using critical thinking, and so on.
The process is transformative, leading to greater confidence and a greater sense of self-worth. Students arrive shy, reserved, timid, giving short answers to questions in a voice, lacking confidence. By the end of the program, they are standing tall, projecting confidence, and starting up conversations with total strangers.
Revature grads enjoy great success in their careers. But it does not come only from knowing how to code. It comes from having confidence in their own abilities, because they have seen those abilities tested in real-life situations. I know first-hand the impact that knowledge can have. When I was a young student, people took a chance on me. They saw potential and they nurtured it, giving me the confidence I needed to succeed. Through Revature, I get to pay it forward by doing the same for thousands more.
That’s my why!
I am Adrian Nesbeth and I am Revature. #IamRevature