Developer Support Specialist at GE Digital
Year Up Bay Area
Class of January 2015
Before Year Up, I worked a series of low-paying jobs while going to community college. Working as a dishwasher, lifeguard, and swim instructor, I made just enough money to pay for my classes and the gas needed to drive to school and work. I was trying to figure out if I wanted to go into the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) academy or pursue a career in tech, when my dad heard about Year Up on the news. It sounded too good to be true, but once I confirmed the facts, I knew I had to apply. Money had been one of my biggest obstacles, and with Year Up’s stipend, I wouldn’t have to worry about staying afloat while training for my career.
During my internship at GE, I worked on the application support team, assisting developers and engineers who ran into issues or needed help setting up applications to create, share, or store data. My team was great, and the experience taught me to never stop learning. New tools and methods are constantly coming out, and in order to do my job well, I have to stay on top of them.
After my internship, I was fortunate enough to be offered a contract with GE. I still work on the support team, and I love it. We’ve built a casual but hard-working culture, and I’m grateful to have a manager who constantly pushes us to question what we can do, not only to improve the company but to improve ourselves.
My team now includes several Year Up alumni. With our shared experience and background, we think of ourselves not as competitors, but as supporters. We meet every morning to discuss what we’re working on and any problems we may have. We trust each other’s skills and work ethic, and when we make mistakes we own up to them without the fear of being judged by the team. With this support, I have been able to become one of the go-to administrators for an application utilized by tens of thousands of GE users worldwide.
Through my time in the Year Up program and now working at GE, I have learned valuable technical, professional, and life skills – the most important being perseverance. I’ve learned that you don’t need to be an expert to take on a task. Just face it with a positive attitude, do your research, and reach out to your teammates if you have questions or run into problems.
If it weren’t for Year Up and GE, I’d probably still be shuffling between a minimum wage job and school, without much direction. Now I have a career, and I’m working towards a degree in computer programming with the aim to become a system administrator. I’m living proof that young adults are capable and hungry for an opportunity to succeed. I hope to continue to grow so that I can be in a position to create opportunities for others to live up to their potential.