Innovate Birmingham’s graduates use their newfound skills, knowledge and talent to contribute to Birmingham’s dynamic tech landscape. The greatest testimonials we receive are when graduates refer new talent and prospective students to our program — and we’re proud to say that happens all the time.
See employer partners and alums talk about IB's impact
IT Apprentice at UAB
"The program is an incredible resource, and I couldn't be happier with where it's gotten me!"
I found out about Innovate Birmingham through my friend, Jordan Hansen. I'd been working as a manager at a busy bakery for nearly 4 years, but I wasn't happy with where I was. I had a biology degree, but I was using it to serve people coffee (plus retail is just... soul-sucking and dead-end in general). I'd always, always been interested in pursuing a career in technology, but was hesitant to take the plunge because I believed I would need a computer science degree to do so. The program almost seemed like it was too good to be true, but I knew that Jordan, and many others, had successfully started tech careers after participating, so I thought maybe I could as well.
I think the thing that surprised me the most was how easy the program made it for me to establish and grow a network (I didn’t even have a LinkedIn). As someone with pretty severe social anxiety, the whole meeting and interviewing process is noteasy for me. I got the best job I’ve ever had out of the professional networking events, and I never would have had any of those opportunities on my own. The program is an incredible resource, and I couldn't be happier with where it's gotten me!
My biggest advice for someone who may be considering applying to Innovate Birmingham is to just go for it! I know how stressful it can be to take off work for 3 months, but I promise it's worth it. Especially for people stuck in retail - here is this amazing, FREE opportunity to launch yourself into a career with upward momentum! It's going to be difficult, and you're going to feel like you're behind or that you don't understand things well enough to go on, but that's so normal and so okay. Use the program as a stepping-stone to start on your journey as a developer. Don't worry about comprehending every little thing along the way - it takes time and repeated exposure for things to really stick. This is a career where you will always be learning, no matter your level of experience. Get used to being open to new processes and ideas and you'll be fine!
Front-End Developer at Quantalytix, Inc.
"The biggest takeaway from the software development bootcamp was that you get what you work for and that being able to admit when you don’t know something is an asset."
I found out about Innovate Birmingham through a current student, Cat Callahan. I had just finished a seasonal position with the Girl Scouts, and I was hoping to move away from working in my own business. I was lucky enough to have a sibling who is a software engineer, and he shared his passion and helped me decide if this was the right path for me.
The biggest takeaway from the software development bootcamp was that you get what you work for and that being able to admit when you don’t knowsomething is an asset. I was most surprised by how much I enjoy coding. The thing I most enjoyed about Innovate Birmingham was meeting a host of wonderful people. I’ve been blown away by how kind everyone was while I was in the program and how kind everyone has continued to be.
For those who are currently in or are considering Innovate Birmingham, know to just stick with it. It gets hard, and sometimes it feels like things won’t workout, but if you grit your teeth and push through, it’s 100% worth it.
Junior Developer at JWeb Development LLC
"It may sound cliché, but the class taught me how to figure things out on my own and how to ask for help when I need it."
I discovered Innovate Birmingham through one of my friends who had also taken the coding class. He realized he was passionate about coding and landed a stable job as a result. I was in a similar position. I was working an entry-level job that I could barely live off of and had not finished college. I was hesitant to go back due to apathy and lack of funds. I was out to dinner with a friend one night, and he could tell I was concerned for my future. He suggested the class, and it sounded like a great opportunity.
It may sound cliché, but the class taught me how to figure things out on my own, and how to ask for help when I need it. This program also taught me the importance of being self-aware (i.e. how I learn/retain information and when to take a break). Overall, I am very thankful for the skillset Innovate Birmingham provided me. They pushed me out of my comfort zone mentally and socially. In doing so, I.B. helped me realize I am capable of anything if I just put forth the effort. Being around other students who wanted to better themselves as much as I did quickly got rid of the apathy I held onto before.
If I had any one piece of advice to give someone who is currently in the program or considering taking the program, it would be to commit to the course if they have the drive and are at all interested in problem solving or technology. This class can be confusing at points, but finally grasping something you have been struggling with for hours is so gratifying. All it takes is a willingness to learn and access to www.google.com.
Next Gen Security Analyst at BBVA, now part of PNC
"I have always wanted to combine my interests with a technological skill, and Innovate Birmingham was the perfect way for me to do that."
I overheard some friends talking about it. We were all looking for better employment, and while at the time I was seeking jobs in education, I heard it was free toapply so I decided to look into it. The more I saw and heard about the program, the better of an opportunity it sounded like. I have always wanted to combine my interests with a technological skill, and Innovate Birmingham was the perfect way for me to do that.
I went into the program with the intention of just learning a skill, but the people I met and the relationships I built were my biggest takeaways. They helped me grow confident in my own employability, not to mention all the great connections I built through networking with the folks at Innovate Birmingham. In particular, my instructor, Robin Hunt, was an essential factor in my newfound passion for data analysis. Her encouragement and positive attitude inspired me to put a lot of effort into all aspects of the program, and it has absolutely changed my life.
Work with your peers and communicate with them and the staff. You can learn a lot from self teaching, but never underestimate the value of another perspective. The staff is there to help you succeed, and they love students who are active in the IB community.
Front-End Developer at Pyx Health
"Innovate Birmingham exposed me to an entirely new and incredible career. They showed me how many jobs were out there."
Before starting at Innovate Birmingham, I had been working various parking management positions. I spent a good 6 years making decent money as a valet, then supervisor, and then manager after realizing that college, well student debt, wasn't the right choice for me. I was incredibly burnt out on what I was doing for a living; however, I knew it wasn't a satisfactory career for me. I reconnected with a childhood friend who has a great job at BBVA as a programmer analyst. I asked him how he got there. He told me he went through a program called Innovate Birmingham. He sent me the link. I took a look and applied immediately. It was free! I was ecstatic. This was exactly the kind of opportunity I had always been looking for. The kind of opportunity I wish had existed. It is a full-time, 40-hour a week program. So, I saved my money, rounded up all the help I could get, and dove in fully committed.
I learned how to wireframe, plan, and design. I learned how to interview, build a resume, network, give elevator pitches, job hunt. I learned how to brand myself, how to use LinkedIn. I learned how to create and build. I learned how to come up with original app ideas. I learned how to consider varying use cases. Probably most importantly, I learned how to think like a programmer.
Innovate Birmingham exposed me to an entirely new and incredible career. They showed me how many jobs were out there. They facilitated a remedy to the bitterness I felt about my social class, my economic status, my lack of a fulfilling career. They proved to me that if I had the determination and commitment, I could get hired without a college degree. Personally, the program changed my entire worldview. I'm extremely proud of what I've done and what I do. I'm thrilled to tell people what I do for a living. I'm optimistic about my professional future. I have a skill that I am passionate about now. I am genuinely a happier person now that I've found my calling in life. Simply put, they helped me form goals that I didn't have, or that needed refining. To describe Innovate Birmingham in one word, life-changing.
Software Developer at Altec
"Innovate Birmingham helped me recognize and develop my "thing," and granted me the opportunity to do something I love for a living."
Prior to Innovate Birmingham, I wasn't really doing much of anything at all. I was working as a delivery driver. I didn't find that very fulfilling and certainly did not want that to be what I did for the rest of my life. I was without direction until a family friend of mine in the industry told me about Innovate Birmingham, and I looked into it. It was very appealing to me because I see myself as a problem-solver and have always taken an interest in technology. I obsess, and this seemed like a healthy, gratifying obsession. Innovate Birmingham in particular was a gift. It grants life-changing opportunities (for free!) to people that are willing to go out and work hard for a better future. The staff there work hard to make sure that good work is recognized and rewarded, and I and many others can attest to this.
This program really makes sure you understand exactly how development teams collaborate in 2019, that being Agile development methodology. I came into my job confident, because I was already used to working with teams in a way the industry recognizes and uses. Outside of technical skills, Innovate Birmingham bringing in a guest speaker to talk about personal finances was a valuable experience for every student involved. Everyone learned something that day, and I'm sure everyone left with a feeling of more control.
I currently work at Altec. I started as a software development intern in May 2019 and worked for 11 weeks before being promoted to a full-time software developer. I have decided I am going to go to school for a computer science degree. I go home thinking about work - what I did that day and what I'll be doing tomorrow, excited and ready. Innovate Birmingham helped me recognize and develop my "thing," and granted me the opportunity to do something I love for a living. I don't see this changing any time soon. My experience in this program was truly invaluable.
Front-End Developer at Martin Retail Group
"Innovate Birmingham, gave me the tools and knowledge to drive my future in my direction."
Before Innovate Birmingham, I was learning myself through odd jobs and living on my own. I was growing into teaching yoga and understanding what I needed to do to better my life and achieve financial safety. My old roommate taught himself how to code through an art culture project. Spending evenings together and seeing the work he put in inspired me. When he then achieved a life-changing career, I knew I needed to buckle down. Our mutual friend, Jordan Hansen, who was in the first few cohorts, ended up working with my old roommate at XpertDocs. I decided that there wasn't much to lose besides being broke for 3.5 months, learning 9-5 Monday through Friday and weekends. The first day when we gathered in the waiting room meeting our new friends, I knew I would enjoy this time.
I currently work at Martin Retail Group, an advertising firm that handles all of GM, (Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Chevy) as a Front-End Developer. Innovate Birmingham taught me to handle certain issues as they come up and how to google. When it came time to get a job, they were very insightful for questions on salary, benefits, etc.
Innovate Birmingham, gave me the tools and knowledge to drive my future in my direction. I feel like a silver surfer on the web sometimes whenever it comes to problem solving. If I had to choose one word to describe this program it would be, paramount.
Software Developer at Altec
"One of the biggest advantages of the Innovate Birmingham program is that they put you right in front of employers that are real interviews and truly do everything in their power to help you land your first job as a developer."
Since I didn’t go to college for computer science and wanted to get into software development as soon as possible, I started doing some research and found that a lot of developers got their start in the industry by going to a code bootcamp. I immediately started searching for code bootcamps near Birmingham and came across Innovate Birmingham and the IAmBham program. It looked like a solid program with great curriculum, so I applied immediately. One of the biggest advantages of the Innovate Birmingham program is that they put you right in front of employers that are real interviews and truly do everything in their power to help you land your first job as a developer.
I knew the bootcamp was going to be challenging going into it, but I have to say I was surprised with how hard our instructor pushed us. We were expected to give our best effort every single day, and I can say that the payoff was a million times worth it. We learned heaps of valuable information in a short amount of time and even better, we proved to prospective employers that we are committed to learning and actually putting these skills to use. Also, I have built many great friendships with both the staff and my classmates that will last a lifetime.
If you’ve ever considered joining a code bootcamp, apply to Innovate Birmingham right now!! Seriously, whether you’re wanting to jumpstart your career or if you’re like me and wanting to change careers completely, Innovate Birmingham will set you up for success. All that’s required of you is to be fully committed and put in the work. This program has changed my life and I am so grateful to have found this incredible opportunity. My only regret is not finding this program sooner. Thank you, Innovate Birmingham, for helping me start a career that I love with a great company!
Technician at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama
"I personally needed something new that would challenge me by pushing my boundaries mentally"
I heard about this program from my uncle, which at the time I was involved in the fitness industry working as a personal trainer/pilates instructor - something that I was very passionate about. Although I love fitness and the joy it brings to my life, I personally needed something new that would challenge me by pushing my boundaries mentally, and what else would be better than something that was completely foreign to me.
There are two sides to this course, one was full stack software development, and the other was professional development. During professional development, we were able to hear from other IT professionals that gave us insight as to what we were preparing for and the great opportunity that was in our near future.
Towards the end of this program, we were split into groups and were assigned a final project to develop an app that could be used in today's society. For my final project, I was able to combine my passion for fitness and new my found passion for technology. My group developed a fitness app called SoloFit that allowed people to connect with fitness instructors and find the workout plan best suited for them.
One of the most important factors about this program is that they provided the opportunity for their students to interview with possible future employers. I definitely took advantage of this and was able to land a job at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC.
I truly do appreciate Innovate Birmingham for the people I’ve met and the knowledge I’ve gained. I hope that others who find themselves in a rut or want a shot at a better quality of life have the opportunity to go through this program. Innovate Birmingham changed my life and helped me in becoming the person that I’ve always envisioned myself to be.