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Monday, October 25, 2021

Changing To a Career in Tech: Severa Cox

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Severa Cox is “1001%” enjoying her new career as a software engineer.

Before Severa Cox began her software development course at Eleven Fifty Academy, she worked as a general manager for a national food chain while also taking college courses. The impact of the pandemic to the hospitality industry was devastating and Cox realized how vulnerable her job was. She was faced with the reality of needing to quickly skill up into a different career.

With funds provided by the CARES Act, Cox left college and enrolled at Eleven Fifty Academy where she was inspired by her instructors and felt welcomed by her diverse cohort. Only two weeks after her bootcamp graduation, Eleven Fifty Academy helped her land her first software engineering job with Second Sight, a tech company headquartered in Bloomington but with the flexibility of working remotely. Fortunately, her software development bootcamp was a virtual learning environment where she worked on real-life projects and within a team, which prepared her for her new career.

“One of the biggest issues building a tech company is access to talent,” states Terrence Kunstek, co-founder of Second Sight. “What we get from Eleven Fifty are talented software engineers.”

“During the pandemic, I learned how quickly life changes, and it made me want a secure job that I was passionate about,” shares Cox. “I could spend twelve weeks in a bootcamp or continue to work and take classes part time to earn a similar degree without real world experience and be done in four years.” 

The decision to attend Eleven Fifty Academy was an easy one for Cox to make. She had a few friends who had gotten into the tech industry by enrolling in a coding bootcamp, and they raved to her about how their work/life balance was better plus they felt challenged every day and had more opportunities for growth.

After taking a free Intro to Code class, Severa learned basic web development skills and realized that she had a more logical brain than a creative brain. Not only did she find that was learning to code challenging, interesting, and fun, but it was something that she was passionate about and she fell in love with coding. 

“I completely support the project-based learning at Eleven Fifty Academy. It’s like studying a new language while abroad: you learn better because you are immersed in the culture and hear it every day,” says Cox. “That’s exactly what Eleven Fifty does. Not only do they teach the fundamentals through projects, but you get to build your portfolio with the projects you create.”

In the beginning, Cox was nervous that she wouldn’t be offered the same opportunities as everyone else because she is a woman, but was pleasantly surprised at the diversity within her Eleven Fifty cohort. Not only were there other women in her cohort, the instructor was a woman, which Cox found to be super encouraging. She also appreciated the Eleven Fifty Academy culture of giving back.

“It was amazing to learn from someone I could relate to! I honestly forgot that the tech industry was a male-dominated field because Eleven Fifty Academy gave me natural confidence and reassurance within tech,” states Cox.

Her passion for coding has not only resulted in a full time position with Second Sight, she is also a part-time instructor trainee, assisting her former instructor.

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