How one Philadelphia resident found success through coding bootcamp

Philadelphia resident Saqqara Wright is a living example of the power of perseverance.

Wright, who currently resides in East Falls, spent much of her career working as a freelance eCommerce brand and web developer. While still trying to develop her footing in the technology industry, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Wright into a tough spot, as it did for most small business owners across the country.

Wright says she managed seven websites at the time, but everything suddenly changed.

“Google, Facebook, Microsoft Ads, they all shifted everything because they had to. But for small business owners like myself, it created a lot of problems,” Wright said. “I spent the next two years phasing out what I had worked so hard to build up.”

In that process, Wright became a licensed insurance agent but said the role she endured was very demanding. She picked up a side job driving Uber in order to cover her personal expenses during this time.

“Bills and everything started to catch up to me, and I was in trouble,” said Wright. “My mindset was, ‘Okay if something like this can knock me off so easily, that means I need to increase my value to the marketplace. I need to up my skill sets because that is not okay.'”

Saqqara WrightProvided

After two weeks of being phased out of her freelance developing business and essentially leaving her role as an insurance agent, Wright spent day and night researching online resources to try and scramble together a new career.

That is when she stumbled across an opportunity that changed her career.

Wright learned about a coding boot camp program called Coding Dojo, which offers full-time and part-time classes and a lifetime career services manager for its alumni to ensure their graduates thrive as STEM professionals for the rest of their careers.

Wright, who possesses a degree in philosophy from Rutgers–New Brunswick, thought a career in coding required a computer science degree, but it does not.

Wright took her chance at the Coding Dojo opportunity in March. She says the program was very flexible and did not pressure her to quickly learn coding material.

After learning three full programming stacks—Python, JavaScript, and Java—Wright landed a job as an IT Developer III at TD Bank within two months of graduating in July.

According to Glassdoor, the estimated total pay for an IT Developer III is $104,318 per year in the U.S., with an average yearly salary of $96,998.

“I don’t know how on earth I did it, but I did full-time five days a week and two days doing Uber to pay my bills,” added Wright. “Where there is a will, there is a way.”

Now in her new promising career, Wright encourages others who may be on a similar journey with the advice she often told herself.

“I have experienced that feeling many times in my life, feeling stuck, but if you keep your mind open, opportunities will come to you, and you can manifest some awesome stuff in your life,” she said.

Eric Moody

Eric Moody is a journalist and Philly native who covers feel good features and business development stories. Eric has worked with many local leaders and organizations to highlight unique events that make Philadelphia and its surrounding areas special.

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