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December 6, 2022

After years of exploring different jobs and never experiencing any true satisfaction, Emily Hennes became frustrated with her career. When faced with losing a previous position, she worried more about losing a stable income than the job itself. Her career pathway changed after receiving an email about one of our information & communication technology training programs. Once she read the email, Emily instantly applied. Since completing the program and gaining a certificate in coding through our partners at UCSD’s Division of Extended Studies, she is now a front-end web developer for a marketing agency in San Diego building websites for multiple clients. Below, Emily shares with us how she turned her passion for coding into an exciting career.

I was feeling lost in my career. After experimenting with various jobs in different fields, I needed help finding my calling. I did some web development as a side interest, but I needed more training before I could apply for a job and work as a developer.  


I wasn’t sure what to do, nor did I have the money to pay for an accredited training program. One day, I was talking with a friend who went through a similar program at UC San Diego’s Division of Extended Studies, and she forwarded me an email about the program. As soon as I finished reading about the program, I applied.  

The program offered me the official training I needed to begin my career without any upfront costs. I learned the fundamentals of front-end web development, CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. I was already familiar with some of what I was learning, but this was my first extensive exposure to web development training. I enjoyed working with JavaScript and React the most. For the first time, I built an application and understood what it takes to own all the elements of constructing a website from ideation to completion.   

Before going through the program and receiving support from the San Diego Workforce Partnership, I was still determining the steps to take to get to where I wanted in my career. They gave me a tangible goal to complete, and now I can finally work in a field that interests me. I felt supported along the way by my career navigator and my instructors. 

One of my instructors, Kris Secor, gave me great professional advice. He told me that when he was working with me, he could tell when I didn’t want to admit when I didn’t know something. He said, “that’s how you get fired from a job, by hiding that you don’t know something.” When he told me that I realized that it was okay to ask for help and that he was invested in seeing me succeed. It made an enormous difference knowing that I had people to reach out to when I was struggling.  

The job search process was exceptionally long and challenging, and it was helpful to know that no matter how long it took, I had a reliable career navigator to support me. I don’t know if I would’ve kept going after this career path if it weren’t for the fact that I still had people who believed in me. With hard work and a team of supporters, I landed a job as a front-end web developer.  

I highly recommend the UC San Diego Tech Certificate program. I took a risk and went through it, and if I found success doing it, I am convinced that others will too. It was not easy, but the core value of the program and the quality training make it all worth it. This new role is a great starting place for me; I can continue learning and understanding which web development specialty I want to explore more. In the future, I want to work more with React, become a senior engineer and build more features as an in-house developer. 

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