Should You Consider a Big Career Change? This General Assembly Bootcamp Grad and Her Coach Say “Yes!”
Success stories

Should You Consider a Big Career Change? This General Assembly Bootcamp Grad and Her Coach Say “Yes!”

This content was created by Girlboss in partnership with General Assembly.

When asked about a common trait shared by all General Assembly grads, GA career change coach Brittany Dawson says, “our grads come from all backgrounds, they are scrappy, self-starters, and eager to learn!” And Annie Kuxa, one such recent grad, exemplifies these qualities without a doubt. Kuxa, like 40,000 of her fellow alumni, turned to General Assembly to acquire the skills she needed to make a big career change into a tech role.

Kuxa moved to Canada from Kazakhstan in 2021. Her professional background was in HR, but she was itching to get into the tech industry—specifically gaming. “In Kazakhstan, these kinds of roles were not expected for women,” she says. “I knew that if I didn’t try, I would never forgive myself.” She enrolled in GA’s Software Engineering Immersive bootcamp in March 2023. A few months later, she became the first out of her graduating class to land a job. Today, she works at Ubisoft—a huge gaming company—as a development tester. “I’m so proud of myself,” she beams. 

Both Kuxa, and her coach, Dawson, agree that what makes General Assembly unique is the mix of hard skills, invaluable career coaching and real-world guidance with the job search process. “There’s even something like a ‘panic’ button, when you have an interview suddenly scheduled for the next day and you don’t feel prepared, you can quickly schedule time with your coach,” explains Kuxa. “You never feel lost, if you just trust the process.” 

Here, Kuxa and Dawson share their unique POVs on career changes via reskilling, as a grad who’s done a GA career change bootcamp, and as an instructor who’s guided countless alumni to a job they love. 

On the role of GA’s career coaches

Dawson: “Students enrolled in the bootcamp experience have access to weekly career development sessions that help you create employer-ready collateral to support your transition. You’ll learn how to optimize your LinkedIn profile so that both your previous experience and your newly acquired skills are relevant to hiring managers, create an award winning resume tailored to the job you love, and get going with successful networking strategies to expand your connections.”

Kuxa: “One of the coolest things they helped us do is to create a brand pitch about ourselves. That really helped me to stand out, because I have a lot of work experience, but not necessarily tech experience. The coach helped me highlight my experience and shape what I’m really good at with the skills I learned at the GA bootcamp so I would stand out in the hiring process.” 

Dawson: “My main role is to provide the tools, skills, and resources to empower bootcamp grads to land roles that they love! While job seekers are in the driver’s seat in taking action weekly towards their search, I’m the co-passenger offering coaching on steps to take towards landing a role. I also offer strategic advising, mock interview practice, and moral support along the ride that’s the job search! The beautiful part about this is that there’s an opportunity to create partnership together along your journey!”

On facing the inevitable doubts 

Dawson: “Our students face doubts including the fear of starting over, imposter syndrome and the competitive, post-layoff job market.

Kuxa: “I had so many doubts. I felt like such a small person in a big country. I had lots of competition, English isn’t my native language.” 

Dawson: “The best advice I’d offer to any candidate on the market to pivot careers is to build your network, identify a mentor who can show you the ropes, and remind yourself of the skillsets you already have and what you’re learning that makes you marketable. You have something of value to offer the world, go out there and show it!”

Kuxa: “I just decided to go with the advice of my career coaches and instructors and do what they advised. I did what they told me to do to see if it would work. And it did. I was the first in my cohort to get a job.” 

On their advice to anyone looking to change careers and upskill

Kuxa:After all I’ve been through, my main advice is just to go for it. In tech, in order to win the game you have to stay in the game. But you don’t have to understand everything from the start. You don’t have to figure everything out right away. Just stay in the game and you’ll be fine.” 

Dawson: “Clarify your vision: Identify if you’d like to pivot industries, roles, or both! Then, create a plan: Chat with an admissions team member and ask them for an intro with a GA alum, about their current scholarships and free intro to workshops, or learn from professionals in an industry you aim to break into to get as much information as possible about what route works for you. Finally, bring your skill sets with you: It’s common for career changers to feel like they have to ‘start over’ when making a career transition. Consider what specific skills you have from your previous industry—retail, ecommerce, food/beverage, self-paced learning—and identify transferable skills that can support you in what you want next!”

Find out how you can make a career change with one of General Assembly’s immersive bootcamps by hopping on a call with an Admissions Specialist today.