Tyler Luckewicz: Amazon Career Choice 2021
Tyler Luckewicz began his career with a degree in business IT before an opportunity while working at Amazon led him to tech.
Tyler Luckewicz, an October 2021 graduate of the Amazon Career Choice Software Engineering program, began in the business side of tech before pivoting into a hands-on role.
He shares his journey to Software Engineering below.
Beginning In Business IT
Tyler graduated from Virginia Tech in 2015 with a degree in Business IT. He cited an early interest in tech as the reason he chose the program.
“I played video games from a young age. The idea of learning how to code and creating a game always appealed to me,” he said. “While in school I took some programming classes and enjoyed them. It was intimidating and complex yet at the same time incredibly satisfying when a concept clicked and you could get a program to do what you wanted.”
Despite his interest in technology driving his initial career path choice, Tyler did not enjoy his first post-university job.
“I was working as a Business Analyst for KPMG. But I felt like I was not adding much value,” he explained. “I was mainly focused on documentation but worked closely with software developers who I saw as building real things of value that others would see and use.”
Pursuing A Tech Path
After realizing that he wanted to do something different with his career, Tyler quit his Business Analyst role and went to work for Amazon as a Warehouse Associate.
“I eventually moved into a role in the IT department at Amazon. I enjoyed this new job and the skills I needed to learn. It was a step in the right direction but I still felt there was another path I wanted to pursue.”
Tyler didn’t have to look far for that next path. In fact, he’d wanted to pursue it all along.
“Software Engineering was always in the back of my mind [but] I knew I had to acquire more hard skills,” he said. “I figured if I was going to put in a lot of extra time to study and learn, it might as well be towards something I was more passionate about.”
Applying To Amazon Career Choice
After deciding to pursue Software Engineering, Tyler began to self-study using online resources. Then one day, he spotted a flier on the outside of his workplace’s building.
“It was for the Amazon Career Choice program which would pay for employees to pursue a career in a new field,” he recalled. “One of the partnerships highlighted was with Flatiron School for Software Engineering.”
Tyler looked into the curriculum Flatiron School taught and felt like it was the logical next step for him.
“It was everything that I was currently learning plus so much more,” he said. “Being a completely self-taught developer is possible but this seemed like just the thing I needed to push me to the next level and give me the confidence that I could break into this field and write code professionally.”
His Program Experience
Tyler was accepted into the Amazon Career Choice program and matriculated with a cohort of fellow students from Amazon. The program ran for 32 weeks from February through October with the curriculum delivered online via live lectures. Students completed about 15 hours a week of classwork while continuing to work full-time.
“The level of commitment required [was challenging]. Every single week required a huge amount of time and effort,” Tyler remembered. “You could not afford to take time off. The nature of the material we were learning meant that if you fell behind it was very difficult to catch up. It was so worth it but anyone thinking about joining the course needs to be ready for a big commitment.”
Despite the pressure of learning Software Engineering at an accelerated pace while continuing to work, Tyler found the course’s structure and his cohort’s camaraderie refreshing.
“Studying programming on my own was isolating, trying to figure out all the different technologies and how they worked together,” he said. “Having an organized structure, with a class of peers all going through the same thing, and instructors there to guide us and answer questions was an amazing experience.”
When comparing his time in the Amazon Career Choice program to his efforts in teaching himself the material, for Tyler there is no comparison.
“[It]was on another level that really pushed me and got me so much further along. I truly believe that no one could gain the same amount of experience and put in the same amount of effort by studying on their own. You can learn on your own but it will not compete [with this program]!”
First Job In Tech
Tyler graduated from the Amazon Career Choice Software Engineering program in October 2021 after completing 480 curriculum hours. While most of his classmates jumped into the job search at that point, Tyler was in a unique position – he’d already accepted a job offer.
“I had kept in touch with a friend from college who worked as a Software Developer,” he explained. “I told him about what I was learning and working on. He said it would be great if an opportunity came up and I could work with him and his team. It ended up working out and I was offered a job with his company before I finished the program.”
When we talked with him in April 2023, Tyler was still in the role, working as a Software Engineer at the pharmaceutical consulting company IQVIA.
“I love my new career. I still can’t believe that I actually get to solve problems and write code for a living. I’m currently working on an application that tracks lab results for patients who are participating in clinical trials to help develop new drugs.”
As for whether the dream lives up to reality and the journey was worth the destination? Tyler’s answer is a resounding yes.
“I still pinch myself sometimes when I am solving a problem or writing code and think to myself ‘this is what I get paid to do now’! It’s an incredible feeling and one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my life.”
Reflecting On The Journey
Looking back at where he began, Tyler emphasizes the value of committing to the path you want to be on.
“It is amazing what you can accomplish when you fully commit and jump into something 100%.”
He’s also become an advocate for others looking to break into tech to pursue an accelerated bootcamp program, like the one he participated in.
“To anyone who has an interest in becoming a Software Engineer and does not want to go to school for four years to get a degree, there is absolutely no better way to break into the industry than going through this program. It will push you further than you could ever go on your own and will build the experience and confidence that you can do this at the professional level.”
As for his advice to other students, his advice is to prioritize planning your time.
“This is a demanding program but building a routine of when you do your work is critical to success. If you give this your full attention you will be amazed at what you have learned and accomplished when you come out the other side. It will literally change the rest of your life.”
Flatiron School Retraining Programs
Amazon’s Career Choice offers eligible Amazon employees the opportunity to pivot careers into higher-paying jobs through retraining. The program was created as a way to attract top talent as well as improve employee engagement and retention.
Following the initial cohort’s success, Amazon again selected Flatiron School to deliver Career Choice programs in 2023.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of 26 April 2023. Current policies, offerings, procedures, and programs may differ. For up-to-date information visit FlatironSchool.com.
Posted by Anna Johnson / April 26, 2023
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