“I feel like Interface lit the fire in me to be more aggressive with accomplishing what I want in my life,” says Alyssa Wilson, a graduate of the Interface Web School.
After a career in visual publications and graphic design, Alyssa now works as a software development engineer at Fiserv, which provides technology solutions to the financial world.
Interface changed the course of her life. In 2015, a good friend told Alyssa about a web development class she was taking at Interface. Although Alyssa had received her associate’s degree in visual publications, graphic design, web design, and print production in 2004, she was not up-to-date on HTML5 and the latest version of CSS.
Alyssa decided to give Interface a shot. Fiserv covered the cost for her to attend the Foundations of Web Development course.
While keeping her dayjob, she attended Interface classes and completed her homework at night.
“I dropped off the face of the earth for like twelve weeks,” Alyssa says. “But it’s completely worth it. You get your money’s worth, for sure.”
Though the homework could be intense, Alyssa and a group of Interface classmates would meet on Sundays at Starbucks to share their knowledge and troubleshoot problems as they developed their skills.
Interface upgraded her ability to learn different programming languages and gave her a sense of the importance of the tiniest details in code.
She obtained a new position at Fiserv as a software development engineer working with COBOL. COBOL is an in-demand programming language relied on by major corporations and financial institutions; many current COBOL programmers are aging out of the workforce, leaving tech talent gaps that companies are scrambling to fill.
“COBOL classes are the thing to take,” Alyssa says. “All of those people that coded back in the day, they’re retiring. The only people that actually had COBOL in school were people who started here years ago.”
(Interface offers a 14-week certification course in COBOL programming. Scholarships are available. Check out an Interface info session to learn more.)
Moreover, Interface inspired Alyssa to return to college.
“Since I only had my associate’s degree, I decided to go back,” she says. “Once I got a taste of school, I wanted some more.” Alyssa is now pursuing her bachelor’s degree in information systems technology with an emphasis in software development at Doane University.
Her time at Interface allowed her to build community connections. She served on the board of Girls Who Code, a nonprofit aiming to support and increase the number of women in computer science. She also volunteered for Lincoln Coding Women, a group of women in tech supporting an inclusive environment for learning and exploring technology.
“I just think it’s really important to get the word out to kids, and women, specifically, that tech is a cool thing,” Alyssa says. “If you have a career in tech, you could have an awesome future.”
Alyssa offers some valuable advice for people thinking about attending Interface.
“Make sure it’s something you can completely focus on and that you won’t have anything else distracting you. Don’t have it be something that you’re taking on on top of a whole bunch of other different things, because it is time-consuming. But in the long run, it’s completely worth it. I mean, I have a job I didn’t think I would have.”
According to Alyssa, Interface was more than just a course, it was a path to a new life.
“I wish more people had knowledge of how cool Interface is, how many cool people that you meet, how involved in the community you can get through the course,” she says. Check out a free Interface info session to get started on a rewarding career in technology or to upgrade your current skills. The next info session is Wednesday, April 17, 7 to 8 pm at the Brain Exchange building at 1902 Howard Street in Omaha.