“I have a new found sense of freedom. I feel like I am doing meaningful work while working in a career field that provides the flexibility of working remotely.” Marine Corps vet, Sterling Meriweather (Meri), said when we asked him how shifting into a career in tech has changed his life.
Meri had served 8 years in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Project Leader deployed to Japan and then as a Program Manager serving in California before starting at UC-Irvine during the pandemic. Shortly after the Marines, he also joined a coding bootcamp to jumpstart his path into tech and learned about the product development lifecycle.
Wanting to further his education in software development a friend of his sang praises about what a great program the TLG IT Careers team had and recommended he join since he had aspirations of learning enterprise and industry standard coding practices. With a goal of joining Amazon Web Services (AWS) for his next career move, Meri strategically joined the TLG IT Careers’ Software Development Engineer (SDE) IT Pre-Apprenticeship because he recognized and valued the relationship that TLG IT Careers had with Amazon.
It’s no surprise that with Meri’s strategic planning and dedication to learning that he ended up joining the AWS team as a Software Engineer upon completing the SDE IT Pre-Apprenticeship program. We asked Meri if there’s anything he would have done differently about his path into tech and he said, “I would have started my path into tech a lot sooner. In hindsight, I was hesitant to join in the past, but I have been loving it ever since!”
Read our interview with Meri to learn about his advice to those considering joining the program, what his interview process was like, the biggest challenge he faced during the program, and more.
Did you know which route/direction you wanted to go in before starting?
Yes and no. I knew I wanted to be somewhere in the mix of full stack development/engineering, but I didn’t know what I wanted to specialize in.
What was the biggest challenge for you during the program?
The biggest challenge was showing up every day and working when I didn’t feel like it. Some days I didn’t feel like showing up and working on something I thought was “boring” or “pointless” but those days I made sure I kept a great level of focus because all the information is so vital.
What did you enjoy the most during the program?
Karl. One of the smartest instructors I ever came across. I learned so much from Karl and he had a nice sense of humor as well.
How did you find balance with everything going on in your life and completing the SDE program?
I have a hard ‘stop time’ for doing work during the day. Once the work is completed, I make time to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
What would you say to someone debating on joining the SDE IT Pre-Apprenceship?
If you want to maximize your chances of landing and excelling at a big company with lots of growth potential, you should join the IT Pre-Apprenticeship.
If you had one piece of advice for someone newly entering this program, what would it be?
Enjoy the process of learning. Try to find the fun in programming and the knowledge will be a lot easier to retain.
Could you explain what the interview process was like for you to find a job?
My process started way before the interviews came. I did lots of mock interviews and study sessions to maximize my potential for success. But when I started interviewing, I leveraged the tips and techniques TLG provided to guide me.
Why did you decide to work with AWS?
It’s fast paced and they have some of the brightest engineers on the planet. Being able to learn from them and contribute to the work these teams do is a dream come true.
Is there anything surprising to you about working in tech that you didn’t expect? If so, what?
The most surprising thing is the realization that each person on your team brings a whole different set of skills. Each person acts as a piece of the puzzle to progress the team forward.
What’s in your future? Future goals, etc?
I think every engineer has the aspirations to start their own start-up. I think that might be in the cards for me as well. For now, I am focused on being the best engineer I could possibly be and help my team be as successful as possible.
Congratulations, Meri! We couldn’t be happier for you and we’re looking forward to seeing your growth at AWS. They’re lucky to have you.
To learn more about your options with TLG IT Careers, visit our site or schedule a meeting with one of our Educational Consultant to discuss your unique needs and to determine if an IT apprenticeship or IT pre-apprenticeship is right for you!