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Tiny distinctions matter, and hair-splitting differences even influence how we speak. Just consider these two sentences: “She plays the piano very well” and “She plays a piano very well.” In the first one, the woman is a trained pianist. For the second one, we have questions — can she only play one specific piano?

And for Kyle Kolodziej, that tiny lexical twist inflected how he started looking at his career. See, for so long, he’d had a job. He came to realize that he’d rather have the job.

Here’s how he joined TripleTen and turned a career into the career.

A multiclass career

Kyle’s professional history is diverse. He worked in kitchens as sous chef and head chef. He ran food trucks. He had a job at a brewery, and spent time as a wine and liquor sales rep. He even trained colleagues within the supply chain and logistics industry, progressing to project manager.

It was a professional path of someone curious and eager to discover the right trajectory to commit to. Slowly, though, Kyle came to realize that he wanted to find a way into tech, especially when he found himself unsatisfied with his project management role.

I was getting put into a niche that I didn't want to be in. And it was getting harder and harder to get out. Kyle Kolodziej, TripleTen grad

He thought a degree in cybersecurity would be the way to break into tech. But even after getting his second bachelor’s degree in the subject, he still found himself stymied. Worse, the career he was in was dragging him down because he had to be constantly on call to handle potentially ridiculous errors. 

For him, it was like being the target of a malicious spell. “Warlocks in D&D or World of Warcraft — they do soul drain. It felt like I was the target of that very consistently,” he said.

He realized he needed to rededicate himself to finding a career in tech. After looking around at his options, he decided to go for TripleTen because of its focus on the practical aspects of landing a job. “You can continuously build your portfolio, your resume, and your knowledge,” he said, reflecting on his decision to join the bootcamp.

QA powerleveling

But what path to choose? Well, thanks to Kyle’s position that touched on tech, he had a sense of what he might enjoy pursuing: quality assurance engineeringHow to Become a QA Engineer.

“When I was doing projects, I found that I liked to break software and provide feedback. So basically, when I learned that doing that could be a job, I was all about it. Like, ‘Okay, cool, my work day in and day out will be breaking things and making developers feel bad about their life choices. This is great, I’m all about this,’” he said with a kind but mischievous smile.

More than just meshing with his interests, he saw how crucial QA wasIs Quality Assurance a Good Career?.

Everyone needs a QA, whether it's an automation QA, or just a manual QA. It's always needed. You can't not have a product that hasn't gone through QA. Kyle Kolodziej, TripleTen grad

So he enrolled in TripleTen’s QA Engineering program. As he progressed through the bootcamp, he had things he especially liked (everything about automation) and things he especially disliked (mind maps). When he encountered a challenge, his first strategy was to keep working at it until it yielded. But at one point, he couldn’t figure out an issue he was having, and he finally reached out to get some help. In retrospect, he realizes just how valuable asking for assistance is.

“I should have just started from the get-go with asking for help rather than beating my head against the wall, but that's me being stubborn. It's like asking for directions when you're lost. I'm not gonna roll down the window and ask anybody.”

But when he got over his recalcitrance, he found the community more than willing to lend a hand. “Once, I posted something in the Discord regarding a specific section, and I basically said, ‘Please help. SOS.’ I sent a signal flare up. I explained what it was supposed to do, why it wasn't doing it, and what I was seeing.”

A TripleTen grad reached out to help. Through a few exchanges, the alum helped guide Kyle to the right answer. But something still wasn’t working. Finally, the alum looked at the code and was baffled — Kyle had the right answer. It should go through. 

Through continued collaboration, the two of them realized that it wasn’t the code itself. The laptop and all of its firewalls were interfering. “With their help, I figured out it was my computer that was the problem.”

It was his work PC refusing to let him go. See, in his free hours at his job, instead of playing games on his phone, he decided to expand his skills. “When I had downtime from what I was working on, or was waiting for XYZ to occur, I worked on TripleTen.”

By sneaking in studying in the slow periods at work and by spending time on his bootcamp tasks at home, he felt ready for the externship he signed up for as his time at TripleTen came to a close. But something interrupted those plans: he got a job.

Passing the skill check and landing the job

The key aspect of TripleTen that helped Kyle snag that job? The career coaching. He and a coach “literally went over everything that I accomplished at my last role, and did a hard narrow-down in rewording different aspects of things to make my resume much more effective.”

After a month of sending out cover letters and working with TripleTen experts to make sure each one was as appealing as possible, he got a hit. It was with a small fintech company. Like many interview processes, it started with a simple phone call, after which he was brought in for an in-person interview.

There his QA chopsThe Quality Assurance Engineer Skills You Need in 2024 were tested with a hypothetical: What would the QA process for a salt shaker be? Kyle “beamed down the list,” rattling off all the things that needed to be seen to: the effectiveness of the holes, a stress test for the materials, checking the molds for the shakers, and ensuring that the container was the size advertised.

In addition, he highlighted his skills in Selenium, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, making sure to also mention his transferable skills in project management and giving feedback to developers. 

The interview went well, thanks to the help from TripleTen. And while I was missing some of the skills that they were probably looking for, they were more impressed with how I interviewed and the knowledge that I was bringing to the table. Kyle Kolodziej, TripleTen grad

He landed the job.

Now, he’s not looking back. When asked if the decision to switch to tech was a difficult one, his first response was a lengthy, hearty laugh, followed by an unambiguous, solid “No.”

It’s been a complete shift for him. He’s applying the know-how he previously found draining, but finding value in it. “I'm enjoying automating things a lot. I'm also enjoying using similar skills that I took from my old job that I wasn't enjoying — like teaching people or training people.”

No more warlocks draining his HP, no more working just a job. He’s found the job for him, and it looks like it’s going to stick. After all, when he reflects on his previous job and his current one, a key difference stands out. “The main thing is I would definitely say I'm way happier.”

Make tech your next adventure

If you want to gear up for a career in tech like Kyle did, then take our career quiz to see what path might be right for you.

Career Quiz

The prime tech career catered just to you is out there — learn what it is by taking our quiz.

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IT career tips

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