In 2017, Chukwuemeka Okoli left Nigeria for Alaska. He had enrolled in a master’s of petroleum engineering program at University of Alaska Fairbanks. But even after getting his new degree, he was struggling to find a job because of the unpredictability of his industry.
So he made a change. Here’s how he switched to tech and made it in America’s last frontier.
Qualified in volatility
Chuk got his bachelor’s in chemical engineering in Nigeria, where he then worked for a few years. But he couldn’t get over his curiosity. “I wanted to see the snow, to see ice, and just see the beauty of Alaska,” he says. So he came to Alaska to get his master’s in petroleum engineering. When he graduated, though, he felt stuck. “I couldn’t get a job in the oil and gas industry because of the oil price crash.”
“That made me think a lot about my career choices,” he continues. “I needed to be in an industry that is not really affected by ups and downs.”
He started looking for a bootcamp.
A digital frontier
He wanted to find the right bootcamp for him.
I used Career Karma, checked for the top 10 bootcamps in the US, ‘cause I wasn’t ready to waste money. I needed a guarantee.
That’s where TripleTen came in. TripleTen offers a complete money-back guarantee if grads don’t get a job in their field within six months of finishing the program. It was what made us stand out to Chuk. “Some bootcamps don’t have a hundred percent job guarantee.”
So he enrolled in our Data Science program. Starting out, he realized he would have to dedicate himself. “The length of the bootcamp was a challenge — eight months.” But that turned out to be a benefit for Chuk. “I’d rather be a data scientist in eight months than do a bootcamp for like six weeks and claim to be a data scientist and then not even know what I’m doing.”
Over those eight months, he learned from tech experts. “Most of the tutors are practicing data scientists who are already working in the industry. I know one particular tutor, he works at IBM. I’d always send him questions and stuff like that, and he would always reply, and his reviews were insightful.”
Same field, new skills
He felt ready. “Even before the final module in the bootcamp, I started applying for jobs.” It didn’t take long. “I actually got my job a month after I finished the bootcamp.”
Now, he’s still in oil and gas, but his expertise is bringing him new projects. “I work with Leidos. What I do, essentially, is just any project they have related to machine learning for oil and gas, applying different machine learning algorithms to geological and geospatial data sets.”
With his new, stable job, Chuk is diving into Alaska. “It’s more like a family here. Everyone opens their house to you.” And he’s enjoying his newfound expertise.
Even when I’m watching Netflix, I get movie recommendations based on what I’ve watched. The moment I see that, I tell my wife, ‘This is data science in action.'
Our pitch to you
If you, too, are looking for a bootcamp that will help you find stable work that can take you where you want to go, then TripleTen can help. Check out the programs we offer, and if you’re not sure which tech specialty to pursue, try our career quiz.
Check out Chuk's story in his own words in this video.