What do you do when you want to retool for a new career? As an adult, you have more responsibilities and time pressures. Add to that the chance that at any moment you can get a call from school saying that your kids will be learning from home for the week or month or more, and it can be difficult to manage being a working professional.
Today we are highlighting one of our success stories here at the Web Professionals Organization. Eliza H. is a mother of school-age children who had to transition to working remotely because her children were home more due to frequent COVID-19 school closings. Over the years she has taken courses at her local community college to keep her skills sharp and continue to develop her career, and she is working with the Web Professionals Organization to continue that development and maintain flexibility to balance her personal life and professional life.
Eliza earned her Web Design certification and Remote Working Professional certification all from the comfort of her own home by taking the courses from the curriculum partner of the Web Professionals Organization, CTeLearning. She recently used those credentials to land a remote job as a web community developer and is now working on meaningful projects in the job of her dreams. In her interviews for the job, she was able to talk about the industry certifications she earned. She started on a Monday, knocked out four separate interviews all within a week and she was offered the job that Friday.
As a mom with two young children, these courses and certifications gave her the skills and knowledge to enter the tech field while maintaining her status as an involved mother. She still picks her children up from school, helps them with homework, and stays with them when they are home sick.
Eliza is very thankful to her local community college that set her up with this opportunity and gave her the chance to become certified web designer through the web design curriculum. With all the chatter today about the high cost of college, she shows how quickly you can upskill. No high-dollar boot camp. No expensive four-year school with big loans. And these certifications are built and backed by industry, not professional testing companies. Instead of having to take a high-stakes exam at the end of the courses, she completed project work through the courses to build her career-ready portfolio. Her training paid off when she realized on day one of the job that she already had the skills to succeed.
Right before she landed her job, we caught up with Eliza to learn more about her journey and dedication to professional development in the age of remote work.
What attracted you to web design and development?
Web design and development allow me to combine my passions—being creative and helping people. I love being creative and bringing ideas to light while helping people expand their businesses to reach other places and countries. I am currently focusing on the coding or backend side of websites so I will be able to provide customized website designs to each client.
What did you enjoy about your experience at the community college?
Community colleges offer fantastic value. It was an easy choice for me to first look at Washtenaw Community College to retool and get ready for the new reality of work. It wasn’t just the convenience—Washtenaw is part of our local economy, understands our community, has great teachers and is affordable. I really do love Washtenaw. I started taking classes back in 2006 when I was transitioning from one college to another. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I took some general education classes that would transfer. I love the small class sizes, and the teachers are excellent. I have gone back several times to take classes and have never had a bad experience.
How has your experience at the community college shown you how important it is to continue to develop your skills as a professional?
I previously worked in an office and took classes at my local community college that taught me the skills I needed to be good at my job. Now that I have my Web Design certification, I am taking even more courses. The information that I am learning is up-to-date and valuable in the job market.
How has taking the Remote Working Professional course and earning the certification empowered you as a working professional?
The Remote Working Professional course provided guidance on how to set up my day-to-day operations while working from home. Now that many jobs have moved to being remote, we need to learn how to make home the new workplace and also be able to separate work life from home life. I have worked from home in the past doing tech support, and this course has provided me with further knowledge and an industry-recognized certification on how to work remotely and be successful. I like that this was something I could do during the kids’ nap time or when they were at school. The information was easy to digest and I could easily pick up where I left off.
How has the course and certification changed your view of global connectivity and people being able to learn and work remotely from anywhere?
I think we are digitally connected more than ever. The Remote Working Professional course shows others that I have the skills to work from my home office and excel in a variety of roles.
What skills did you learn in the course about working remotely that you would share with a hiring manager in a job interview?
I would tell them about my home office that is secluded from the rest of the house, which ensures I have limited distractions during the day. I would also tell them about how I am more productive working at home since I don’t have a commute.
What does the term future-proof mean to you now?
Future-proof means being able to have an in-demand flexible career and business that I can work on when I want to.
What have you learned about how to balance being a mom with school-aged kids with being a working professional in the remote economy?
I love working remotely because I have time to get tasks for work and home done. I can take a quick break and go change laundry loads or take the dogs out for a walk. I can pick up my kids from school if I need to. Being able to get home tasks completed allows me to focus more on work. I end up getting more done than if I had to commute.
What have you learned that you would pass onto your kids to help them excel in the classroom as well as in their future professional lives?
It is important to make a schedule and follow it. Set times to focus on work and times to take breaks. Great time management can make you stand out and be more productive. With the pandemic, it is more important than ever to be able to learn and work productively from home.
What would you tell other parents who are considering career changes?
Don’t be afraid! You have to come up with a plan of attack to get where you want to go and then follow it. Don’t let doubt get to you. Find something that you are passionate about so that work becomes more like play. Get paid to do what you love.
Reach Out To Us Today
We are proud of Eliza and all of our students who strive to further their professional development, no matter what stage of life they are in. Contact us today to find out more about us and how we can work with you to help you achieve your goals.