“Tech was never on the table for me when I was younger,” Alison, a recent Ada Developers Academy grad, reflects over coffee in SoDo’s Macrina Bakery. “When I thought of tech, I thought of the nerd stereotype – like the comic book guy from The Simpsons. I couldn’t identify.”
Alison grew up believing that tech is a man’s world. That it’s not diverse. That it’s not for people like her.
In college, Alison obtained a Master’s in Linguistics and spent her days studying, researching, writing, and teaching about endangered languages. She even spent four months in a remote village in the Amazon studying and documenting a language spoken by only 18 people in the world. Alison enjoyed deconstructing languages and identifying patterns. The work stimulated and fulfilled the part of her brain that loved tackling complex and interesting challenges.
After years as a linguist, though, Alison yearned for a change in profession that would make a bigger impact on more people. So, she began attending “women in tech” events around Seattle and discovered not only a passion for the work, but also intriguing similarities to linguistics. It was around this time a friend recommended that Alison look into Ada Developers Academy.
Located in Seattle, Ada Developers Academy trains women and gender-diverse individuals to become software developers and pursue a career in the tech industry. Students go through six rigorous months of classroom training followed by five months in a paid industry internship.
When Alison was accepted into Ada – whose acceptance rate rivals that of Ivy League universities at 10 percent –she was thrilled. “A whole world opened up,” she shares. “I knew I wanted a piece of the pie. To be part of the creation, part of the change.”
Her coursework was grueling. “You need grit to get through this program. But we all supported each other, especially when things got really, really hard,” Alison says of her fellow classmates, affectionately referred to as “Adies.”
Classroom instruction extended beyond software development. Students had regular classes about topics like professional development in the tech industry, advocating for themselves, creating inclusive spaces, and empowering each other in an effort to “change the face of Seattle tech.”
This holistic education of diversity, inclusion, and social justice resonated with Alison. “It’s the most Seattle thing ever,” she jokes. “I’m very grateful to be a part of this change.”
This gratitude motivated Alison throughout her job search, as did her passion for strengthening community. She recognizes a similar passion among the team at Seattle Credit Union, which is one of the reasons she’s proud to be a member.
Alison belonged to a big bank before switching to Seattle Credit Union ten years ago. She was looking for a financial institution that more closely aligned with her personal values, and a friend recommended she look into a credit union. Now, she has a savings and checking account, as well as a credit card.
For Alison, it’s a special bonus knowing that this year, we’ve designated Ada Developers Academy as our Feel Good Checking partner. For every Feel Good Checking account opened, we’ll donate $20 to Ada in support of students working hard to change the face of Seattle tech.
Like the work she strives to do within the tech industry, Alison can feel good about her banking. In fact, she hopes to one day leverage our products and services to create a foundation that financially supports Ada graduates until they find full-time employment in the tech industry – all funded by Ada alumni.
There’s no doubt Alison will make waves in the tech industry, and we’re proud to support her and all “Adies” in their quest to make the world a more inclusive place.