Opportunities for Continued Learning | Alumni Spotlight

Sep 20, 2023
Jessica Grande

We’re catching up with some of our alumni and sharing their advice for our students and recent graduates.

Many students come to Nashville Software School (NSS) without ever having pulled a SQL query or written a line of code. Before she enrolled in NSS, full-time Data Analytics Cohort 6 and Data Science Cohort 7 alumna, Monica Weiss-Sharp, hailed from a career in animal science! “I have the interesting combination of a Bachelor's in Animal Science and Master's in Social Work,” she says. “Prior to coming to NSS, I had worked primarily in veterinary medicine as a nurse and hospital administrator.” 

Becoming a Data Engineer: A Transition to Cloud and Beyond

Monica's current job title is Data Engineer, but her role encompasses much more than the label suggests. “I'm supporting a transition from an on-premise data warehouse to the cloud,” she explains. “So a lot of what I do is find answers to new questions as they arise,” a task that definitely requires her to adapt and find solutions. It's a dynamic and ever-evolving role, making every day a learning experience.

The Daunting Yet Rewarding Leap into Tech

Though some moments early on may have felt a bit daunting, Monica shares that overall her shift into her new career in tech has been “really fun with lots of learning and exploring,” and credits NSS to her solid foundation for her data skills to stand on. 

“The specific tech skills and experience working on projects that I had after my bootcamps were of course important, but even bigger than that, I came away knowing how to keep learning,” she says of her time at NSS. “Having confidence in my ability to navigate new tools has been critical in my first role.” 

Opportunities for Continued Learning

Monica was a recipient of NSS’s Opportunity Tuition, which is our unique shared-risk tuition plan. “The Opportunity Tuition allowed me to easily say ‘yes’ to jumping into the Data Science program rather than needing to immediately get a job in the industry following [my graduation] of the Data Analytics program,” she explains. 

Advice for Aspiring Techies

For those considering a tech career without prior experience, Monica believes a good way to test one’s interest and ability is the introductory Jumpstart courses offered by NSS. “I would HIGHLY recommend taking one of the NSS Jumpstart programs,” she recommends. “That's what I did. It was an easy way to dip a toe in the water and I came away with confidence that not only was I capable of learning to code, but that I would actually enjoy it!” 

When asked to share something that has surprised her about her first job in tech, Monica shared that it was how significant GitHub is in her current role as a data engineer. “NSS provided me with solid familiarity with the basics [of GitHub], and from there I've really been able to dive deeper, and that has made me a real asset to my team.”

Monica Wiess-Sharp's journey to becoming a Data Engineer serves as a reminder that no matter your background, you can gain the skills needed for a career in tech! We are proud to have Monica as an NSS alumna, and we look forward to seeing her achieve even more as she continues to grow in her tech career. Way to go, Monica!

Ready to start your journey towards a career in tech? Learn how NSS can help you get there! Check out our upcoming programs and apply today!

Topics: Alumni, Analytics + Data Science