Tech Elevator is an intensive in-person and online education provider helping individuals and companies acquire in-demand technology skills for the modern workforce.
Through their full-time and part-time coding bootcamps, Tech Elevator teaches students from diverse backgrounds to become software developers, and help to build necessary career-readiness skills and career connections through their nationally recognized Pathway Program™.
We chatted with Mike about his career transformation, learned more about his journey with Tech Elevator, and gained practical career advice that’s perfect for college students and recent grads. Read on!
It’s so great to meet you, Mike! We’re so excited to learn more about your career transformation, and hear about your journey with Tech Elevator. First off, tell us a little more about yourself.
I grew up in Media in Delaware County about 30 mins from the city. I graduated from Penn State and moved to the city in 2015 and I’ve been living here ever since. I settled down in Southwest Philly for now. I work at Urban Outfitters (URBN); their corporate headquarters are down at the Navy Yard!
Tell us about your role at URBN. How did you land the job?
I’m a Business Systems Analyst at URBN. I had previously worked at URBN in Food & Beverage. Because it’s a big corporate campus with a couple thousand people, the campus is open to the public with a large food court for visitors. I was a part of the catering team, so I was often dropping off food and drink for events. I was in that role for four years before I pursued the opportunity at Tech Elevator.
URBN came and presented to us [at MatchMaking] and just having that familiarity with the brand and seeing some familiar faces on the recruiting team gave me a step-up, and I secured an interview.
Even though I decided that software development was not something I saw myself doing long-term, I learned a lot of valuable skills that are helping me out—especially now that I am “boots-on-the-ground” in this analyst job.
Tech Elevator has helped me with complex problem-solving; being given a task and using the tools and resources available to you to get through it step by step.
What are some key lessons you learned throughout your role?
There are a lot of moving pieces and steps that go along with what I do. I didn’t think that supply chain logistics was what I was interested in, but it’s fascinating. I am getting to work with people who are involved in all different steps of that process.
Actually, a big reason I wanted to go in this direction was because of the exposure I had to data management at Tech Elevator. Here in this job, I’m getting to work in data visualization tools and different database management software, and as I continue to get more comfortable in this role, I pick which route I want to go. The potential here is really exciting.
What helped prepare you for this position?
Time and resource management. In my position, I have a help desk responsibility for tickets coming in, so there are always two or three things on my plate with a sense of urgency. And Tech Elevator’s bootcamp was having to do something all the time, everyday, and learning how to balance and prioritize things. And I do that everyday here at URBN.
What does your day-to-day work look like?
My day-to-day includes a lot of systems and jobs that are just running behind the scenes all the time. There’s a lot of troubleshooting and going through processes to figure out what went wrong, and making an adjustment from there.
At Tech Elevator, whenever we went over a new tutorial, you had to dive in and figure it out—and that’s a lot of what I do in that sense. I interact with members on a lot of different teams. My day-to-day is a good mix of working with other people and coming together to try and fix something, and also putting my head down and working through things on my own!
I am also in a hybrid role now, so I try to come in one or two days a week to change things up. Also, I really like my team. Everyone is super supportive, especially being the new person in this role. I am very grateful that everyone has made this a welcoming environment!
How are you building your network in Philly? Do you have any advice for college students or recent grads looking to expand their professional network?
What’s some advice you’d give to a student seeking a job or internship at URBN this summer?
Coming into this position without prior analyst experience, the big thing I leaned into was my excitement and eagerness to learn—and selling the point that I am a blank slate. Being willing to challenge yourself with something new is what URBN really appreciates, and any company for that matter. Any prior experience you have that is applicable, sell that! You might not think it matches up, but you never know… put it out there.