Meet Ajalan Brown: From US Military to Sales to Tech
by Ajay Parthasarathy, Nov. 4, 2021 1 p.m. CST
How often do you come across someone who had passion, but life had different plans for them? And yet, they defied all odds and came out a champion? Meet Ajalan Brown, who not only has had a hero’s journey but also benefitted immensely from his stint at Skillspire, learning Full Stack Web Development.
Ever since he was a child, Ajalan loved computers. There was something about it that excited and intrigued him at the same time and wanted to learn everything about it. Having an aunt who was professionally into network engineering made it all the more beneficial, and he got hooked into computers, so much that playing around computers became a true hobby for him.
However, things were not easy, as they say, life is not all sunshine and rainbows. Ajalan joined the military as a Human Resource Specialist, where he served a good period of about 4 years.
Somewhere, things had changed for him, and he found himself away from what his passion was, and had got a job in sales. Though he was naturally good at sales, there was something that he always wanted to do – and that is to get back into the hobby of computers. He knew this was his passion all along, and thought to himself, “Hey, why not turn this passion into a career?”
And then came the moment. He had a Chromebook with a Linux beta, and he thoroughly enjoyed the rookie setup, because he loved what he was doing. He taught himself the basics of HTML, CSS, SQL, and even some basic Python scripts, but he knew he needed guidance to take this passion and turn it into a profession – one that doesn’t feel like a profession at all. He started looking for options that could help him get what he wanted, and that’s how he discovered Skillspire. He called up the number listed on the website, and that was the inflection point. Recalling this point in his life, he says, “I remember, I was pleasantly surprised that the call was answered, even though it was past 7 pm.”
That one phone call changed things. He decided that this is what he wanted to do, and committed to it. All the military background came back to him in one instant, and he decided to do it, no matter what happened. Comparing this with conventional school education, he felt at home, and at ease. “I was finally at a place where I’m learning a course that would transform my life, unlike Anthropology, which only wasted my time and energy,” he says, with a happy smile.
Ajalan’s time at Skillspire was one filled with motivation, though there were times where he didn’t understand certain jargon or terminologies related to technology. “Yes, that was a challenge, but I put more effort into class materials, but more importantly, the instructors at Skillspire made it very easy for me – no matter what doubts I had, they always helped me with it,” he added. In addition, his military background of completing the mission no matter what, and added support from his family and other students in the class kept him motivated.
“I knew I had landed on a gold mine. I knew this is it!” He said, referring to the journey he had at Skillspire. He started putting in more effort; he started coding on the weekends and pushed everything to his GitHub repository, and kept building projects on his own. He also started looking for jobs in tech, even before he completed the course. With guidance from Skillspire’s career services and his motivation to get to his goal, he applied to more than 700 job openings, and landed a job that he wanted to pursue, in just 3 weeks.
“Skillspire changed my life, and I’m grateful for the experience here.” He says, thinking back in time. Upon asking what advice he would give to people who have an experience similar to him, and looking to change their lives, he says, “If it is something that you love, commit 100% to it. People say, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, but I’ll say, put all your eggs in one basket, and commit to it. If I can do it, you can do it too!” he added.