Launching My Pursuit

Our Fellows join Pursuit for many reasons: to learn the technical skills and industry smarts needed to break into the tech industry, to create a product or service that positively impacts millions of people, and to transform their lives, their careers, and their communities.

We asked a few of our current Fellows about their journeys at Pursuit. Here’s what they had to say:

Olimpia Compean

5.3 iOS Days

Tell us about yourself. What you were doing before you came to Pursuit?

I was in my home country of Mexico, with limited opportunities to study. This wonderful country has opened my eyes to so many amazing opportunities. I’ve worked as a babysitter and sales associate, but I always knew there was more for me and my career.

How did you find out about Pursuit and why did you decide to join the program?

When I decided to learn to code, I researched a lot of programs, but I was an outsider in the tech industry and the other programs looked intimidating. I chose Pursuit because of its inclusive and healthy environment. At Pursuit, I don’t feel self-conscious about my lack of tech knowledge; everyone is so supportive. The payment model was motivation as well; as a single mom, my finances are limited so this was a great way for me to get the training I needed without worrying about how I was going to pay for it up front.

What’s something you learned about yourself at Pursuit?

Pursuit requires hard work and sacrifice. I realized I’m willing to work as hard as I can to get a job in the tech industry and make a better living for me and my child.

What do you hope to gain from the program?

I hope to change my career path and have the opportunity to be creative. I’m excited about creating something that can make an impact. I’m still head over heels about being here.


Jonelle Bain

5.1 Full Stack Web Days

Tell us about yourself. What you were doing before you came to Pursuit?

I’m a mother of two children, ages two and three. I was studying to become a nurse, but I had to drop out because it was too expensive. After doing freelance graphic design work for a few years, I needed to make more money to support my kids, so I decided to drive for Uber part-time.

How did you find out about Pursuit and why did you decide to join the program?

My father, who is also an Uber driver, showed me a notification about Pursuit on his app. I am a creative person at heart. I’ve always had an interest in how mobile apps were built and maintained. To be given a chance to learn how to develop apps, especially in a day and age where everyone depends on their mobile device, was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!

What’s something you learned about yourself at Pursuit?

I’m learning that I am so much stronger than I thought! This program allows me to face my fear of failing; just when I thought that I couldn’t push any further with coding, I go the extra mile to figure it out. The Pursuit team has been incredibly supportive in teaching me to code. I’‘m learning that you can reinvent yourself and your career, no matter your age.

What do you hope to gain from the program?

To find a job and transform my children’s lives. I hope to supplement my coding abilities with my passion for graphic design, and vice-versa.


Joshua Viera

5.3 iOS Days

Tell us about yourself. What you were doing before you came to Pursuit?

I lived in public housing for 22 years. At one point I was homeless. Growing up, I was easily influenced by my peers, so I made regretful decisions that hindered me from using my full potential. Although I was constantly praised for how smart I was, I didn’t prioritize my education. Sophomore year my mother had an injury that forced me to leave school and work to help my family. Before Pursuit, I was a bartender, barista, and a sales lead at Baked by Melissa.

How did you find out about Pursuit and why did you decide to join the program?

I wanted to be a developer because I love programming! I love creating things. I found out about Pursuit through Urban Upbound and it didn’t take a lot of convincing for me to enroll. I was particularly interested in the three years of career services you receive. You don’t just train to become a software developer, you also get help finding a job.

What’s something you learned about yourself at Pursuit?

We have a phrase that we use “fail forward,” and I’ve been taking that to heart. Projecting growth, being empathetic, and staying eager to learn are things that I had to reach inside of myself to find. I’ve found that your eagerness to learn isn’t the same as your capacity to grasp the material — and that’s OK. The goal is to continue failing forward, to continue to persevere.

What do you hope to gain from the program?

Steve Jobs said, “Everybody in this country should learn to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.” This is the future; every market across the map has converted to the Internet. It’s still in its growing stages, yet it is so powerful. I’m proud to say that I want to be a part of that growth and get a job as a software developer.


Applications are open now for the Pursuit 6.0 Fellowship. Learn more about Pursuit and how to apply.