How DevBuild Helped One Woman Get Back to Her Career Path
By Hillary Cargo, Lead Technology Blog Editor, Rocket Mortgage Technology
After a decade-long break from her career to raise her children, Yosha Kunnummal wanted to restart her career but didn’t know where to begin. Five months later, she graduated from the Rocket Companies’ DevBuild Program as a software engineer.
In 2009 when her husband’s job was transferred from India to Phoenix, Arizona, Yosha Kunnummal made a sacrifice familiar to many parents and caretakers. With a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Engineering from Calicut University and two years’ experience in the technical field, she decided to become a stay-at-home mother. In 2018, when the couple eventually moved to Michigan with their two school-aged children, Kunnummal continued to stay home while her husband worked, but she longed to return to her professional career.
With a 10-year gap on her resume, Kunnummal faced a challenge familiar to many caretakers. How could she dive back into the workforce, knowing she had the knowledge and expertise of a technologist, but she also needed to refresh her skills?
This is where Kunnummal’s life turned to a new opportunity. She needed to refresh her skills. She decided to sign up to attend Per Scholas, a software development course based in Detroit.
“I had just graduated from that program as the pandemic happened,” said Kunnummal. “The market was not good for junior-level engineers.” Then, a project manager with Per Scholas told her about a program called DevBuild at Rocket Companies. She quickly went to the Rocket Careers portal page and applied for the program.
DevBuild is a 5-month, full-time technology training program sponsored by Rocket Companies. It’s geared toward developing people’s skills to become successful software engineers. While going through this training program, participants receive full benefits, a competitive salary and a fast-tracked advantage into a tech position within Rocket Companies.
Historically, DevBuild was only open to candidates inside Rocket Companies, but Kunnummal was the first external candidate to apply and receive a spot in the program. In addition, Kunnummal was new to the company culture and role, all while connecting remotely.
“Everything was new to me from a cultural perspective,” Kunnummal said.
“Everyone on the team was so helpful. If I had doubts, they were so supportive.” Kunnummal quickly learned that the DevBuild team’s work was an embodiment of many of the key principles often shared at Rocket Companies. Each new Rocket Companies team member goes through training on our philosophies — the ISMs.
“My favorite ISM is Obsessed with Finding a better way,” Kunnummal said. “For everything we have a normal process, so if we try to make it in a better way, we are constantly trying to make those processes more efficient.”
Kunnummal’s ability to embrace the culture was immediately noticed by her team leader Troy Guthrie.
“Kunnummal specifically stood out to me because she had put her career on hold to raise her children,” Guthrie said. “To me, what was impressive was that she took that leap. Her determination showed that she wanted to get back into technology.”
Guthrie describes the DevBuild program as a “firehose” of information.
“DevBuild does a good job of covering the surface knowledge of a little bit of everything,” he said. “Once [DevBuild graduates] get to the team, it’s more hands-on work and getting them focused on what we’re doing with the team.” Even after a few months in, he said, Kunnummal stepped in to see where she could contribute to the team.
“She steps up and does not hang back,” he said. “She’s eager to help everyone out and has earned the respect of the team now that she’s more comfortable.”
While taking part in the program Kunnummal collaborated with other hardworking DevBuild participates. As these team members strived to transition from their previous roles into the technology sector, Kunnummal worked to transition back into the technical field while immersing herself in the Rocket Companies’ culture.
Kunnummal’s family was proud and supportive of her decision. While Kunnummal worked from home, her husband would pick up their youngest daughter from the bus stop and maintain household tasks throughout the day until she finished work.
When her son found out about his mom’s new role, he asked for a computer of his own.
“My dad is a college professor of economics in India and he is even more proud of me now,” Kunnummal said. “He tells his colleagues about his daughter, the software engineer.”
“The biggest difference DevBuild has made in my life is that I can be independent in financial things,” Kunnummal said. Aside from having financial independence, Kunnummal says her favorite part of working at Rocket Companies is that she learns new technical things daily.
With her first paycheck, Kunnummal bought her son the laptop he requested. Within six months of starting the DevBuild program, and with two wage-earners in their family, the Kunnummals bought their own home in December 2021 using Rocket Mortgage (SM).
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