From Teacher to Coder and Beyond: Navigating a Career in Education & Tech with Shanita Scott

Shanita Scott’s path to Grand Circus was similar to many of our students, which is to say, completely unique and remarkable. She cut her own path through multiple career pivots, ultimately finding a way to combine her passions for education and technology.

This journey started with Shanita’s passion for learning and teaching.

Shanita Scott was a veteran teacher. When her district needed an instructor for computer science, Shanita’s passion made her a natural choice.

The only problem? She didn’t know how to code.

Enter Grand Circus. Shanita took our daytime coding bootcamp during her 2016 summer break. She fell in love with programming.

Although Shanita initially went back to teaching, she was soon recruited by GE to join their team as a software engineer. Leaving education wasn’t an easy choice for Shanita. She had devoted her entire career, over 12 years, to teaching. She loved the direct impact she had on young lives. But she took the leap knowing that she wanted to explore a new path with this career change. 

Grand Circus bootcamp paved the way for a career in technology.

After Grand Circus bootcamp, Shanita felt prepared for anything. The training equipped her for the technical demands of the job, but tackling the challenges of bootcamp gave her much more. 

With the support of Grand Circus, Shanita took her career to places she never thought possible. 

After graduating and making the leap to the tech world, she spent three years in various tech industry roles. She continued learning and building on the skills that she developed during bootcamp. 

And then a new opportunity presented itself.

Shanita found new career possibilities at the intersection of tech and education.

Her years as an educator and her work in coding meant that she was uniquely qualified to lead a program at the intersection of teaching and technology. She joined Microsoft as a Regional Manager for TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools)

Through her work with TEALS, she brought computer science education to metro Detroit schools that previously lacked qualified instructors, helping to educate the next generation of programmers and address inequities in tech.

This opportunity would never have appeared without the investment that Shanita made in herself by taking a Grand Circus bootcamp. Shanita says:

Since completing the bootcamp, a wealth of career opportunities have opened up for me. Having a background in education and tech gave me a unique skill set that is in demand right now in the education sector.

What’s Shanita doing now? She’s the Senior Director of Computer Science for the Detroit Public Schools Community District, the same school system from which she graduated. That’s pretty incredible. 

While she isn’t coding every day, she is using everything she learned at Grand Circus and her time in the tech field to shape the future of computer science and the youth of Detroit.

We’re proud that our work at Grand Circus helped her get there.

What advice does she give potential bootcamp students?

Bootcamp is hard work, but the payoff can be huge. Shanita’s advice for anyone thinking about joining a Grand Circus bootcamp and looking for a career change: 

  1. Understand the time commitment – this is a big deal. 
  2. Do some research on computer science careers and programming languages. 
  3. Develop a career plan and career goals.

We recommend taking our free Intro to Coding workshop to test the waters.

Recognizing your own transferable skills is key to career changes.

From the start, Shanita recognized that her skills and experience were valuable, even as she moved into a new career.

Transferable skills are something we all have. Everything we do before coming to Grand Circus is valuable and informs how we move forward in our careers. Rather than holding us back, diverse work experiences open new doors.

For Shanita, a few years away from education allowed her to circle back with renewed passion and new ways to serve students. 

Shanita has one last piece of advice for anyone looking to change their career: 

Whatever career you are previously coming from, think about how those skills are related to tech. Create your own niche. 

You have so much unique talent to give this world. Take your training from Grand Circus and carve your own path, just like Shanita did.