Ramona Saintandre is a trailblazer. She’s a proud 50-year-old mother of three kids and grandmother of eight who has worked in the tech industry for two decades.
She has been in the IT field for more than 20 years now, primarily in a support role ranging from helpdesk, operations, field service work, technology business sales, and server system administrator. However, her journey through tech has not always been smooth.
“Udacity came into my life after I was laid off from a company that I worked at for 10 years, due to corporate restructuring. I found that the world of IT had changed a lot in those 10 years. Hiring companies were looking for more experience in scripting, coding, web page assistance. It was then that a friend of mine sent me a link for one of the scholarships offered by Udacity and I applied,” she said.
Watch her story here:
Ramona’s Early Encounter with Technology
About 30 years ago, when Ramona was in high school, she learned to code a game.
“Working on a TRS-80 with a 5.25 floppy disk, I had to take my disk home every day. Well, one fine day my loving mom decided to put my disk on the fridge with a magnet so that I would not forget for my final project. Needless to say, with what frustration I already had that was the nail in the coffin for my IT career, or at least I thought that was the end.
“Fast forward 10 years, I became a single mother after my husband died. Computers were becoming integral in my kid’s education, so I picked one up at a yard sale for $20.00. Just like with car repair, computer repair is a great way to take advantage of someone.
“I was always having the Tech Guys, aka Geek Squad over. I decided to educate myself, so I went down to K-mart got myself a NetZero disk, and got on the internet. That was the beginning of my computer learning journey. This led me to going back to school getting certified with various certifications, and changing my career from being a waitress to Server Support for Dell.”
Ramona Puts Imposter Syndrome in its Place
After working for companies like Dell, Northrup Gruman, CompUSA, State of Texas, and Johnson Controls, Ramona found that she needed more skills to keep up with the pace of technology and sought out Udacity to help her gain new skills.
“The world of coding had changed so much, it was no longer the pocket-protector, goth-looking, in the dungeon geeks that I grew up with. During my first scholarship with Udacity, all those apprehensions that I had as a child working the TRS-80 with my computer club came back.
“Today, they call it the imposter syndrome. But during a Udacity [Pledge to Equality Scholarship] career fair, someone explained Developer Advocacy and what the role entailed. This is the job for me, I can still be in IT, help people, educate people, and don’t have to code.”
She then started to build her brand, learn more about advocacy, and become more proficient with coding. “Because of my age though, I had to do it faster,” she added.
Then COVID hit in the middle of her journey. “With the skills that I had acquired from the Front-end Web Developer Nanodegree program I completed as a part of the scholarship program, I was able to acquire a job as a Software Developer Engineer. Once again, I found myself needing to re-skill/up-skill a little. So now through another opportunity with Udacity’s Pledge to Equality Scholarship, I am learning the world of DevOps,” she said.