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Closing the IT Skills Gap with Coding Academies: A Q&A with an Avalara UX Engineer

By Jesse Hamlin

Avalara has hired several Code Fellows alumni over the past several years, with each one bringing grit, passion, and top-shelf training in software development. We sat down with Lee Broxson, UX engineer here at Avalara and our first hire from Code Fellows’ program, to talk about his career after studying at a coding academy, and how programs like Code Fellows — his “alma mater” — are helping to shrink the IT skills gap.

Tell us a little bit about Code Fellows.

This environment can be really hard at first, especially if you’re expecting the pace of a four-year institution. But you’re learning skills that are in high demand, and getting training that otherwise may not be available if you’re limited by time or financial resources. It’s intense but worth it, considering that you’re trained in five months — not four years.

Can you explain the work that Avalara does with Code Fellows?

Can you tell us a bit more about your day-to-day role as a UX engineer?

From there, I’ll usually investigate the work I have on-deck for the day, get an understanding of the scope, and reach out to stakeholders for any clarity I need.

Once I have completed a task — usually it is a UI feature of some kind, so there is a visual component — I will run it by our design team for confirmation that everything is in order and all of the pixels look right. Then our team goes through a technical review process to ensure no new bugs have been introduced.

I also sometimes have a meeting or two during the day with the members of my team. There’s a lot of intra-team technical knowledge sharing, and we like to teach each other the stuff we figure out in the course of a given day.

How does a coding academy like Code Fellows prepare you to work at a place like Avalara?

Why do you feel that coding academies like the Code Fellows program are important?

What has been the best part about working at Avalara so far?

Do you have any words of advice for people who are considering joining a coding academy like Code Fellows?

Thanks for sharing, Lee! If you’d like to learn more about how a coding academy can help you learn today’s in-demand tech skills, get in touch.

Want more great content as you learn to code? See what’s new on the Code Fellows blog »

Learn to Code. Get a Job. Start Here! Learn more at www.codefellows.org

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