Follow along with our engineering apprentice Lauren Kessell as she documents her time at Upstatement. Welcome to the first installment of the Apprenticeship Diaries.

I’m three months into my engineering apprenticeship at Upstatement, and I’m finally figuring out what I want to be when I grow up.

A bit about me

Deciding on a career path has been a lifelong source of anxiety for me. This time last year, I was a full-time ice cream maker at a local parlor called Clumpies. Before that, I was a Starbucks barista. Unlike many of my coworkers, I loved when first-time customers would come in with no idea what to order. That to me was the best part of the job—helping others find the perfect drink for themselves (and their taste buds). Where others saw inconvenience and a slowed-down store, I saw the chance to share knowledge and make someone’s day a little brighter. ✨

You could say that my work up to this point has always been about problem-solving. Whether it’s creating a new ice cream flavor or troubleshooting an uncooperative printer, I love being presented with a problem that needs fixing. It’s an attitude I had even as a kid, when I was more interested in organizing the toy bins in the Disney gift shop than watching the parade happening outside. That curious and can’t-stop-until-I-figure-it-out mindset is what led me to the coding bootcamp Turing, and eventually, Upstatement.

Breaking the tech stereotype

While technology had always been a staple in my childhood, “tech” had never seemed like a viable career path until Turing. I got my first taste of coding playing Neopets on a colorful Mac, and spent all my free time playing video games, but those had felt like hobbies instead of a career. I thought software engineering meant working alone in my basement, not alongside a team.

At Upstatement, I get to experience the same close-knit and collaborative work environment that I loved about my previous jobs—only instead of crafting ice cream, we’re writing code. The culture of pair-programming and asking questions has shown me that everyone has both something to teach and something to learn.

In a couple of weeks, my first project at Upstatement will finally launch—and it’s built with a programming language I’d never even used until my first day here. I’ll share another update then to show off what we made and what I’ve learned in the process. 🚀

Learn more about our apprenticeship program here.