How One Educator Helped 120 Industry Newcomers Find Jobs in Tech

  • Mary Awodele founded My Tech Bestfriend to help underrepresented workers break into tech.
  • She helped some students double or triple their income with entry-level tech roles.
  • She wants to help them find the “boring” jobs that are less competitive but come with high salaries.

Mary Awodele started her career in tech as a self-taught systems administrator. She switched fields from doing sales work and pursuing nursing by completing a dozen IT certifications, like ServiceNow’s trainings for systems administrator and professional scrum master. Now, her full-time gig is helping others do the same. 

Over the past nine months, Awodele, the founder and CEO of the tech-education program My Tech Bestfriend, helped more than 120 people land new roles in tech. She said that in some cases, she saw students go from making $40,000 a year to $100,000 in their new tech job.

But it’s not just about the salary. With My Tech Bestfriend, Awodele said her goal was to increase wealth in minority homes for generations to come. Switching into tech can come with life-changing salary bumps that “can honestly change a whole bloodline,” Awodele said. 

Landing a stable, well-paying tech job can be “a huge, huge life changer and a huge game changer” by providing people the security to take care of their households. “​​It’s a lot deeper to me than just like, ‘Here’s your job. Here’s your salary,” Awodele said.

The philosophy behind the effort is connecting people with tech roles that Awodele calls “bored but paid,” her term for lucrative positions that often get overlooked. Focusing on the “roles that nobody else wants to do” helps candidates find positions with high job security and high pay with lower barriers to entry, according to Awodele. 

“It doesn’t mean that the roles are actually boring. It just means more lucrative and hidden positions that a lot of people don’t pay attention to,” Awodele said.

These jobs may include specialized roles such as engineers, system administrators, and project managers for software like Salesforce, ServiceNow, SharePoint, and Jira.

And people want in on the effort. In the first 24 hours of opening applications for the latest cohort of her tech-education program, 700 people applied, Awodele said. Tech companies are paying attention, too, as Awodele meets with Microsoft and others to talk about staffing partnerships.

My Tech Bestfriend’s approach is part technical skills and part mentorship. Career assessments with students help them find a role that matches their personality and interests. Then, quarterly cohorts attend instructor-led training sessions with projects based on real-world tasks and have access to résumé help and interview prep. The cohorts last about three months and cost $4,000 to $5,000. 

“There’s this huge misconception that nobody’s hiring entry-level people,” Awodele said. But by crafting résumés that play to a candidate’s talents and qualifications, candidates have been able to land their first roles in tech with high-paying salaries.

“It was really just about patience and keywords and tailoring yourself and being able to speak to your résumé and really selling yourself the best way that you can,” Awodele said.

And students told Insider that the program worked. Isabella Beltri is a My Tech Bestfriend student, and she works as a data project manager and technical recruiter at the data firm Mammoth Growth. She’s using the program to help land a promotion at the company.

“My biggest takeaway is just not being afraid to just step out of my comfort zone and learn any tool, learn a new skill,” Beltri said. The efforts have already gained the attention of the company’s chief technology officer, who is working with the company to further support Beltri’s growth, she said.

Shakara Whitehead, a junior ServiceNow developer, attended the My Tech Bestfriend program to switch careers from the medical field to tech. She said Awodele showed moral support while she applied to jobs, and after about 10 rejections, she found a new role.

Along with new benefits like unlimited paid time off and working remotely, “I was able to triple my income,” Whitehead said, adding: “I love it. And I’m just screaming at everybody to get into tech.”