fbpx

What’s Your Perfect Career? Take the Free Quiz

Which School is Perfect For You? Find Out!

Worth the Leap? “Are Trade Schools Worth It?”

Posted on February 20, 2024 by Jamie Davis

Graduation cap tossed, future shimmering, a question echoes in your mind: “Are trade schools worth it?” Fear not, young adventurer, for this isn’t a binary choice, but a thrilling expedition into the world of skilled trades! Let’s navigate this maze together, uncovering the treasures that await and clearing any doubts that linger.

The answer, like a perfectly crafted weld, depends on your unique goals and aspirations. Traditional college might not spark your fire, but trade schools offer a different path, paved with hands-on learning and in-demand skills. Think of it as choosing the right tool for the job – the one that empowers you to build your dream career, brick by skilled brick.

So, what makes trade schools shine? Buckle up, we’re diving into the benefits:

However, let’s be honest, trade schools aren’t a magic wand. Research thoroughly, prioritize accredited programs with experienced instructors and strong industry connections. Remember, quality matters, and the right school can set you on a path to success.

Moreover, trade schools might not be the perfect fit for everyone. Consider your learning style, career aspirations, and long-term goals. Do you thrive in hands-on environments? Do your dream jobs require advanced degrees? Weigh your options carefully, and choose the path that ignites your soul.

Ultimately, “are trade schools worth it?” is a question only you can answer. Explore the possibilities, weigh the benefits against your unique goals, and embrace the journey of discovery. Remember, the right path, whether academic or vocational, leads to a fulfilling and rewarding future. So, future maker, step into the world of trade schools, explore your passions, and build your dreams. The skills you forge, brick by brick, will pave the way for a successful and enriching career. Go forth, explore, and build your future, and remember, the answer lies within your own ambition and determination!

Don’t Wait for a New Career! Take Action Today!

Are you Career training ready? Take our Career Training Readiness Quiz!

Identify goals, personal strengths, and important facts about your potential career path so you can make an informed decision about your future. It takes just a few minutes! 

Which school is right for you? Find out! Take our School Matching Quiz!

Take a short quiz and get personalized recommendations to career training courses based on your interests, experience, and goals!

Posted under: Webinars, News and Updates, Career Guides, School Resources, Student Success, Tuition Options, Student Loans, MeratasMemo

8 Scholarships for Coding Bootcamps

Posted on May 8, 2023 by Jamie Davis

Coding bootcamps range in price from around $7,500 for a part-time program to $13,500 for a full-time program, on average. While there are a variety of ways to cover the cost, scholarships are the first option you should pursue.

Why Scholarships?

Unlike other forms of financial aid — like loans — scholarships are free money, meaning you won’t have to pay them back. Loans, on the other hand, are borrowed money, meaning you’ll need to pay them back with interest. By maximizing the amount of free money you receive, you can limit the amount you borrow in loans.

8 Scholarships for Coding Bootcamp

Here’s 8 of the most compelling coding bootcamp scholarships we found:

Horatio Alger Career and Technical Scholarship

We Stand Together Scholarship

Women Who Code + Linux Foundation Scholarship

Brainstation Scholarships

Flatiron School Access Scholarship

Code Platoon Veteran and Military Spouse Scholarship

Lesbians Who Tech Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship

DevPoint Labs Learn to Code Scholarship

Where to Find Scholarships for Coding Bootcamp

Most scholarships are intended for college students, which can make finding coding bootcamp scholarships quite the hassle if you’re doing a simple Google search. Instead, use the list below to tailor your search.

Your Program

Your program itself likely offers scholarships. However, unlike a college education, you may not see these scholarships automatically awarded to you in your acceptance letter. You may need to contact the program directly to inquire about the opportunities.

For example, Coding Dojo offers the Coding Dojo Fresh Start Fund Scholarship for students enrolled full-time in their bootcamp. Codewise offers the Fellows Diversity Scholarship for students from underserved backgrounds, but you must be enrolled in a Code Fellows course to qualify.

Local Organizations

Local organizations — like your local Rotary group, nonprofits, and even the senior center — may offer scholarship opportunities. If you’re unsure where to look, don’t be afraid to contact the local high school for information. If they’re preparing their students for college, they may be willing to share the available scholarship opportunities with you.

Your Parents’ Employers

Some companies offer scholarships for employees and their families. Research your parents’ or guardians’ company to see what they offer, or contact them directly to inquire.

Do Service for Scholarships

Sites like DoSomething.org incentivize users to complete service by counting the hours completed as entries to scholarship opportunities. If you’re already doing service hours, it might be worthwhile to sign up for a DoSomething program to put those hours to use.

Contact Alumni Organizations

If your program has an alumni organization, consider reaching out to them. You may find these groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, or via a simple Google search. In some cases, they may offer scholarships, but you’ll likely need to seek them out.

Tip: Skip Scholarship Search Websites

Most scholarship search engines, like Scholarships.com, Niche, and Fastweb, won’t be worthwhile to explore. While they compile thousands of scholarships into one place, they often don’t have much for coding bootcamp students. Their focus is primarily on college scholarships, which won’t benefit you.

What to Do if You Don’t Get Enough Scholarships

If you don’t receive enough scholarships to cover the cost of the program, don’t panic. There are other ways to cover the bill.

Ask Your Employer

If you’re currently working, review your employee handbook and benefits package. Over half of employers offer tuition assistance for furthering your education, but just 2% of employees participate in the program. In some cases, your employer may cover the entire cost of the program, so it isn’t an opportunity you want to miss out on.

Look for Employers That Cover the Cost

If your employer doesn’t offer tuition assistance, it might be worthwhile to look for one that does. Companies like Amazon, Starbucks, and Apple offer reimbursement for qualified education expenses.

Borrow a Student Loan

Student loans should be your last resort. While it isn’t bad to borrow, you’ll need to pay the loan back with interest, so it’s best to explore all other options before taking out a loan.


If you do borrow, make sure to use a student loan search tool like Meratas to find the best loan option for you. Otherwise, you’ll need to search one-by-one via Google, and most results will show lenders that don’t work with bootcamp students. The Meratas Lender Marketplace, however, is designed specifically for trade, tech, and bootcamp students, so you won’t see loan offers you don’t qualify for.

Posted under: Career Guides, Student Success, Career Resources, Student Loans

7 Crucial Steps to Successfully Change Careers

Posted on by Jamie Davis

Changing careers can be daunting — venturing into a new field, being a “beginner” all over again, and the overwhelming question of, “Will this even work?” To set yourself up for success, follow the 7 steps below to guide you through the process of a career change.

Determine Your Why

Before making the plunge, take a moment to think. It may sound silly or useless, but processing where you are and where you’d like to be is crucial. It will give you a stronger idea of where you’re headed, which can help you figure out the steps you need to take in between to get there.

Use this time to determine:

Scroll Through Job Postings

To further evaluate the gaps between where you are and where you’re headed, scroll through job postings on sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster.

Look closely at the requirements for roles you’re interested in to identify skills and competencies you’ll need to refine to be a competitive applicant. Make a list of the areas you want to improve — this will help you generate a concrete plan to improve them.

Note: If the job postings are boring you to death, this might be a sign that the field isn’t as exciting as you once thought. If that’s the case, but you’re still craving a career change, explore similar roles using O*NET Online. You’ll be able to explore a variety of careers within similar industries that may have more compelling tasks that excite you.

Conduct Informational Interviews With Employees in The Field

To better understand the reality of the field you hope to pursue, conduct an informational interview with an employee in the field. This could be someone you know, someone you contact through LinkedIn, or a friend of a friend.

The purpose of the interview is to gain a better understanding of what it’s truly like to work within the field. Ask the interviewee strong questions that can’t be answered through a simple Google search. For example:

Avoid questions like:

Informational interviews can help you further identify gaps in your skillset, while also gaining a better understanding of the true requirements of the role.

Find a Mentor

For additional guidance in making the transition, find a mentor. Mentors can offer support, valuable insights, constructive feedback, and encouragement — all incredibly helpful while making a career change.

To find a mentor:

Consider Educational Options

Once you’ve got a clear path of where you’d headed, consider the education you may need to get there. Does your dream career require a Bachelor’s degree, or are trade, tech, or online bootcamp programs a better option?

For example, careers like lawyers and doctors require advanced degrees, but fields like nursing and software development can be trained for in low-cost trade and tech programs or traditional colleges. Explore your options to find the education that makes the most sense for you.

Rework Your Resume

After gaining experience, rework your resume to suit your new career. Craft your experience around transferable skills required for your new desired role. Highlight new education, certifications, and courses obtained that are related to your new field.

Revise Your LinkedIn

Lastly, revise your LinkedIn profile to make it searchable for terms that are relevant to your new field. Think to yourself: If a hiring manager was looking for a candidate to fill a role, what would they search for on LinkedIn?

Add those terms into your headline on LinkedIn. This will make it easier for hiring managers and recruiters to find your profile, connect with you, and ultimately get you into roles you desire.

Posted under: Career Guides, Student Success, Career Resources

How to Choose a Career and Find Your Calling

Posted on by Jamie Davis

Around 52% of students have “no idea” what they want to do with their career after graduation, according to one study. If you’re in the same boat, you’re not alone.

Here’s what you can do to find your calling and choose a career, step-by-step.

Take a Career Quiz

A random Buzzfeed quiz likely won’t generate accurate results, but a professionally built and tested career assessment might. Organizations like Career Explorer, Princeton Review, and CareerOneStop have created formal career assessments packed with questions designed to help find a profession that suits your skills and interests.

CareerExplorer’s quiz takes around 30 minutes to complete. The first 9 minutes are for the personality assessment and reviewing your career and degree matches. The remaining 21 minutes are for reviewing the final results and insights.

Princeton Review’s quiz consists of 24 “would you rather?” style questions. In the end, it’ll ask a few final questions about who you are, such as:

CareerOneStop’s Interest Assessment consists of 30 questions, although it’ll only take you around 5 minutes to complete. As a partner of the U.S. Department of Labor, the quiz is a dynamic assessment of your likes and dislikes. Once you’ve completed it, you’ll receive a list of career matches and can explore them based on information such as:

And, if you’d prefer to complete it with pencil and paper, you can print the assessment.

Evaluate Them Based on Your Priorities

If you have a few fields that interest you, but you’re having trouble narrowing it down, try evaluating them based on your priorities. Create a list of what’s important to you in a career. This may include items like:

Then, rate each of the careers on a scale of 1-5 based on how well you think they match those priorities. This doesn’t have to be based on data; it can be strictly based on your personal opinion of the industry.

This will look something like this:

NurseTeacherEngineer
Positive Job Outlook555
High-Paying435
Ability to Work Remote124
Hands-On533
Good Work-Life Balance444
Control Over How You Work234
Impactful on Society554
Total262529

You may find that one career ranks significantly higher than the other, which could help you make an objective decision about which career to pursue.

Explore Career Clusters

If you’re interested in a specific industry but aren’t sure how to create a career from it, check out O*Net Online’s Career Clusters. Simply select the industry you’re interested in, then browse the list of occupations.

If one intrigues you, click on it and explore the list of tasks, skills, and experience the role requires to see if it’s a fit for you. You may find an occupation you’ve never heard of that is just the perfect fit.

Read Through Job Descriptions

Once you’ve found a job title that seems like a good fit, search for it on sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster. Read the job descriptions carefully, and ask yourself questions like:

This will give you an idea of what the industry expectations truly are.

Network With People In Those Roles

To gain an even better understanding of what a field looks like, network with people currently working in it and ask for an informational interview. An informational interview allows you to go to the source to evaluate whether or not the career is a fit for you.

If you’re a student, utilize mentoring networks provided by your college or university. If that isn’t available, simply connect with people on LinkedIn and send them a message to request an interview.

In the interviews, ask meaningful questions you can’t find generic answers to online, like:

Remember, you’re asking for a chunk of their time in their schedule — make it a valuable, meaningful conversation.

Self-Reflect

Above all else, take time to self reflect. While online assessments are useful, they aren’t the end-all-be-all. Take time to reflect on what you love, what you’re passionate about, and why.  Only you know what feels fulfilling. 

The Next Step: Getting the EducationOnce you’ve found a career that suits you, it’s time to get the education necessary to land a job. Use sites like College Consensus to determine which degree is best for the career you’ve chosen. And when you’re ready to pay the bill, consider using Meratas to help cover it.

Posted under: Career Guides, Student Success, Career Resources

How to Start a Career as an Agile Coach in 2022

Posted on February 9, 2022 by Darius Goldman

Start Your Career As An Agile Coach

The Agile coaching market has been snowballing because of the mainstream adoption of Agile. In the 2017 “Most Promising Jobs” overview by LinkedIn, Scrum master (a type of Agile coach) was ranked in 10th place, with 104% year over year job opening growth.  In 2019, Indeed.com listed Agile Coach as one of the top 25 best jobs in the US for 2019

The average salary of an Agile coach, who works on a multi-team level, can range between $122,000 and $138,000 per year! So if you’re looking to break into a career in tech but don’t want to be a software developer or coder, this could be a great career path for you!

1. What is an Agile Coach? 

An Agile Coach help organizations become more flexible, transparent, and efficient. They do this by introducing Agile practices and encouraging a culture shift. As an agile coach, you will significantly impact your team or organization.

As businesses increasingly turn to Agile product development to launch new products and features, it is becoming more likely that the teams responsible for delivery will apply Agile methods. In other words, agile is more like helping large companies think, act and deliver like startups. Startups have to provide value to their end-users weekly, so they can’t afford not to experiment and learn rapidly. 

As an Agile coach, you help companies and individuals become more effective and deliver more value.

An agile coach is a facilitator. They can be a permanent or temporary position at a company and often come from various backgrounds, such as software developer, product owner, Scrum Master, and project manager. Agile coaches enable people to become effective in their roles through learnings and feedback on using their skills efficiently to resolve development and execution issues.

2. Who is a good fit for a career in Agile? 

An Agile Coach is more than a coach. They’re professionals who enjoy mentoring and empowering individuals and teams. They are also adept at delivering training and modeling what great agile looks like. They help to improve business teams by sharing new perspectives and insight. An Agile Coach helps pave the path for long-term agile success for the company and individuals. Agile Coaches can either be employees or work as external contractors. Agile coaches also help to cultivate a work culture that’s strong and dynamic. 

A good agile coach is detail-oriented, loves to organize things, and loves finding and optimizing the little things. They politely but firmly challenge, engage, question, motivate, and hold people (as well as themselves) accountable. 

Often great agile coaches are interested in behavioral science, psychology of teams, high-performing teams, and emotional intelligence. They are highly conscientious and take a servant leader’s stance in high-pressure environments.

3. What does a career path for an Agile coach look like? 

Where do you start? How do you move up to be an Agile coach?

There is more than one way to start your agile coach career path. No specific job title makes for the best agile coaches, but you will gain a head start if you have the right skills and experience.

Ideally, you should have worked in project management. You must also have superb leadership skills. Being an agile coach means you need to communicate clearly, offer advice, and identify solutions. This goes beyond what makes a good leader in a workplace environment. The best agile coaches are willing to take on any task in addition to delegating. You’ll constantly need to put the team ahead of personal accomplishments.

If you possess the above, the best way to start is by learning about agile practices and applying them to your current position. This will provide you with the practical experience to land your first official agile coach job. For support, try to attend meetups or online events with agile coaches.

In addition, mastering scrum can be valuable. Although some agile coaches specialize in other methods, such as kanban or lean, around three-quarters use scrum. If you lack an understanding of the scrum framework, you’ll find it more challenging to stay ahead of the competition.

Once you’ve crossed off at least a few things off of the above list, you’re ready to start formal agile coach training.

4. How to get started in Agile

Don’t know where to start? We’ve compiled a list of resources for you here. 😉 

Videos and Courses To Watch

Reading List

Coaching

Agile practices coaches should know

Issues of transition, knowledge management, and organization

5. How to get certified in Agile 

Whether you’re new to the world of Agile coaching or looking to expand your knowledge, getting a coach certification can give you an edge in today’s competitive job market. To help you get started, we’ve compiled this list of available certificates and coach-specific courses from major training providers.

Agile coach certifications can make you more competitive in the job market and signal to employers that you have an excellent baseline of knowledge. The process of studying for and getting the certification can also help you learn about Agile coaching and gain new skills. 

The following certifications are commonly requested in job descriptions: 

You can also consider getting a Scrum master certification. Many Agile positions request that you have experience as a Scrum master or with scaling Scrum.

Read through a few job descriptions to see which certifications are in demand for the type of job you want and then work to get them!

The Agile Coach

Breaking into tech doesn’t mean needing to learn how to code. If you like building things, optimizing and organizing, and love sweating the details, a career in Agile might be a perfect fit. 

The Agile Coach mentors, trains, and coaches you to land a non-coding Tech job in 3-6 months. You’ll go through an immersive learning experience that helps you to develop the Agile mindset. You’ll learn to respect collaboration, improvement, and learning cycles. The Agile Coach instructors are dedicated to your success, so much so you don’t pay tuition until you have a job making at least 55K. 

The Agile Coach also offers real experience as part of their training where you get to apply everything you previously learned. Students who have gone through The Agile Coach have landed jobs at companies like Mastercard, Express Scripts, Bayer, Centene, US Bank, Ameren, Bank of America, and more.

The training is completely remote through live, online classes and real-time conversation, so all you need is your laptop, internet, and passion for learning! Since a lot of jobs in this field are also increasingly going remote you’ll also learn skills on how to coach a team remotely. 

If you’re looking to jump into a career in Agile, check out The Agile Coach! They mentor, train, and coach you on how to land a non-coding Tech job in 3-6 months! 

If anyone reading is looking for more careers powered by Learn Now, Pay Later check out our students page! 

Posted under: Career Guides, Career Resources

How To Get Started in Product Management

Posted on November 12, 2021 by Darius Goldman

The role of product manager (PM) is the most fascinating role within tech teams right now. PMs are closest to the center of the action, and often go on to start their own companies. It’s no surprise that product management has begun to show up on lists of the best, hottest, and most promising careers in the U.S. (and not just in tech).

Product Management has been rising in popularity as a career path and created more competition in the job market due to the increased density of candidates. Interested? Keep reading to find out if Product Management is the right career for you. 

What is Product Management


A Product Manager serves as the liaison between the client, stakeholders, and the team who develops an app or digital product, including Designers and Developers. They guide the project and product, make decisions, manage a timeline, and analyze every step along the way.  Product Managers sometimes serve behind the scenes, but they are an integral part of all SaaS and technology companies.

The road to becoming a PM can often be long and unpredictable — the most interesting things in life often are. Zooming out, you can boil down the job of a PM into four words: “Figure out what’s next.” So, what comes next for your journey into product management? Develop the skills outlined below. Read, process, and put your learnings into action however you can (creativity is part of being a PM). Your job is to be as prepared as possible when an opportunity arises. 



You Might be a good fit for Product Management if you are good at: 

1. Taking any problem and being able to develop a strategy to resolve it 


A good strategy is a set of actions that is credible, coherent, and focused on overcoming the biggest hurdle(s) in achieving a particular objective. Richard Rumelt

As a product manager, your job is to gather the resources for your team to drive business value, and strategize to solve your company’s problems. A product manager is someone who holds somewhat of a “coping saw” for their company. They are the ones who will ultimately see problems, devise strategies to solve them, and communicate the solutions to the executors. The job can be stressful at times, because ultimately everyone in the company is relying on the product manager to steer the ship in the right direction.

In order to start developing your strategy skills, ask the best PMs you know to talk you through the vision and strategy that they’ve developed on projects. Or you can take a problem your current company (or a company you want to work at) is having and come up with a framework that breaks the problem into solvable chunks


Resources to develop your strategic thinking

Some books to read for developing your strategic thinking:

2. Executing and getting things done.

Executing well is like captaining a tight, smooth-sailing ship. You need to make sure that everyone knows what they need to do and then does it, that the crew hums together in unison, [and] that you estimated the journey well enough to have packed ample supplies.

— Julie Zhuo

The PM role is one of execution and delivery. There is a lot of important and worthy discussion on product, vision, competitive landscape, market dynamics, growth opportunities , etc., but at the end of the day, the PM is responsible for executing.

Tactically this includes things like building a roadmap that everyone on your team is aligned behind, setting and hitting deadlines, and ruthlessly breaking down roadblocks. For new PMs, you should begin practicing this skill immediately. Pay attention to people around you that are good at executing — how do they run meetings, how do they address issues as they arise, what systems do they use to keep their team aligned?

Books to read on execution

3. Communicating Clearly

Engineers code, designers produce designs, and product managers …communicate. Everything you do as a product manager is done through writing, speaking, and meetings. As Andrew Bosworth puts it, “communication is the job.” You can never be too good at this, and it’s very difficult to over-communicate.

Communication is the most essential of Product Management skills. To be successful, you will need to ‘sell’ your vision of how things should be to your company’s decision-makers (i.e., Marketing, Sales, Developers), then be able to work with each department to execute that vision into a product that customers love. You are the bridge between founders, investors, clients, designers, engineers—everyone in the company who has a stake in the outcome of your product.

Build Communication Skills With These Resources

4. Making decisions, informed by data 

The decisions PMs make are the ones that unblock their team so they can continue to build. They don’t need to make every decision, but they are responsible for ensuring a decision gets made — whether by them, their team, or their stakeholders. — Brandon Chu

Teams generally look to the PM to help them reach decisions. Expect to be making dozens of decisions on behalf of the team daily. Your best friend in making decisions is a clear set of principles you aligned on previously, and hard data (both quantitative and qualitative). The less opinions you have to rely on and the more facts you have at your disposal, the easier your life gets. Study how successful companies make decisions through experimentation (Airbnb, Uber, Netflix, Pinterest), and find a way to launch an experiment or two where you work today. Watch successful leaders around you make decisions — how quickly are they making decisions, what do they ask about before making a decision, how do they communicate their reasoning?

Books to read to develop decision-making skills


If you have these skills or are ready to develop them your next step is to find courses on Product management or join a Bootcamp. 

Take a product management certification course.

Once you know what you’re missing, you need to educate yourself. You can invest in a product management or product owner course. Alternatively, if you feel you just need a little insight into specific topics, there are many free resources on the internet that can help you, like Google Analytics Academy, and Udemy. 

You can also get product management certifications from colleges like  Cornell, UC Berkeley, and Northwestern 

Product Management may seem like a daunting field to jump into but it doesn’t have to be! And if you’re already a Product Manager but looking to take your skills and career to the next level, Product Gym can help you do that and so much more. Get started with Product Gym today!

Posted under: Career Guides, Career Resources

How To Quit A Job That Isn’t Right For You

Posted on November 9, 2021 by Darius Goldman

We all want to love the work we do. But if you’re like the average American—who will change jobs 12 times before they’re 52 —chances are you might end up at a job you hate at some point. A recent Gallup poll found that 66 percent of Americans aren’t fully engaged or enthusiastic about their jobs. That’s a lot of people just “working for the weekend.” And hating a job can reverberate through much more than just the hours of 9 to 5. When we’re unhappy in our work, it can affect every aspect of our lives, from getting sick more frequently to losing sleep to depression and anxiety

So if you hate your current job, it may be time to quit. And while, sure, it can be stressful to leave, it doesn’t have to be. But it’s important to ask yourself these three questions before quitting. We’ll also explore the ways to quit your job without burning bridges.

1. Is this a passing emotion?

In short, are you having a brief bad spell? Or is this the tenth Monday in a row when you’ve awakened at home and dreaded heading to work?

Think about what Steve Jobs said in his 2005 speech at Stanford University:

“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” If you put a percentage on it, how often do you find yourself wishing you don’t have to go to work? 

Of course, you’re going to have bad days sometimes. But people who work for 40 years get about 8,800 working days. So when bad days become too regular at your current position, it’s time to think about moving on. 

2. Does your job negatively affect your life?

Work is essential, but it’s not the only thing in life. It would help if you asked yourself these questions

If the answer to these questions are yes, then it may be time to re-consider the job you’re in.

3. Do you feel like you’ve stopped growing professionally? 

If you feel stagnant professionally, it could be a sign that you are in the wrong field. For instance, you could have been in the same job for over three years but are not growing with the company or learning anything new. It’s essential to never stop growing and learning. Since we spend a majority of our waking hours at work, it stands to reason that this is a crucial question. In fact, a British study based on the lives of 600,000 people concluded that “lifelong learning” was one of seven factors that led to greater longevity.

When you’re always learning in your role, you open yourself up to new opportunities at your current company, more chances for promotions, a higher likelihood of earning more income, and even making yourself more valuable when you move on to the next venture.

Try cataloging where you’ve learned and grown in this job. Is it difficult to find even a few examples? If you’re putting in hours, trading your time for money, and helping build someone else’s wealth — but not growing, learning, and gaining things that you value — then think about quitting.

Next Steps

Everything up to here is about whether you should quit once you’ve decided that it’s time to quit your job. But, of course, once you’ve made that decision, there is nothing at all wrong with sticking it out another three or six months — whatever you need, frankly — to formulate a career path plan.

Maybe it’s about getting serious about a job search, or starting to lay the groundwork for a side hustle that could turn into something bigger, or finding ways to cut spending and build up your savings before moving on.

Here’s the best way to quit your job that will leave you prepared for the future.

Find Your Next Job Before You Leave

Though this might seem like an obvious first step before quitting a job you hate, some job seekers still make the mistake of not lining up for their next gig. Research shows it’s easier to get a job offer when you’re still employed.

Before you quit, update your resume and LinkedIn profile, and start your job search during non work hours. Begin to ask for recommendations from former supervisors and colleagues. Also, save work samples to help build your portfolio.

Need some help? Check out our blog. 

When preparing to search for a new job, make sure to register and upload your resume to popular job websites such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and CareerBuilder. Companies and recruiters scan these sites frequently. Also, turn on notifications so that you receive daily job alert emails.

Inform Your Employer

Once you find a new job and decide to leave your current job, you need to tell your employer or at least give two weeks notice. It would be best to leave your current employer on good terms, as you might need them to act as your references in the future. Tips for telling your boss that you are leaving include:

Give two weeks notice, if possible, and try to tell your boss or co workers in person instead of just a resignation letter. (An official resignation letter is still a good idea.)This might be nerve-wracking, but it is the polite, professional thing to do and a way to leave on a positive note without burning bridges.

Keep it brief. One way to keep the conversation positive is to be general and concise about your reason for leaving. For example, you can simply say you are leaving for “a new opportunity” or another general reason. Maybe you can also offer to help find and train your replacement to go the extra mile and show you still care about the team you’re leaving. Your hiring manager might also ask for an exit interview so be prepared to give a brief explanation about why you are leaving your current role.


Remember: Transitions can be scary, but the average American spends over 90,000 hours at their job over a lifetime. You deserve to spend that time doing something that fuels your bank account and your career and what gets you excited. Do you want more tips and tricks on navigating your professional life? The Meratas blog has you covered on building the best career for you!

Posted under: Career Guides, Career Resources

How To Change Careers At Any Age

Posted on November 2, 2021 by Darius Goldman

Most people spend a third of their lives — or 90,000 hours — at work. Changing your career can sometimes be the next best step for your career journey, and in many instances, may be necessary to live the life you want, and in many instances, may be necessary to live the life you want. Because this is a big decision that will affect the rest of your professional life, taking time to do it right is essential.

No matter how you plan and execute a career change, there are some steps you can take to help manage the process.

If you are thinking about changing your career, maybe it’s time to start! Read on!



Why People Change Careers

There are many different reasons why one would want to change their career. Of course, it’s a personal decision with many factors involved. Joblist’s Midlife Career Crisis survey tells us the top five reasons people change jobs:

If one of those reasons resonates with you, we have some advice to help you get what you want.

  1. Keep a Journal

Keep a journal of your career journey. This is an excellent way to get to know yourself better to figure out what you want in terms of job satisfaction. You can also use it to figure out what makes you unhappy, so you can work on changing the things in your new job that are causing unhappiness.

You can keep a physical journal or do it electronically. Once you decide how to keep your journal, start writing entries about your thoughts and feelings related to your job satisfaction. 

Next, make a list of your skills and interests and consider the ways your strengths and weaknesses impact your satisfaction level at work.

Once you have a list of skills and interests, consider the opportunities you might have to use them. For example, if you’re a strong writer, look for jobs that emphasize writing skills. If you’re a creative thinker, think about jobs that will allow you to display your creativity.

  1. Decide if you want to change industries

If you are ready to make a career change, you may want to consider moving from one industry to another. 

When deciding to change careers, most people have a sense of discontent in their current position. However, it is crucial to determine if this feeling is related only to the specific job or the whole industry. If you are looking for a way out of your current career, changing industries may do the trick. On the other hand, if it is only your specific position that causes dissatisfaction, then changing careers may not be a viable option for you at this time.

The decision to move from one industry to another can have several advantages. The new industry might be growing faster than your current industry, and the old skills will translate into a new career path. Also, you might find that you are more passionate about your next career choice than your previous occupation. 



3. Brainstorm Careers

To become more informed on your career options, brainstorm the jobs and industries that may be a good fit for your skills and values. If you find it challenging to find a career that fits your needs, ask others in your professional network. You can also seek guidance in the form of career counseling, where you’ll likely learn more about your personality and how it fits into today’s evolving workforce.

One good approach is to collect information about the various occupations that interest you. First, however, it is helpful to list all your interests and other vital factors. If you have a strong sense of identity, you may know very well what you want to do, or at least have a few possibilities already in mind. Taking this preliminary step before diving into thorough research will help you narrow your career focus.


4. Research your target industry


Once you narrow your search to a particular industry, you can conduct informational interviews. If you are considering changing industries, your first step should be to conduct informational interviews with people who work in this field. An informational interview is a conversation with a professional in a specific area of interest to you. The purpose is not to secure a job but to learn about opportunities, challenges, and responsibilities associated with that career and the skills required for success. 

Before attending an informational interview, it’s a good idea to do some research, so you know what the company does and how the industry works. If possible, try to identify a few important trends in the industry. These are people who are already doing the work you are considering, so they have first-hand insight into whether or not it will meet your needs.



5. Make An Action Plan


Now that you have an idea of what you’ll need to do to accomplish your career change, think about your short-term and long-term goals for this new phase of your life.

If you’re changing careers, you might not know exactly what you want to do yet. That’s okay. The key is to develop a plan for achieving your career change. Planning ahead will help keep you on track, prevent burnout, and make it easier to manage competing priorities. Your action plan should outline what steps you need to take to achieve your career change and identify any potential barriers or challenges along the way.

An action plan is an organized way of making sure your goals are specific and measurable, as well as time-bound and rewarding. It is a way to help you ensure that you are on track to achieve your goals – and give you something to show potential employers when they ask about your career goals! It will keep you focused on what needs to be done next – and help ensure that you don’t miss critical opportunities along the way. You can use it as a checklist for achieving your ultimate goal: a new career.

6. Use your network

As you begin your career shift, remember to leverage your network. In the past, job searches were primarily done via classified ads or with headhunters. Today, however, you have a vast social network through which you can reach out to recruiters and hiring managers.

Building a professional online presence is a must when you are in the job searching process because it helps others learn more about who you are and what you bring to the table. Be sure to be professional in all of your online interactions. You never know who could be looking at your profile, so avoid posting anything that would harm your professional reputation.

7. Consider educational resources and develop new skills

If you are considering moving into a field that requires a degree or certifications, you may need to seek additional education beyond your current work experience. College courses, continuing-education classes, or even free online resources can help deepen your understanding of your new potential career.

The first step is to assess what you already know about the industry or occupation. Then, research what educational requirements are necessary for landing your dream job.

If you can’t take time off for school because of different reasons, don’t forget that there are still ways to gain new skills. You could take classes at night or pursue other training in your off-time. In addition, there are online courses available from reputable universities, podcasts from industry leaders, and formal and informal communities where you can connect with other people in your target field.

For example, a marketer who wants to move into finance may ask for control over the marketing budget to gain skills regarding working with ledgers. Seizing opportunities like this is helpful, but only if you remember to apply those newly acquired skills to your resume and cover letter.

Go to our get matched page to find a bootcamp that’s right for you. 


8. Commit to your desired career change


To keep yourself motivated in your career-change plan. Consider using a spreadsheet to log milestones as you make your way toward a complete career change. Sometimes, changing your career can take time. However, by tracking your progress, you acknowledge all the small victories along the way — and that can make you feel a greater sense of accomplishment as you successfully complete the switch.

Don’t look back and wonder where the time went. By implementing these eight steps, you can make a successful career change! If you’re looking for a career change but don’t know where to start, check out our get matched page to get matched with a career-building program!

Posted under: Career Guides, Career Resources

Get Matched: Start Your Career Through Our Partner Programs

Posted on October 25, 2021 by Darius Goldman

Does your current career feel like the wrong fit? Are you tired of feeling like you’re not making any progress in your career? Do you feel like life is standing still while you’re trying to get ahead? If you’re unhappy in your current employment, now is the time to change that.

But the job market is a harsh place. It’s difficult to upskill and learn new skills to change careers. You may be saying to yourself: I don’t have the time to learn a new skill. How am I going to pay for the training? I don’t even know where to start.

It’s hard to get a new job, and it’s even more difficult to get a job in a field you love. If you want to learn the skills required to upskill to a new career it may be difficult to know where to start.

Well, Meratas is here to help. Many people feel stuck in the wrong job or the wrong industry—and they know there’s something better out there for them, but don’t know how to get there. That’s why we are here. You can change careers! The path to a new career is closer than you think! We’re here to help you find a career you love.

If you’ve found your passion or are even just curious about where to get started, Meratas is here to actively partner you with one of our bootcamps or colleges to change your career and start something new.

We partner with programs like Sales, UX/UI Bootcamps, coding bootcamps, and colleges that are dedicated to their student’s success. If you need flexibility in paying for your education, we can help there too. All partners on the Meratas platform offer a form of incentive-aligned tuition which means not only do you have options no matter what your financial situation looks like, but you and your partner program’s goals are aligned. 


Incentive aligned tuition options give you access to things like income-linked repayment, deferment in case of career hardship, a cap on the maximum you’ll pay, and many other benefits!

We’re looking to help people bridge the gap between their current job and their dream job.  Meratas helps you find and finance your next career steps through our partnerships with colleges and bootcamps.

Are you ready to start a new career and get ahead? Let us help you kickstart your new career journey. Fill out the info on our student’s page and get started today! Check out our get matched page to get started!

Posted under: Career Guides, Tuition Options

8 Tips to Get Started as a UX Designer

Posted on October 5, 2021 by Darius Goldman

A UX designer is concerned with the entire process of acquiring and integrating a product, including aspects of branding, design, usability and function. As a UX designer, you’re there to make products and technology usable, enjoyable, and accessible for a wider range of people.

A career in UX design is becoming an increasingly popular choice for quite a few reasons. The average salary for a UX designer is about $90,000 per year and 87% of managers say hiring more UX designers is the top priority for their company. Good news right?

But if you want to break into the field, it can be tough to know where to start. Don’t be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information floating around on the internet about changing careers and the skills you need to succeed. This blog post will teach you how to actually go about breaking into the world of UX.

1. Figure out what skills/strengths you already have 

Even if you come from a completely different background, you probably already have some skills that will translate into UX/UI Design. For example, do you love to think about how things around you could be improved? Do you love drawing or taking photos? Are you a data and analysis genius? Already a graphic designer and familiar with some design tools?

All of these skills or specialties can bring something that will help you out in UX design so don’t ignore your past experiences and education just because they’re not directly related. The best UX designers build a portfolio that will show off their unique skills to prospective employers. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, first of all, you’ll need to learn those skills. 

2. Get Educated 

To get started in the UX world you need to read, watch and listen to everything you can get your hands on in order to understand how UX Designers do what they do. At the end of this blog post, we’ll have a list of resources to start with. If you’re looking for an online course to help you get started, here’s a huge list of UX courses

Just getting started with some free courses on Youtube or Skillshare is a great way to get familiar with tools and get your feet wet. Then, once you’ve got some knowledge of basic UX principles, considering an online bootcamp or skills-training course can be a great way to take those skills to the next level.

For complete beginners, this UX Basics course could be a good start. In many of these courses, the subject matter itself isn’t difficult to digest, but there is often a lot to learn. The more you can retain, the better off you’ll be.

3. Find a UX Expert to be Your Mentor 

Having a mentor can mean the difference between success and failure. One of the best ways to work out the depths of your love for UX is to talk with a real, live UX designer. It’s a lot easier, a lot faster, and a lot more fun to master a new skill with support from someone who has more experience.

While it might be tempting to substitute a chat with a real person with a Google search or YouTube video, searching the web will give you some basic information but not the full picture like a mentor can. A mentor can bring you solutions, will give you guidance, help you understand which parts of UX are necessary for a workplace, which will, in turn, help you find a better focus.

This should give you a better, more realistic overall picture of what to expect if you do pursue UX as a career. Mentors will help you through understanding difficult processes and concepts.  

Finding a mentor can be hard though. You can try friends, friends of friends, Meetup.com, or even Facebook groups like The UX School. You could also try a more formal program such as an AI mentor program. 

One way you can persuade a UX designer to become your mentor is offering to work with them for free for a period of time. You can help them with all the smaller tasks they have on their plate in exchange for some UX mentorship. If you’re just looking to pick someone’s brain for an hour or two, offering to buy them coffee or lunch is another gesture that’s greatly appreciated.

4. Join a UX Design Community 

Just like having a mentor, networking is a vital tool to use no matter what job you’re looking to get into. If you’re someone who’s learning design on your own, joining a design community can be a huge part of your learning journey.

You need to have an idea of a goal in mind and focus on the connections that will help you get to where you want to be. A personal message on Linkedin can go a long way, but try your best to make sure it’s not a one-way street. What insight can you bring to the table?  Meetups can also be a great place to meet new people. Check out Meetup.com and look for UX design meetup groups near you. If anything, you’ll find a few friends you can bounce design ideas off.

Especially when it comes to finding a job, the best jobs will come through your network, like LinkedIn, Twitter, Behance, Github, local event meetups, and referrals.

There will be a ton of questions and building trust with the interviewer is key. If the position has come from the result of a conversation in a social setting, or a recommendation from somebody you met, then you’ll already have a head start on building that trust. Whether it’s help on a design project, lending a helping hand, or landing a job interview, it pays to network and join a strong knit community. Who knows? You may even be in a position to help someone out on their UX design journey in the future. So start networking! 

5. Master a UX Design Tool 

Once you’ve got your UX basics done, it’s time to dive deeper and master the exact tools used in the industry. According to Adobe, 42% of hiring managers placed “knowledge of UX tools and building prototypes” as the most important prerequisite for a job in UX.

There are so many tools available, and for someone just starting out, the vast array of options can make you feel overwhelmed.

Two of the best picks for a UX tool are Figma and Adobe XD. Both are free to get started with, but it’s up to you to decide which one fits best with your learning style.  

So what are the differences? Let’s break them down: 

Figma 

Figma allows collaborators to work on the same file at the same time (sort of like Google Docs…but for design!) It’s a really powerful tool that can do a lot including doing wireframing, prototyping, and give engineers some of the code they need to get the look the designers wanted. Figma also allows for use of creating multiple screens for multiple platforms. Here’s a great tutorial for getting started, it’s only half an hour long and explains how to design a simple app from start to finish.

Adobe XD 

With this tool, you can create screens for multiple platforms in one project. Adobe’s artboard feature is also super quick – allowing its users to create large projects (100 + screens ) with no problems at all. This is a great UX design tool to familiarise yourself from the beginning – there’s a lot to grow into.

It pays to know the basics of each of these tools and to master one of them. Ultimately, which tool you choose will come down to preference as well as the training you’ve taken to learn UX.

There are plenty of other alternatives to these tools out there; you can check out a full list: 100+ Awesome Tools For UX Designers.

6. Get Some Experience

Your next step is to find a way to put some of your newfound knowledge into practice. 

Maybe you spend some time after hours helping a small business or a local nonprofit, or just simply working on your own personal project. Seek out opportunities to apply some of your theories. It could even be as simple as taking the initiative at work to conduct some user testing sessions and branching out from there. 

You could also get started with some experience by finding Freelance work on places like Fivver or Upwork. On these you can build your skills and establish yourself without being tied to a job.

For an activity such as conducting user testing, a handful of sessions is all you need to get the hang of things. Once you’ve introduced that user feedback loop to your portfolio, you can start focusing on developing other skills.

7. Build a portfolio

You’re now in the best possible place to land an awesome job. What’s missing, however, is a portfolio of your work. If you’re planning on finding a job or doing any sort of work related to design, you’re going to need a design portfolio where you showcase projects you’ve worked on and introduce yourself.

 Most employers like to see what you can do before they hire you, and having a portfolio of projects is important, especially if you don’t have much work experience. Your portfolio platform will also help you walk potential employers through the projects you’ve completed, show off your skillset, and help them see what an amazing addition you’d make to their team.

For example, a great place to start building your design portfolio could be Github, Behance, or even making your own personal website on platforms like Squarespace or Wix. Check out some great examples here

During the interview process,  show your employer your thought process through the entire design, not just the end result. Your portfolio could include wireframes you’ve created, example personas and scenarios you’ve developed, photos of walls covered in post-it notes from affinity diagramming exercises, photos of you conducting a workshop. Whatever you need to tell a story about the process you follow. If you want help, try out the online course called How to Create a UX Portfolio by the Interaction Design Foundation.

8. Build an Online Presence

Building an online presence in any job is important. The internet is one of the best ways for prospective employers and teammates to find you. Publishing your work doesn’t mean waiting for the perfect design to be out on a website. Publishing work means pushing your work out whether it be Medium, Tumblr, or WordPress, and focusing on the documentation of your progress rather than only publishing perfect work.

In addition to your portfolio, make sure to update your LinkedIn (or make one if you haven’t already) and be active on sites like Twitter and Facebook Groups. Follow people you look up to, tweet about design, share articles you found interesting, and upload work you’ve done to share it with the design community. These are all great sites for you to get your name out there and become a part of the design community online!

UX Design Resources

Getting started in UX is half the battle. Once you’ve landed that first role, you’ll gain momentum from the learning you’ll do on the job. But you can enhance that by keeping on top of your own learning and staying in touch with industry trends. Here are some great resources to help you do that:

Videos

Short Articles

Books 

Courses with Income Share Agreements

Using a bootcamp to pursue a career in UX can be a great way to get started. However, paying for an online bootcamp can be expensive and may feel out of reach for many. That’s where Income Share Agreements come in. An Income Share Agreement allows you to go through a program at no upfront cost. In exchange, you agree to pay a portion of your income for a set period of time after you complete your program. Meratas partners with a host of education programs to offer ISAs to students. From coding and UX to pipe welding and software sales, Meratas partners with a wide array of programs so that students can have more options and opportunities when it comes to financing their education. 

 Want to see more schools that Meratas partners with? Check out our students page!

So there you have it, 8 simple steps to get you started towards your career in UX design. Now it’s up to you to go and implement the advice, do some reading, and try a short course to see if you’re interested. The courses, the practicing, the whole process is a lot of work. But it will pay off in the end if you stick with it, and you’ll find yourself in a fulfilling new career! 

Posted under: Career Guides, Career Resources