McKenna Ripley - SheCodes Success Story | SheCodes

McKenna Ripley
SheCodes Graduate

Job Title
Web Strategist and Designer at Pivotal Health Solutions



Written by Lexi Dillon,
Edited by Lexi Dillon, April, 2021

👩‍💻 SheCodes Success Story


How coding knowledge helped McKenna expand her career opportunities and do more of what she loves

McKenna finished her SheCodes journey in early 2021. She graduated from SheCodes Basics, SheCodes Plus, and SheCodes React. 

🙍‍♀️ Before SheCodes

McKenna is a hardworking SheCodes student who has used her coding knowledge to step up in her career  💪 💻 She’s originally from Watertown, South Dakota, USA and is still living there today. She enjoys spending time with her family, drawing, riding her bike, and crocheting in her free time. ❤️ 

She received a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from the University of Minnesota and went on to have various design jobs straight after university. She has been working in design since 2008, so her background in design is very strong 🎨 

She first became interested in coding because she always saw it as a nice complement to her Graphic Design knowledge. She knew that with a little coding knowledge, she’d be able to greatly enhance her Graphic Design knowledge and skills. 

“I went to school for Graphic Design so coding has always been something I’ve been interested in since college.”

McKenna was thinking about going back to school to learn how to code, but then she came across SheCodes in her search and decided to join. 🙌

👩‍💻 Her SheCodes Experience

McKenna was searching for a new job and found that she was missing out on opportunities due to her lack of coding knowledge. Hence, she decided to take the plunge into the coding world. 👩‍💻 She tried a few other online courses before SheCodes, but found that they were outdated and the format didn’t work super well for her. 

“I missed two job opportunities because I was missing the web design/coding expertise. I knew it was time to do something about it.”

“I tried other basic HTML courses before SheCodes but they seemed really outdated and I wasn’t sure how they’d apply to a real world experience like my current position.”

She discovered SheCodes and it was exactly what she was looking for 🤩 She really liked the lesson material and the fact that she could complete her coding work at her own pace. She also enjoyed meeting other women in the community and having help along the way.

“I really enjoyed the videos and being able to go at my own pace during the week. CSS speaks to the designer in me so I enjoyed playing around with it a lot. I liked getting to meet other women in Slack, too. We all had similar struggles and were able to discuss and connect over the homework.” 

Overall, McKenna is glad she took the leap and joined SheCodes, and we couldn’t agree more 😍 We’ve loved having her as a student! 

"I’m so glad I took the leap and signed up for SheCodes, it’s been nothing but a positive experience for me. There were times when I was really frustrated but there was always someone to help and encourage me. Flexibility was a huge factor for me, I work full time and have two kids so I needed something that could fit into our schedule. SheCodes was great for working the homework and projects into my time and when I needed an extension it was easy to just move my completion date.”

Check out McKenna’s projects here 👇

🙋 How SheCodes has Helped to Change Her Life

Thanks to the knowledge McKenna’s gained in SheCodes, she’s been able to snag a new job as a web strategist and designer at Pivotal Health Solutions! Bulking up her skill set has created more opportunities for her. 🙌

“Since I started SheCodes, I was offered my new job as a web strategist and designer for PHS. I’m loving the work I do and the people I work with! SheCodes allowed me to advance and has opened more career opportunities for me.”

Her daily tasks for her job include: designing marketing collateral, maintaining web page information, creating email communications, and interpreting customer trends to maximize the company’s marketing efforts. Any given day she can be updating web page information, designing web banners, printing materials, or doing other branding projects. Her tasks definitely run the gamut. 😄She works with the sales team, engineers, and the company’s customers. Her coding knowledge has helped improve her interdepartmental communication for sure. 

Thanks to her coding knowledge, she’s been able to transition to a role that she enjoys more. And has received a pay raise, as well 😉 

“I was a designer before but my role was doing more sales, customer service, and estimating projects. Design and marketing are what I really love doing and learning to code just allowed me to do more of it. (Side whisper: a bump in pay didn’t hurt either).”

We know that McKenna will continue to put her coding knowledge to great use! In her coding future, she’d like to complete some freelance projects and deepen her knowledge in SheCodes Responsive

“I already signed up for SheCodes Responsive. I’m looking forward to that class and then potentially working on some freelance projects later on.”

👩‍💼 Advice to Future SheCodes Students

McKenna has some very inspirational advice for those who are considering signing up for SheCodes - to keep persevering and push through the challenges. Because it’ll be worth it 😏

“I don’t have any technical advice but more just words of encouragement. I have a tattoo on my arm in memory of a loved one who passed away last year. It says,“Look how far you’ve come.” She was an adventurer and at the top of a hill she just rode up on her bike or after a tough hike, she reminded her friends when they wanted to quit or were having a hard time to turn around and look how far they came. This course is challenging, and there were times I didn’t know what I got myself into but I kept pushing forward. Now I can look back proudly at how far I’ve come. I would encourage other women to focus on their goals and keep pushing for what they want. It’s worth it!”

SheCodes Basics Testimonial: 
“As a graphic designer, I was always missing this crucial skill for coding. I am so happy that I found SheCodes to be able to finally round out my skillset. The lessons were easy to follow and I found the homework reinforced what we learned. I am eager to start the advanced workshops and continue on my coding journey!”

SheCodes Plus Testimonial: 
“I have learned so much in this class and I am really proud of completing this project. I have always been intimidated by coding and avoided it but more and more its becoming a requirement in my job. I'm so glad I took this leap and tried SheCodes!”

SheCodes React Testimonial: 
“Coding was always so intimidating to me so I put off learning it. When I started getting passed over for job opportunities however, I knew I needed to do something about it. SheCodes came along at just the right time and taught really useful skills within a condensed time frame which was perfect for me in addition to my full time job and family responsibilities. I'm happy to say that since starting SheCodes this fall, I have since started a new job as a Web Strategist and Designer. Thanks to SheCodes, I have a new set of skills to help me in my career but more importantly, the confidence and pride I have in completing this course are something I will carry with me for a long time!”

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