In this interview, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Glenn Irwin, an alum of our September 2021 cohort. He is currently working at UprightEducation as a Business Development Representative.
At the start of your career, you were headed down the psychology track. What made you pivot into tech?
I went to school in North Carolina and played college basketball, which was plan A for me. I studied psychology & human family services and worked in that space after graduation. I planned to open a therapy practice but it’s difficult to advance in that field with just a bachelor’s degree. I felt underpaid and overworked and decided I needed to make a change.
I knew tech was shaping the future and I wanted to become a part of that. At the beginning of 2021 I left my job working in a group home after four years. I was pretty much a stay-at-home dad over the next several months, really trying to figure out what I wanted to do in the tech industry.
And then you joined School16.
I felt like the program would give me the best return on my investment. I wanted to figure out how I could market myself in a way that was attractive to tech companies and pursue a job where I could make three times what I was making before.
You had a lot on your plate! What was it like to juggle raising kids and also marketing yourself for work?
It was very difficult. I have a four, two, and one year old. Childcare is crazy expensive, so my kids were with me when I was putting my resume together, participating in the School16 cohort, and even interviewing for jobs. They are not the best co-workers! But having them in the room motivated me to create a better future for myself and my family.
I didn’t know how important it was to share my brand in a way that was marketable. School16 taught me how to feel confident in my abilities so I didn’t have to just accept whatever came across - and I ended up with a number of interviews and offers.
Did your role as a caretaker influence the type of work environment you were looking for?
Remote work was important because I still take care of my kids full-time and needed that work-life balance. I had a number of job options but chose the one that best fit the values that were important to my life. School16 taught me to become confident in my abilities so I didn’t feel like I had to just accept whatever offer came along.
What types of values were you looking for?
Aside from work-life balance, I wanted the ability to continue growing. I currently work for a startup that launched last year. I’m enjoying it because I can wear different hats and continue to add to my portfolio of skills. I could have worked somewhere that’s a little more established and had more guidelines and structure. But I like being in a position where I might need to do some marketing today, sales the next day, etc.
So you enjoy working for a super small startup!
It’s allowing me to better identify what my strengths are and how I can become a better asset to the company. I’ve been with UpRight Education for a little over three months now. It’s an exciting ride. For others who just got a new job, it’s important to become a constant learner. This isn’t the end of the road, it’s just the beginning.