While he was growing up in Mexico, Oscar Herrera’s parents ran an arcade. He was fascinated by the video game consoles and how they worked, but he only had access to one coding class in high school, and he couldn’t attend college.
Instead, he moved to the U.S. at age 19 to chase the American dream. After working in retail for years, he decided to pursue his dream career in technology by finding a role at a tech company. He landed a job as a process assistant supervisor at an Amazon delivery station in the Palm Springs area of California.
In February, he started Springboard’s Software Engineering Bootcamp through Amazon Career Choice, an education benefit for Amazon employees that enables them to take career-building courses from partner institutions.
He has already begun implementing the skills he learned from Springboard in his job at the Amazon warehouse. He recently spearheaded a project to improve the on-screen notifications that track the status of the conveyor belt at the delivery station–an essential safety feature. Oscar wants to become a full-stack developer and give back by mentoring others interested in entering the tech industry.
I’m a process assistant supervisor at an Amazon delivery station in Indio, California. I assign daily tasks to up to 40 warehouse associates. My main responsibility is ensuring the products leave the warehouse for delivery each day. That includes tracking labor hours, delegating work, and ensuring our productivity goals are met.
I’ve always been interested in pursuing a tech career, so I wanted to work at a tech company and hopefully work my way up into a technical role. Amazon is a massive tech company that also offers the Amazon Technical Academy (ATA), where employees can study independently.
I was a manager at a rent-to-own store that sold furniture, appliances, and electronics. I did that for about six years, but I wasn’t happy because it wasn’t related to tech, which was what I wanted to do. I also DJ as a side hustle.
I like being able to solve problems in my role. Problem-solving is one of the skills that I have and that I’ve been developing further. Having the flexibility to come up with improvements to the way we do things makes me happy. I’ve already been able to implement some of the skills I learned at Springboard to improve the websites we use. I like that Amazon is flexible and lets me experiment with process improvements instead of saying, “We can’t do that.”
I’m currently a third of the way through the Springboard Software Engineering Bootcamp. I’m confident the new skills I’m learning will open many doors. I already have a list of project ideas I want to work on once I’m farther along in the course and have learned more skills.
I updated the system to make the information easier to read by changing the colors on the screen and flashing notifications if things are moving too slowly or too fast. It’s a basic project, but it will really improve the way we do things.
I learned about Springboard from an internal newsletter sent to Amazon employees. Every week, they highlight different education programs and potential career paths through the Amazon Technical Academy or partner schools.
I was so excited when I discovered Springboard because I always wanted to learn software engineering. I built small websites using HTML when I was younger and was fascinated by the video game consoles at the arcade my parents used to run back in Mexico.
It varies, but I typically spend 10-15 hours per week studying with Springboard. If I could spend more time on the course, I would. I work nights, so sometimes I’m up until 2 a.m. doing coursework.
Even though it’s an online program, Springboard provides a personalized experience. The Springboard community is so connected, so you never feel like you’re on your own, just clicking on a screen.
You can get help from teaching assistants and mentors, and each student has a dedicated advisor. They always check up on us, even though we don’t attend lectures every day. All the feedback I’ve received has been thoughtful and constructive; you can tell they care about you.
My mentor is Obed James, a freelance, full-stack web developer. He feels more like a friend than a mentor because he cares so much about my progress. He even offered to help me throughout the week in between our weekly calls. If I need anything, I can just email him.
Sometimes, our 30-minute calls extend to an hour because we’re enjoying the conversation. Talking to him is like talking to a classmate who happens to be much more knowledgeable than I am. He gives me advice on what to do and what not to do, which is really nice.
I’ll be open to any opportunities that come my way. My main goal is to finish the Springboard Software Engineering Bootcamp, and I’d like to do another educational program afterward. I eventually want to become a full-stack engineer with what I’ve learned. My mentor taught me that learning never stops. Given that tech constantly evolves, you must constantly update your knowledge and learn new programming languages.
In five years, I want to work in the tech industry as a full-stack developer. I would also like to find a way to give back since I’m passionate about teaching others. I’d like to mentor newcomers to the industry, and I also want to inspire people to join the tech industry. The way things are going, everyone will need basic technical skills in the future.