Student Success Stories

At Geekwise Academy, we begin with the basic premise that every person can learn to code. We haven’t been wrong yet. Tall, short; big, small; black, white; 7 or 77. It takes a leap of faith to step out of a comfort zone and try something new. Geekwise students embody the very bravest of our region and every day there’s a new reason to act like you’ve got a “speck of dust” in your eye as we watch our students change their own lives.

Here are a couple of their proudest moments:


Ryeker Herndon

Life before the cohort program at Geekwise Academy meant 18+ hour days working as a retail manager under tremendous stress, impossible standards, and unending expectations of improvement. I saw my family very rarely, and when I did, I was always under a lot of stress. The cohort afforded me the opportunity to learn (and get paid for learning!) a skill that was immediately marketable. Because of those skills, I gained confidence in myself as an employee, I was able to find a job where stress is (honestly) not a factor at all, and the hours I spend I with my family are always positive, focused, and uninterrupted.

Because of the cohort, I was able to land several jobs as a contractor where I improved my skillset and gained even more confidence, and eventually I was blessed to land a job working for Shift3 Technologies as a Software Programmer (my DREAM job!) All this transition happened in under two years! My first class was May 3, 2015 and today I have achieved the career and personal goals I set for myself during that first class.


Alex Gutierrez

Prior to my selection into the cohort, I had spent much of my time working within community based organizations seeking positive social change in the city of Fresno. The experience was rewarding but the slow pace of change often left me exhausted and frustrated. When I heard about Geekwise I thought it would be a great opportunity to explore an industry that was changing the social landscape globally, but I still had reservations. After I met the people involved and began to understand their vision to change the Central Valley through the power of technology, I knew Geekwise was for me. I began to develop as a computer programmer so that I could do my part to make real change in Fresno.

Being in the cohort gave me the time and resources to help advance my skills. I now work as a software developer for Shift3 Technologies and work on projects that support local government and businesses. I work with and mentor youth who are interested in the technology industry, and I’ve gained a skill set that allows me to explore ideas and concepts that will power the future. I’ve enjoyed these last two years tremendously; I’m excited for what the future holds and I attribute all of this to my time in the cohort.


Pratima Sakinala

Prior to the joining the cohort, I was an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) developer. I am currently a Software Developer at Shift3 Technologies. Being part of the Cohort made me realize that I’m good at programming, which 3 years ago I had never imagined doing. Working at Shift3 Technologies made me step out of my comfort zone and take up new challenges in life. I’m grateful to have gotten the opportunity to be part of something big.


Vanessa Ceballos

Prior to the Cohort I was a first year student at UC Irvine studying ecology and evolutionary biology. I wanted to join the cohort because after my first day of taking a course at Geekwise Academy, I was hooked and knew coding was something I could be making a career out of. Also, I have literally never heard of a program that paid you to learn. Aside from all the valuable skills that I was taught in the cohort, I took away something that was more of a personal struggle. I’ve learned that I am a lot more capable of doing things than I thought. Comes to show what is possible when someone believes in you. I think being in the cohort caused me to want to be able to do that same for others. Not only that, but it’s changed my perspective of Fresno and now I don’t want to leave. Today, I am a Web Developer at Top Hand Media but sometimes you can find a camera in my hand or a soccer ball at my feet.