Mika Hopson Colaberry Alumni Success Story
Successful data scientists can come from a variety of backgrounds, given the right training. This month, our student success story highlights the power of tenacity, resourcefulness, and the unrelenting human spirit to overcome all odds. Since its inception in 2012, Colaberry School’s alumni community has grown to over 800. But it is stories such as Mika Hopson’s that make us incredibly proud of the transformational work we do day after day.
Mika is currently a Senior Data Developer. W had the pleasure of sitting down with her to discuss her experience both during and after her Colaberry Data Analytics training program.
Name: Mika Hopson
Title/Current Position: Senior Data Developer
Salary Increase: 200%
Colaberry: How did you hear about Colaberry?
Mika: My best friend’s husband told me about the Colaberry, In program. He is a high school friend of Ali and went through the program in 2012 or 2013.He spoke so highly of it. I felt there had to be a catch for one to start making this kind of money. Later on, I found out on my own that Colaberry was the real deal.
Colaberry: What should people know about you?
Mika: I have always been very strong-willed and a go-getter. When I was a child, my mother was a single parent raising 3 kids, and we lived paycheck to paycheck. One day, I told my mom that I would have a really good job, a house, and would never be broke. I was prepared to do whatever it took to make this dream a reality. And I have done so with Colaberry’s help!
Colaberry: Where did you grow up?
Mika: I am from a small city in East Texas, called Longview.
Colaberry: Why did you decide to enroll in Colaberry’s School of Data Analytics?
Mika: I used to work for a large corporate bank. I was doing okay. I thought, “I am paying my bills. I am living within my means.” Every now and then I would have to move bill payments around or get a small loan around Christmas.
I thought I was doing okay, but I was never able to afford a family vacation or buy a brand new car. And then the unthinkable happened- I lost my job. It almost crushed me. Living paycheck to paycheck was not something I ever wanted to do again.
Eventually, I found a new job, but the salary was 25% less than what I had been making before.This was a huge blow to my savings and my family. That’s when things got bad.
I could not pay my electrical bills. I could no longer afford childcare. I was choosing between keeping the lights on and putting food on the table. I fell behind on my rent payments. My late fees started adding up, and I was forced to get yet another payday loan. I was caught in a vicious cycle. Eventually, eviction notices started arriving. It was terrifying.
Christmas time came around, and I couldn’t afford any gifts. I bought a gift from the Dollar Tree Store for my two sons to share. I wrapped it in notebook paper and hid it in my closet until Christmas time because we didn’t have a tree.
After Christmas, I had to make a decision: pay my rent or the childcare. I decided to pay the childcare so that I could work. We got evicted. I was at work when I received a call from the landlord. I had until 5pm that day to get what I could before the locks were changed. I left work, picked up my 2-year-old and my 5-year-old boys from childcare, and told them that we had to gather our belongings from the apartment. When we got there, I asked my boys to get a bag and take whatever fit into that bag. The rest had to stay. It was heartbreaking. At that point, I knew we had nowhere to go.
That night we slept in our car, in the middle of January, with no heat. We ended up having to park and sleep at truck stops and behind vacant lots. When I got paid, I would get a hotel room for us for a few nights. Whenever I was able to get off work in time, I grabbed my kids from childcare and went downtown to the shelter. I would pray that I would be in line just in time to be chosen. When that happened, the kids and I would share a cot. And then early in the morning, I would get up, send them to school, and off to work I go.
Sometimes we would make the line for the shelter, and sometimes we didn’t get there in time. If we didn’t — we would have to sleep in our car. I couldn’t afford to get another apartment. I couldn’t afford to pay the application fee and the deposit, and I couldn’t afford the rent. I didn’t qualify for food stamps or daycare assistance because my job paid me just enough to disqualify me from any assistance, so I had to figure it out on my own. We lost everything: no beds and no furniture to sit on, no plates or cups to drink from.
How I Heard About Colaberry
I was attending church as a fairly new member, and the pastors and staff told me about a facility for homeless families that could help me. That’s when I met Elvis Omboto — he was my Case Manager — he was always so pleasant and compassionate to my situation.
I loved his kindness and his spirit. He was truly a blessing, and he told me that I could do anything that I wanted to do. So I reached out to my friend Anthony about the Colaberry training program. After he informed me that the training program was still around, I ended up joining the course, saved up some money to pay off all my debts, and moved with my children into a very small 2-bedroom apartment.
We still had no beds for awhile and sometimes we slept in our car, but this facility gave us everything we needed from beds to furniture to clothes to a helping hand. Once I got back on my feet, I applied for a new job working at an insurance company. I bought my first laptop with my tax refund and started my journey with Colaberry.
I joined Colaberry after being homeless for about 9 months When you hit rock bottom, you have nowhere to go but up. I was not going to be a victim and stay in my current situation. If this data training school could really do all that was told to me, then I would go through it to make a difference in my children’s lives. And that’s the reason I joined Colaberry.
Colaberry: What training courses did you complete through Colaberry?
Mika: I took their Data Analytics course, which included hard skill and soft skill development through their Refactored.ai platform.
Colaberry: How do you think you benefited most from Colaberry’s training?
Mika: Ever since I joined Colaberry School, my life i has taken a complete 180 The staff, the program, and their Refactored online platform helped me launch my career. Not having to worry about money is a blessing. I cannot thank Colaberry enough for giving me this opportunity.
I still remember my days at the bank, when I would wait for payday, with only a few dollars left in my bank account, praying that nothing would happen between now and the payday. Now, after having completed the Colaberry training and landing a job, I see my bank account balance grow from paycheck to paycheck. What an absolutely amazing feeling that is!
Colaberry: In terms of current salary vs. your previous position, do you feel that Colaberry helped you to reach your goals? In what way has this improved your life?
Mika: Absolutely! If it weren’t for Colaberry, I would still be doing insurance claims - a job I hated. The school really empowered me to become more confident and go after the job I have today!
Colaberry: Did you learn any soft skills (e.g. Critical Thinking, Communication Skills, Self-Efficacy, etc.) through Colaberry?
Mika: Colaberry’s online training platform Refactored.ai was critical to my success. The automocks were extremely helpful, and so was the video interviewing practice because when you record yourself speaking, you get the opportunity to see yourself the way employers do when they interview you.
Some of the soft skills I perfected with the Refactored platform were:
- Communication Skills (non-verbal and verbal skills)
- Critical/Creative Thinking
- Time Management
- Improved my "grit"
Colaberry: How did those soft skills help you in the workplace/ getting a job?
Mika: Those soft skills helped me to act with confidence and rely on my experience, not just my knowledge. .I learned that my experience would get me the job, and my knowledge would allow me to keep that job.
Colaberry's Online Courses, powered by Refactored.ai, are filled with social interactions focused around solving real-world problems
Colaberry: Would you recommend Colaberry to others? If yes, why?
Mika: I highly recommend this school to everyone, especially if financial independence is one of your goals. I have already referred a number of my friends to Colaberry. A few of them have progressed to the Colaberry Job Readiness phase , and are among my mentees.
Colaberry: Would you ever consider returning to Colaberry to take more classes?
Colaberry: What do you find most enjoyable about your current position?
Mika: I love not having to talk to anyone when I’m working... That was a joke. But on a more serious note, it feels wonderful to be able to save the day for your team when things get out of hand. That alone makes my day very enjoyable and rewarding. I love my job. I love what I do, and I get paid to do what I love. What’s better than that? Thanks so much, Colaberry for helping me get here!
Colaberry: Do you have any final thoughts or advice to current and future students of Colaberry?
Mika: Your life is whatever you make it out to be. The power is in the tongue, so if you speak it then it shall come to pass. Consistency will get you where you want to be. You can dream it and say you will do it, but God won’t bless what you are not willing to do!
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Colaberry School of Data Analytics has been providing groundbreaking, career-oriented training programs in Data Analytics since 2012. They run online classes that you can take from the comfort of your home. Colaberry also offers instructor-led classes that run in the Dallas, TX area. More than 4,500 people have changed their lives by participating in these bootcamp-style classes!
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Bureau of Labor Statistics
Current salary data for Information Technology and Data Science positions can be found at: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes150000.htm