February 1, 2023

How I Landed A Tech Job As A Stay-At-Home Mom With 4 Kids

I longed for a tech career as a stay-at-home mom with three academic degrees, including one from Yale. I attended my first hackathon over a decade ago and was immediately intrigued. 

Despite my impressive educational background, I found landing a tech role challenging. However, instead of giving up, I leaned into the affirming websites and platforms like POCIT that helped motivate me to pursue my dreams of a tech career. Read on to learn my story of perseverance and determination.  

How it All Started 

I gave birth to my daughter Taylor at the age of 20. She was born deaf and later diagnosed with autism. I knew I wanted to build a good life for us, so I finished undergrad, moved from Chicago to NYC to teach, and then to Boston to obtain a Master’s in Education. I wanted to be the best advocate for my daughter because of her disabilities. Yale was next, and with a Master’s in Religion, focusing on Black Religion and African Diaspora, I initially wanted to pursue doctoral work. 

“Despite having a beautiful family and living in a beach city outside Los Angeles, I longed for more.”

My first pivot came when I took time off after Yale to give my daughter additional focus as she navigated school. After that, I married a handsome guy I knew from high school, moved to Los Angeles, and had three more children. However, I kept my passion for tech, specifically content creation, and became a contributor to publications like Ebony/Jet, Huff Post, and Today Show Parents.

Though a stay-at-home mom, I studied the tech industry religiously by attending conferences and writing press articles about industry trends. I was still determined to find work in the tech industry and eventually wanted to land a job with a major tech company. Despite having a beautiful family and living in a beach city outside Los Angeles, I longed for more. 

The Turning Point for My Career Relaunch

It all started in October 2020. While at least one million women left their jobs to do remote learning with their children, I returned to work for the first time in a decade. I initiated the shift because I knew that despite supporting my husband’s career and raising my girls, I wanted more. I was frustrated with putting off my career for so long. 

My first back-to-work role was at a digital marketing company called Olly Olly. I started at 5:00 am before the sun rose because I lived on the West coast, and my job was based on the east coast. Because it was still the height of the pandemic, I hired a nanny to do remote learning with my children, and we adjusted our schedules to ensure this new role worked. I loved it. Going back to work made me happy, and I knew I had made the right decision. 

“I had always been interested in technology but never had the chance to pursue it because I was supportive of my husband’s career.”

While working for Olly Olly, making only 10K more than my first entry-level job out of college, I knew I needed a tech skill to level up and double my salary. So I paused my new role to enroll full-time in a UX Design course through the Pledge to Equality Scholarship program with Udacity. Subsequently, I was chosen as one of 10 interns to join the company for a summer internship. 

It felt serendipitous because I’d been building template websites for a decade and writing, so UX Design brought it all together. My favorite part of the experience was the community and team-building in my scholarship cohort. I had always been interested in technology but never had the chance to pursue it because I was supportive of my husband’s career. 

Photo of Eraina, a Black woman with long black braids, smiling at the camera holding a water bottle with the Udacity logo. She is wearing a grey hoodie with the Udacity logo
Photo courtesy of Eraina Ferguson

It’s been a long and winding journey, full of ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Each new project has brought unique challenges and rewards, teaching me something new about myself and my capabilities. Finding a job took work. I was grateful for the opportunity to land a role at Udacity, but I also interviewed with 20 other companies within two months before receiving an offer. 

My career took off when I started at Udacity as the Marketing and Communications Manager. This new six-figure role combined my experience in content and PR with UX Design strategies. In addition, because I was intentional about my work-home life, I simultaneously took a short contract role at Meta while working at Udacity. It was one of the best seasons of my life. I loved being a part of a team and working in the field of Edtech. 

My Advice for Other Moms Wanting a Career 

As a busy mom of four daughters, including one with disabilities, I know a thing or two about juggling work and parenting. Parenting while building a career can be challenging, but I recommend the following steps to manage your busy schedule and stay connected as a parent and partner. 

  1. Set a schedule. Create a plan that is conducive to your family’s needs. Make sure the morning and evening routines are set so you can build your day around them. Without a routine, your home life can become hectic.
  2. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Prep lunches and outfits the day before to avoid a hectic morning. 
  3. Set boundaries with your work life. Ensure you are unavailable after 5:30 pm to prepare for your evening family routine.
  4. Hire help. One of my best decisions was to outsource my laundry and hire a housekeeper. Again, it helps with our routine and allows me to manage my hectic schedule. I also hired a caregiver and a part-night weekend nanny. 
  5. Enjoy and build in fun. Build in family routines and fun that help you intentionally spend time with your family. 
Photo of Eraina, a Black woman with long brown locs, standing on a woodland bridge smiling. She is wearing a purple top and trousers and carrying a canvas bag that reads 'Eat Local, Be Kind'
Photo courtesy of Eraina Ferugson

The Road Ahead

Like many others in the industry, I, too, was impacted by tech layoffs in late 2022. However, I am encouraged by the plethora of resources and networks for us as people of color. I will continue to connect to POCIT daily, attend virtual events, and use my network. 

I’ve also created a robust portfolio to display my writing skills. In addition, I’ve taken a content writing contract role in the interim to build my experience in different genres. My current contract role is at an HR software company. 

When I first re-entered the workforce, I expected a more linear path and that I would be in one role for a while. But instead, I was able to triple my salary and level up while gaining more experience because I remained flexible within the ever-changing tech landscape. 

For those struggling to find work, don’t give up. Instead, keep looking and only settle for something that is a good fit.

My long-term goal is to build inclusive products for individuals with disabilities. Anything is possible with dedication and hard work.

Eraina Ferguson

Product Manager | Inclusion Advocate | Journalist