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Jamila Strickland, application development associate and quality assurance engineer at Accenture. Courtesy Photo.
Jamila Strickland, application development associate and quality assurance engineer at Accenture. Courtesy Photo.

Jamila Strickland finds passion through the Accenture Apprenticeship Program

An apprentice since May 2022, Strickland has had her hands in many projects with the goal of supporting clients with application quality and assurance testing.

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When Jamila Strickland first entered into higher education as a student at the Community College of Philadelphia, it was to pursue a career in the medical field. 

Her intent was to eventually become a nurse or ultrasound technician. However, the aspiration to go down that path waned soon after.

“While going there, I was just starting to realize that this really isn't my passion,” Strickland told AL DÍA during an interview. 

Once she came to that realization, she decided to drop out of college and enter the workforce, initially working at a department store and various customer service companies in the region, as well as some remote office jobs. 

At one of her previous jobs, she took notice of some software engineers there, which really caught her attention. 

“I like to see things come to life, and I think it’s very interesting how it really starts with something simple, such as an idea,” said Strickland about what captivated her.  

From there, she started to look into ways to become a software engineer herself, enrolling in Coursera. This helped her learn Cloud, HTML, CSS, Javascript, Python and many programming and software platforms.

“I got really interested in tech and looking at different avenues of what I could do [in the field],” she added. 

Strickland became determined to find her way into the tech industry. Despite it being something new to her, she remained passionate and driven, hopeful that a company would take a chance on her.

While scrolling through Instagram one night, Strickland came across Accenture’s Apprenticeship Program.

The earn-and-learn model does not require a college degree and equips apprentices with 12 months of formal learning, on-the-job training, and coaching that creates a pathway to a full-time role with Accenture and opportunities for continued growth. 

“It seems way too good to be true,” Strickland initially thought when she first read the application.

The Accenture Apprenticeship Program requires applicants to hold a high school diploma. With that requirement — and with a number of certifications from Coursera — in her grasp, Strickland decided to give it a try. 

“My motto is always, ‘you miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take,’” she said. “There’s no reason not to apply, the worst that you can get is a ‘no.’” 

About a month after applying for the program, Strickland was contacted for an interview.

In May 2022, she officially began her apprenticeship with Accenture as an application development associate working on quality assurance (QA). 

“I thoroughly enjoy it because I get to see how these platforms and apps really come to life, and what goes into the process,” said Strickland. 

For her, it’s great to be on the other side of an application. A part of her role is finding bugs within the application and taking steps to ensure it works to the highest degree for the consumer.

From the onboarding process to her first day on the job to the present day, Strickland praises how the Accenture team makes her feel like family and takes her input seriously. This is despite the fact that she is an apprentice and still navigating through the company, and the industry overall.

“I’ve gotten phenomenal feedback from everyone on the team,” said Strickland. “They have helped me tenfold and it’s never seemed like I’m a burden.”

As she progresses through her apprenticeship, Strickland is eager to continue honing her skills with Accenture and eventually become a QA test lead. 

“Accenture has provided me with opportunities that I never thought would be possible… and I also think it is amazing that they’re closing the gap on entry-level tech and letting people who are entry-level make their mark in the tech world,” said Strickland. 

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