You don’t always need a traditional computer science background to make it in tech. Ashton Elizabeth is living proof of that. 

The Seattle-based software engineer didn’t take a straight path into the tech field but has now been at Indeed for the past three years. And she knows about navigating twists and turns in the career path.

Having originally gone to school to study psychology, Ashton’s focus was working with children — particularly kids diagnosed with autism. From there, she worked in the nonprofit sector to develop after-school programs in low-income housing complexes. And while she remains passionate about working with kids, Ashton decided to challenge herself by jumping into something new: the for-profit sector. 

“I wanted to stay competitive,” says Ashton, “so I decided to add that technical toolbelt to my skill set.” From there, she enrolled into a bootcamp where she trained to become a software engineer. Not long afterwards she found herself at Indeed. As part of her role, Ashton builds microservices for the Enterprise Billing Platform and leads the Seattle chapter of the Black Inclusion Group, which she co-chairs. It’s a far shout from her nonprofit background but just as rewarding. 

And while she works to maintain her outside passions and hobbies working with children, dance and rock climbing her ultimate goal as a Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging advocate is to inspire more individuals from underrepresented backgrounds to enter the tech field.

The key to making it all come together is practice. Whether the aim is learning a coding language or demonstrating a skill set during an interview, Ashton encourages job seekers to keep their skills sharp by practicing. “You don’t have to be an expert in every single thing,” she says. “Just as long as you get that top-level thing down.”

Learn more about Ashton’s career journey, and find out her advice for people looking to get a jump-start into a career in tech. 

This editorial is brought to you in partnership with Indeed.