Alumni Spotlight – Kerli Zirk


As kood/Jõhvi’s alumni series continues, we shift our spotlight to another inspiring graduate – Kerli Zirk, a 27-year-old hailing from the charming town of Viljandi, Estonia. Her story began in the world of cars. More exactly selling car spare parts, a world totally different from the coding landscape. Kerli’s story offers a glimpse into the unexplored potential that unfolds when passion meets the opportunities provided at kood/Jõhvi. So, without further ado, let’s dive straight into it!

From Auto Parts to Coding

After graduating from High School, Kerli studied automotive technology at a vocational school and successfully earned her diploma in 2017. Post-graduation she delved into short-term job opportunities and eventually ended up working in auto spare parts sales, longing for more challenges and growth. 

In 2021, Kerli took a leap of faith by participating in a web development training program facilitated by the Estonian Töötukassa. Although the training itself didn’t offer a profound learning experience, it sparked her interest in web development. The appeal of a career with remote work possibilities and promising growth prompted her to explore the world of software development

What to do next?

Amidst considerations of traditional vocational schools and other options to pursue the desired education, Kerli was introduced to the kood/Jõhvi initiative, which quickly became her top choice. 

Kerli at the 2021 Selection Sprint

Reflecting on her decision, Kerli shares: “I’ve already experienced the level of vocational education before and wasn’t very eager to go there again because the foundation seemed weaker.”. So instead of going down the same old road, our future alumnus decided to switch things up and joined the Selection Sprint in the summer of 2021. That intensive period, which Kerli refers to as “a rollercoaster of emotions”, turned out to be a success, with her securing the spot in kood/Jõhvi.

kood/Jõhvi Experience

Reflecting on her time at school, Kerli expressed: “kood/Jõhvi was the best decision for my educational journey. The program not only gave me technical skills but also taught me the invaluable ability to self-learn. The balance between the structured educational program and self-learning methodology laid a strong foundation for my programming path.”

Kerli at the kood/Jõhvi graduation in autumn 2023

Kerli also mentions that completing the program in under 1.5 years brought moments of burnout, yet the family and team support pushed her to succeed. Kerli emphasizes her appreciation for teamwork and practical tasks, stating: “I highly value collaboration, hands-on experience, and real-life projects we had, as a testament to our hard work.”

Kerli at the kood/JobFair 2023

All the skills acquired at the coding school not only equipped her for the job market but also opened up a variety of new opportunities. 

Navigating the Future in Tech

Currently, Kerli is a Junior Software Developer at Sysynkt, focusing on full stack development projects. Working in a startup provides her with the freedom to discover new horizons and explore her identity within the vast world of IT. While her heart leans towards development, the future holds endless possibilities. Kerli’s journey continues, and her story serves as an example for those navigating their own career transitions.

Stay tuned for the next edition of our Alumni Spotlight series as we unveil more inspiring stories of growth and exploration from the kood/Jõhvi community!