I’m a freshman at City University New York, and I’m already two years into my career as a UX designer thanks to the Amazon JumpStart program.

As part of the Amazon JumpStart program, I balance working at Amazon part-time as a junior user experience (UX) designer with being an arts student at CUNY. In between classes, I take meetings and work on exciting projects for Amazon Devices. I get to put what I learn in the classroom into direct action in my work—and what I learn at work into my classes.

An image of Amazon apprentices smiling to the camera.
Shakibul (right) enjoys career development opportunities as part of his program.

The Amazon JumpStart program is a youth apprenticeship program that employs people who are still in high school, allowing them to accelerate a career in tech from an early stage. The program includes in-classroom learning and other development opportunities, and it allows apprentices to work as paid, part-time employees at Amazon while finishing high school.

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I learned about the JumpStart program from my guidance counselor when I was a junior in high school. When I first told my parents about the Amazon JumpStart program, they encouraged me to just do one thing at a time: finish high school, then go to college, and then start my career.

But the program has given me a chance to get a head start on my career. Since then, I really feel like I’ve found my place at Amazon, with my team, in this field, and I’m excited to keep growing.

Here are some things I’ve learned so far and my top three tips for making the most of your early career:

1. Don’t be afraid to try new things

When I first started as an apprentice, I was originally working as a junior coder. After a few months, I realized that I missed engaging my creative side, and with my mentor, we explored a shift into UX design. Animation and design are big passions of mine, so working on the UX team opened up a whole new world—and I realized how many directions I could take my career.

An image of Amazon apprentices smiling to the camera.
Apprentices participate in a career coaching workshop to complement their work experience.

A lot of people don’t know about the different job paths out there, or what those jobs entail. Being encouraged to explore and meet new people has allowed me to uncover jobs I didn’t even know existed. With my support system, I’ve been able to dip my feet into each of these career paths and see what might be the right fit for me.

2. You’re not going to be perfect

Starting my apprenticeship as a junior in high school, I had no idea what I was capable of. I’d never worked in a corporate team environment before and never been responsible for deliverables. Starting at Amazon was a total lifestyle change for me.

An image of a group of apprentices sitting on a table and talking to each other.
Apprentices on the Amazon JumpStart program collaborate together.

At Amazon, I’ve really valued the support of my supervisors and mentors who have taken the time to work with me and teach me the habits in time management, productivity, and communication that are going to set me up for a successful career, right from the start.

3. Tap into the knowledge of the people around you

One of the most amazing things about working at Amazon is the sheer depth of knowledge from the people around you. I would read industry articles and share them with my teammates, and it would spark the most interesting discussions, as they were often leaders in these fields.

These conversations are always so rewarding, and they provide me with inspiration, deepen my knowledge, and make me a better designer and a better student.

To learn more about the JumpStart program, and how you or your students can get involved in this or other student programs, visit the Community and Emerging Talent Hub.