Anthony Johnson has been on his own since he was 16. The Wisconsin veteran doesn't have a college degree or a high school diploma, but he's about to move to Seattle to start a job at Amazon as a software development engineer.
Johnson said getting to this point didn't happen overnight. When he got out of the military in 2018, most of his time was spent going from one side job to the next.
"I had to get the job washing dishes just to pay for Christmas presents for my kid," Johnson said.
"It was working Uber and Door Dash, and whatever I could really, whatever was open at the time," Johnson said.
He wanted a career. He had the motivation to start something new. He read a book about computer programming and was hooked.
Johnson signed up for a 13-week intensive computer science training boot camp and he didn't stop there.
"I jumped on LinkedIn. I started building up that network," he said.
In his spare time, Johnson wrote articles about software development online. He wasn't paid for his work, but it connected him with others in the tech field.
"Most luck is a bunch of work that happened over the course of time," he said.
Those connections he made helped land him his new six-figure software engineer position at Amazon. He starts later this year.
"I am going to be on the delivery experience team. So, basically they do a lot of high-level math to see how quickly your packages can get to and from other places," Johnson said.
"You're going to fall on your daily habits and I think it's important for people to understand that what's happening in one year. It's not that transformational compared to what can happen over ten years or five years," he said.
You need to put in the work, but understand it's a process.
"I think it's important for people to understand that it's kind of longer than, hey I'm going to make this decision, and then things are just going to happen," he said.
This story was originally published by Kristin Byrne at WTMJ.