Luke Walawander, Montana Code School graduate and Director of Ad Operations, LumenAd

“Where else can you completely change your career and pivot that quickly?” Luke said. “It’s a huge opportunity for those who are not aware of it. Coding is exciting.”


Montana Code School coding courses can be the edge you need to get the job you want.

When tech began to boom in Montana, Luke Walawander found himself looking for a way to dive into the fast-growing, high-paying field. He’d been wanting to push his career in a different direction and found a fit in coding courses with Montana Code School.

At A Career Path Crossroads

Born in Arlee, Montana, Luke had aspirations to be a professional baseball player or perhaps an international businessman when he headed off to college. Throughout his college career, part of him always wanted to work with data in a meaningful way, but none of his classes gave him that opportunity.

In 2008, Luke received a degree in international business from King University in Bristol, Tennessee. He had spent two summers abroad working in Europe, but a strong desire to move home to Montana led him to accept a position with AmeriCorps in 2009. For more than eight years, Luke worked in economic development in his home state, excelling at project management and working with teams.

All along, he felt the same attraction to storytelling through data but lacked the outlet to pursue it.

Coding Courses Introduced A World Of Storytelling Through Data

When a friend introduced Luke to coding, he was instantly attracted to the style of work– data projects that yielded immediate results. Unlike economic development projects which can take years to come to fruition, coding jobs exist in a fast-paced field.

Luke’s pivot point came in 2016. His work with Montana World Trade Center was wrapping up, and it seemed like a natural time to transition. He wanted to shift his career path, but he didn’t want to lose the skills he’d already developed.

When he enrolled in the Montana Code School, Luke initially wanted to be a junior developer, like many of the other students in his cohort. As he worked through the three-month program, Luke realized that coding was preparing him for more than just a junior developer position: it was preparing him to be relevant and in-demand in today’s changing technology landscape.

“I realized I wanted to work in the technical space, to be part of that action, to be in the private sector, to be part of something that was growing,” Luke said. “I thought to myself, ‘What can I do to use this as a conduit to get to the next phase of my career?’


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Luke Walawander, Director of Ad Operations, LumenAd

Coding Courses Were The Key To New And Exciting Career Opportunities

One month after Code School graduation, Luke accepted a job with LumenAd as their tenth employee. Two years later, Luke is the Director of Ad Operations, and the company employs more than 50 people with aims to double that number in the next two years.  

Luke’s position with LumenAd demands his coding skills but also draws heavily on his economic development experience. He still gets to work with a team and manage projects, but now he also fulfills that desire for working with data in a meaningful way.

Luke said his job at LumenAd has given him a way to both work in an exciting, fast-paced industry and to buy a house in his home state. He and his wife enjoy the many recreational offerings around western Montana, like snowboarding, hiking, and hunting.

“The lifestyle is super important, and that’s why we wanted to remain in Missoula,” Luke said.

Coding offers people like Luke the chance to pivot in their career without forcing them to go back to school for years. Luke watched his wife make her own mid-career shift by returning to graduate school for three years, while he made his own in just three months.

“Where else can you completely change your career and pivot that quickly?” Luke said. “It’s a huge opportunity for those who are not aware of it. Coding is exciting.”

Ready for a career change? Apply for Montana code school coding courses today!