As a math teacher and principal in high/middle school mathematics
Had concerns about changing careers in her 30s
I was interested in coding to better understand technology, and live a holistic lifestyle.
As a Software Engineer
You can quickly learn new technologies and skills
Happy with her work/life balance, career paths and happiness
Program: Three Full-Stack Bootcamps in Chicago, IL
Coding Dojo’s 3 full stack approach has made me feel confident in my ability learn new languages and frameworks. Since graduating, every job I have held since then has been in a language I didn’t learn at bootcamp. I learned the basics and was able observe patterns in multiple languages so I was able learn new ones on the job.
Please tell us about yourself. Your age, hobbies, passions and what you did (professionally) before joining the bootcamp.
I am 40 years old and I love stand-up comedy and true crime podcasts. I also enjoy taking one-off classes in different hobbies to try them all, but I rarely keep them going. These include, but are not limited to: wood burning, watercolor painting and candle making, calligraphy as well as embroidery, knitting, and stamp-making. Two amazing nieces are my aunt. I love spending time together when I can. Rocky is my dog. My previous career was in education. I was a middle school math teacher. I then moved into school leadership as an instructional coach, IB coordinator, and finally as a principal at middle/high schools.
Why did you choose to enroll in a bootcamp for coding?
After I graduated from college, I was initially interested to learn more about educational technology. I began to study coding to better understand the technology in order to support my work in a non-technical position. The more I looked into job descriptions and my personal vision of my life holistically, the more technical roles seemed interesting to me. I continued my learning to confirm that it was something that I was passionate about before looking for a bootcamp to help me grow.
What were your fears and doubts that prevented you from enrolling? How did you overcome them?
I didn’t have any particular fears about enrolling at a bootcamp. My fears were more generalized about making a career change in my 30s. My support network was very helpful. However, I was also encouraged by meeting with a Coding Dojo alumna with a similar career path to mine. I felt like we connected and it was a great help to me. She shared her job search and she also talked about her experience starting her first job in the industry. I made an effort to attend many meetups and networking events, which helped me meet people I could connect with in a similar way.
What was the secret to Coding Dojo’s success? Why did you choose Coding Dojo over other programs?
I considered three programs, but Coding Dojo stood above the rest because of the people with whom I interacted as I learned about the programs. Coding Dojo gave me the feeling that I was being heard. They also responded quickly to any questions I had. This was a sign of the support I would receive as a student.
How was it to prepare for bootcamp? How did you prepare for the bootcamp?
I have worked in education for many decades and was familiar with the anxiety that comes before a school’s “first day”. I relied on tried-and-true strategies for preparation, but I also appreciated the Coding Dojo pre-work because it allowed me to focus my nervous energy and prepare for rapid learning.
Talk us through the first few weeks of the program. Which parts were your favorites? What parts were difficult?
Coding Dojo was a place I came from when I wasn’t working full-time. One of the biggest adjustments I made was to keep my energy up and keep my focus for 8 hours. My instructors and cohort mates were amazing, and I enjoyed getting to know them and learning how they work together. White-boarding was a great way to get my brain and body moving in the mornings.
What were your strategies for overcoming the difficulties you faced?
It was crucial to have a strong support system with my fellow classmates as well as with family and friends outside of work. I was also fortunate to have a few software engineer friends, so sometimes I could pick their brains or share a programing joke with them. This helped me get through difficult situations and relieve stress.
Do you have any funny stories to share about your bootca experience?