David Meyer was excellent at his job as a sales coordinator for Lowe’s. But being in a field that he was not passionate about made him eager for change. Remembering how he loved coding in his youth, he decided to quit his job and give himself a chance to start a career in tech.
Tell us about your background. What were you doing before attending the program?
In my last job, I worked as a project coordinator for all installations sold at Lowe’s Home Improvement in Vancouver, WA. I was responsible for a variety of things, including material orders, appointment scheduling/follow-up, and handling customer complaints. Prior to that, I was a team lead for the front end of the store, managing cashiers, writing schedules, accounting cash discrepancies, and mentoring/onboarding new employees.
What motivated you to explore a new career or upskill in your existing field, and why did you decide to pick this program?
While I was good at my job, I was bored and not challenged. Technology has always been a passion of mine. I remember I would spend hours coding simple games [as] a teenager with my friends. I wanted to incorporate this into my career, so I decided to exit the project management position and devote my full attention to learning software development at Tech Academy’s Software Development bootcamp.
How did you finance your education, and what were some of your biggest considerations when making this choice?
I opted to get a loan to finance my continued education. I decided that [paying my tuition] monthly would be a better option…[so I can also] cover my other monthly expenses while I was studying.
What did you like about the program? Are there any highlights that stood out to you?
The curriculum is set up in a way that starts with very basic concepts and builds up to more complicated ideas. The communication with instructors was great as well. If I got stuck on a challenge or had a question, in general, they were always quick to give me guidance.
The major highlight of the program that stood out to me was [doing] the “Live Projects.”At the end of each sprint, we had a code retrospective where we reflected on our work—what went well, and how we could improve it. Of all the materials in the bootcamp, I learned the most from the Live Projects.
How did you fit the program into your schedule?
Since the course was self-paced, I was able to work on my studies at any time. I essentially adapted my 9-5 work schedule to be my new study schedule. If I had extra time, I would put in extra hours in the evenings or weekends or take time off during the week if other obligations or opportunities arose.
Can you give us any examples of projects that you worked on during the program?
One project I worked on was a web application for a theater production company. They wanted a way to list their upcoming productions on a website without needing to add any additional code once completed.
The application was created using a variety of technologies, including the .NET Framework, C#, HTML, CSS, and Razor Pages. I worked with a team of developers to create an application that allowed for a user to create, edit, and delete records that display the theater company’s upcoming productions. My primary contributions to the project included creating the data model, connecting the database, and styling the main page that would display the productions.
Do you have any advice for someone considering this program?
My main piece of advice for this program is: you get out what you put in.
Take advantage of every resource at your disposal. Ask lots of questions, participate in paired programming sessions, and don’t be afraid to reach out if you don’t understand something!
This is a self-paced program, so discipline is a must. Create a study schedule and stick to it until it becomes a habit.
How did the program support you in finding a job?
I had a lot of support from The Tech Academy during my job search. I would send weekly recaps (sometimes more often) to my job placement director, letting them know how many applications I had submitted. [I also inform them] if I received any responses and upcoming interviews.
I was also honest with them about my feelings during the process. The job placement director was extremely supportive and helped fine-tune my interview skills as well as my resume. They also sent job leads to me when applicable.
Was the job search process different from what you expected?
I knew it was going to be a lot of work. But ultimately, I think the job placement course at the end of the bootcamp helped to prepare me mentally. It took a lot of time and effort to send applications before I started to get interviews. I think The Tech Academy did a good job of giving students a realistic expectation for the job search process.
How many companies did you interview at? How did you choose which one to work with?
I interviewed with roughly six or seven companies before I received a job offer. I accepted the offer from my current employer because they seemed like a reputable and stable company. The salary was more than what I was expecting, and they seemed genuinely excited to have me as a part of their team, too.
How are the skills you gained from the course useful in your current career?
A major skill that I learned from the bootcamp is how to find answers to questions. Technology is constantly changing and evolving, so knowing how to research and where to look for answers has proven [to be] an invaluable skill. Having a solid foundation of software development principles and the ability to effectively research are my two biggest drivers to success.
What do you think is different about your life now versus before the program?
Salary aside, I am excited to go to work and learn new things. I enjoy telling people about my work and what I’ve been doing. I’ve made some other positive life changes, which snowballed into [having a] better quality of life, in general!
What do you find fulfilling about your current line of work (software engineering, UX design, etc.)?
I enjoy adding new features and creating applications that can be showcased and used by others!
There is a great sense of pride that comes from finishing something and being able to say, “I worked on this!” I also enjoy working in an environment where my coworkers actually want to be there and continuously improve.
What do you enjoy about working at your current company, are there any specific perks you enjoy (work hours, pay, time off, etc)?
I enjoy being able to work remotely. This allows for a lot more flexibility in my schedule and gives me a better work-life balance. We also get a paid day off on our birthday!
Do you have any job search advice for someone considering a career in your field?
It takes time, effort, and discipline. It can be discouraging sometimes, but know that if you consistently put in the time, you will be able to look back at your past self and realize that you have really come a long way.
My biggest piece of advice to anyone wanting to get into this field is to be consistent, persistent, and passionate.