Stacy Samuels, a former high school science teacher and robotics coach, wanted to expand her horizon by becoming a software developer. Knowing she can accomplish more, she took the first step by enrolling in the online tech bootcamp with DigitalCrafts. After completing the Full Stack Web Development Bootcamp, she now works as an Environmental Software Developer at EarthSoft.
Here’s her story.
Tell us about your background. What were you doing before attending DigitalCrafts?
Before attending the bootcamp, I was a high school science educator. For eight years, I taught Physics, Aquatic Science, Anatomy and Physiology, and Earth and Space Science. I was also a robotics coach for two FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams. FIRST [a nonprofit STEM organization for the youth] was my introduction to coding. My students programmed their robots using Java and I learned along with them.
What motivated you to explore a new career path, and why did you pick DigitalCrafts?
I wanted flexibility, career growth, and the support of a company that values its employees. My father is a Technical Lead and a software engineer, so I saw the successes he was able to make. I also knew that I would enjoy becoming a software engineer. I chose DigitalCrafts because they teach the fundamental skills needed to be a valuable developer.
How did you finance your education, and what were some of your biggest considerations when making this choice?
I am a recipient of the Lesbians Who Tech Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship, a scholarship for LGBTQ+, women, and underrepresented people, who want to pursue a tech career. I am a living example that when we level the playing field, people can rise to the challenge and reach their dreams.
What did you like about DigitalCrafts Web Development Bootcamp? Are there any highlights that stood out to you?
I have to give a big shoutout to my instructor, Joe, my two TAs—Rayleigh and Violet—and my cohort-mates. Although we were competitive, we were each other’s biggest supporters.
How did you fit the program into your schedule?
The program was A LOT of work. I knew that if I wanted to succeed, I was going to spend whatever time it takes to build and understand coding. I completed my final year of teaching one week before my bootcamp started and stayed full-time learning in my office.
Can you give us any examples of projects you worked on during the program?
I made a CLI Hogwarts-themed escape room. I created a coffee tracker app that allows you to become an at-home barista, too. But my favorite was my capstone project Protectly, a full-stack business application that allows users to secure their Calendly links by connecting their accounts to our software. If a user is not on the list they made with Protectly, Calendly will send out a customizable cancellation message.
Do you have any advice for someone considering DigitalCrafts?
There is a lot more to becoming a software developer than just writing applications. It’s about finding how you can bring value while solving problems. I worked hard not just to code. but also to understand the industry I was joining. I am now part of an incredible team at a wonderful company, and I excel despite being new at my job because of the training I received in my bootcamp.
Did you find a new position after the program?
I found a new job as an Environmental Software Developer for EarthSoft.
How did DigitalCrafts support you in finding a job?
They gave us feedback on our resumes, portfolios, and LinkedIn. My instructor helped us with interview tips and DigitalCrafts also held countless career workshops.
Was the job search process different from what you expected?
The time it takes to apply and get a job can sometimes be painstaking… So having the patience to follow up and accepting rejections are part of the job-hunting process.
How many companies did you interview at?
I was interviewed by five companies…Ultimately, I was hired by EarthSoft after four rounds of interviews.
How are the skills you gained from the course useful in your current career?
From working with an API to making UI changes and SQL queries, the skills I learned from the bootcamp are invaluable.
What do you think is different about your life now versus before the program?
Well, my commute now is about 20 steps from my kitchen table to my office versus 30 minutes of traveling each way in the past. The company allowed us to work remotely, so I very much enjoy that. My company also advocates for work-life balance.
What do you find fulfilling about your current line of work?
I love solving problems. I have come to enjoy the struggle of debugging code. Having a test fail, figuring out the issue, fixing it, and then having that little green check is a nice serotonin hit.
What do you enjoy about working at your current company? Are there any specific perks you enjoy?
Working fully remotely forever is a wonderful setup. My team is scattered across the US and Canada, and having diversity is wonderful. The fact that our software also helps industries be more environmentally conscious is something that makes me proud to be a part of.
Do you have any job search advice for someone considering pursuing a career in your field?
Remember why you want this and the value you can bring to the table. There are people out there who are more experienced than you, people who might work harder than you, and the hiring process can be tough. But being able to showcase how you can bring just as much value to a company as they can bring to you is what can get you through.
DigitalCrafts cannot guarantee employment, salary, or career advancement. Not all programs are available to residents of all states. REQ1917146 3/2023