Imagine having a kit mailed to you with all the necessary components to make contaminated water clean. Cool, huh? Four of our alumni are helping to make that possible by partnering with the non-profit Elequa to design a website for their Make Water program. With this project, these Codeup alumni have the potential to make a global impact: Jacqueline Murralles, James Murralles, Ted Zamarron, and Carlos Teller.
How Elequa is Making a Difference
The Make Water program inspires, educates, and equips people that want to make a tangible difference in the world. Elequa puts together DIY kits with the tools to purify water and delivers them to people that need them, locally and abroad. This project is also given to students in the San Antonio area, who in turn are challenged to research, tweak, and further develop the kits to make them better and more accessible. These problem-solving challenges engage students in the STEM field, inspiring teamwork and collaboration while making a difference that they can be proud of: helping to provide clean water.
How Codeup Alumni are Making a Difference
Currently, the Make Water program lacks a platform to house and share the data gathered by students to improve the kits, while also challenging other community members for further development. They needed help with the gamification of these processes to make participation more engaging. That’s where Codeup alumni Jacqueline Murralles, James Murralles, Ted Zamarron, and Carlos Teller came in. They are helping Elequa to build an open-source application for the Make Water program that turns community participation into a game where users can level up as they contribute and collaborate through an array of real-world challenges in water research, coding, hardware innovation, and creative storytelling.
Did we mention that they are working on this project as volunteers, as Codeup alumni often do? Codeup students are always looking for ways to challenge themselves, sharpen their skills, and make a difference, and that continues after graduation. To see more of the projects our students have worked on (and what you can do, too, with Codeup), check out these capstone presentations.
On February 27th, 2020, I completed an intensive career accelerator program to become a Full-Stack Web Developer! It was a great experience that made me feel right at home. Solving problems, planning, and developing projects all aligned perfectly with my passions and hobbies.
Out of the 670+ hours spent developing, there were moments when I would feel the stress, frustration, and discouragement when my source code wouldn’t produce my expected outcome. However, I believed in my abilities and persevered. I continued to work diligently on every project until it was successfully complete. The hard work wasn’t easy, but it was extremely rewarding. It is commonly said, “If you love what you do, it won’t feel like work” and I truly what I love to do! I can honestly say that my career is my passion.
The impact this program has had on me is unforgettable. I’ve left this program with a new career, knowledge, experience, and skills; but also friends that share the same passion as myself. It was beyond my expectations. I am extremely grateful for the friendships created, the instructors who always had time to help, and the staff that solidified this entire experience. My drive and passion have led me here and I’m eager to embark on this journey to keep learning and continue developing.
Are you ready to discover your passion? Then make sure to check out our programs and give us a call, we’d love to help you find the career of your dreams!
Last year, I knew I needed to make a career change, but I had no idea where to begin. I had fallen into the trap of working mindless jobs only to make ends meet. I was hungry for success and ready to transition from a “job” to a “career,” but I did not know what would get me there. After conducting a lot of research, I came to the conclusion that the tech industry is where I wanted to get started, specifically as a web developer. Unfortunately, when I did a Google search for “coding bootcamp,” I came across about 6,000,000 results. Some programs offered courses online, in-person, or a combination of the two. As for the financial options, programs either offered financial assistance or none at all. I was having a difficult time choosing the best program for me because I was left with so many questions.
To find answers to my questions, I decided to schedule calls with the programs I was interested in. After talking to several bootcamps, I was able to narrow down my options. I needed a program located in San Antonio, TX that offered in-person learning and tuition assistance. This was when I knew Codeup was the best possible option for me. I wanted an in-person experience because I needed an environment that would help me find the success I was after. As I did my research on Codeup, it became clear that they were going to provide the best experience for me.
Now that I graduated and am looking back, I know I made the right decision. While I could mention all of the many ways that Codeup changed my life, I want to share some of the benefits for any individuals considering going here. Every day, I was taught by experienced instructors from all types of backgrounds and with various teaching styles. I had an amazing cohort that shared the journey with me and I can confidently say that I have made lifelong friends. I was also surrounded by an amazing network of alumni, staff, employer partners, and the tech community in San Antonio. Everything about Codeup is so much more effective because it is in-person. One of my favorite experiences at Codeup was the career simulation and preparation. I was able to work one-on-one with a professional that is going to help place me in my first web developer position. I feel like none of this success would have been possible if I decided to take an alternate route through an online program or part-time environment
Going to school full-time was not an easy task, but here is how I made it possible:
Finances: I saved up enough money to cover my bills while I was in school. I also received a scholarship through Codeup and was awarded a grant through Project QUEST.
Time management: I surrounded myself with a team of family and friends that provided me with endless support. They understood that I was going to have late nights and go weeks without seeing them. I planned my days accordingly and always made sure to prioritize school first.
Rewards: Throughout my time at Codeup, I found it necessary to give myself little rewards. Whenever I would get through a challenging day or successfully complete a project, I would allow myself a special treat like a Starbucks coffee or a cheap lunch at a restaurant with my cohort.
If you are considering Codeup’s web development program, my advice is that you ask yourself if you are ready to commit to changing your career and ultimately your life in five months. A full-time program is not easy, but the outcome is going to be worth it if you put in hard work. Remember that you are not sacrificing your time, but are instead investing in a better version of you.
About a year ago I found myself between jobs, with five years of experience in law enforcement. I was actively applying for law enforcement positions because that was basically all I knew. My mother called me one afternoon and mentioned Codeup. She suggested I apply for the web development course. My first thoughts were, “There’s no way I can become a REAL developer in 18 weeks and, if I get in, I won’t be able to keep up with the curriculum.” But, there was no risk in applying, so I did. The admissions process was smooth and any questions I had were answered by Codeup staff. Then I was accepted into the web development course!
The course was challenging, but every challenge felt like an opportunity to grow. Each lesson was structured and easy to follow. The instructors give real world examples and encouraged engagement through questions and ideas. The exercises had requirements, but no limits, which allows for multiple solutions and endless possibilities. As the course progressed, I knew this was for me.
Towards the end of the course, the Codeup staff connected me with potential employers based on what I was looking for. Shortly after completing the course, I received an offer letter from a software company that provides data tracking software to non-profits.
I love my job. I get to build cool stuff that helps make a difference in the world while growing as a Software Engineer.
My advice for anyone considering Codeup is to reach out to admissions. They would be more than happy to share what Codeup is all about and answer any questions you may have. If you’ve already been accepted, you are in good hands. The staff genuinely wants you to succeed. Try your best and you will do great.
Whenever I tell someone that I’m a software developer, I generally get the surprised “You? You’re a software developer?”.
I, like many others that have graduated from Codeup, don’t fit the mold most people think of when they think of people in tech.
To be honest, I can barely believe that I am one as well. Throughout 12 years in school, I was a straight C or D student when it came to math or science and wasn’t super excited about college. When I graduated, instead of going to college, I became a missionary in Colombia for two years. Colombia was an intense, immersive experience and I figured that when I got back to the States I would try out college. The results? I lasted a semester in college and did horrible in my science class. My first week in college and I called a Marine Corps recruiter to let him know that I would be joining as soon as possible. College just wasn’t for me. A week after my first semester and I was in boot camp. I spent the next 5 years in The Marine Corps mostly as a military working dog handler, trainer and instructor. It was honestly the best job I ever had.
Unfortunately, the military had other plans for me that didn’t involve working with dogs, so I got out and worked as a private security dog handler at the Baghdad embassy for a short time. I figured this was the next logical step. I came to find out that the job sounded good on paper, but sitting at a guard shack for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, left me feeling unfulfilled and wanting more out of my life. A week before going back to Baghdad for the last time, I was toying with the idea of coding and came across Codeup. I was accepted into the program a couple of days later and left for Baghdad and started once I returned. Compared to all my life experiences, Codeup was mentally one of the hardest things I’ve accomplished. But if I can do it, so can you. What would have taken me years and years to accomplish, took me about 5 months. Less than two weeks after I graduated Codeup I was offered a job as a software developer at a well-known company where I’ll start in about a week.
The decision to go to Codeup, give it my all and come out the other side a software developer- will affect my life in every way and also that of my future family. I’m grateful for all the staff and instructors there and thankful that I don’t just have a graduation certificate, but the actual skills I need to succeed for the rest of my life.
We spoke with one of our talented Alumni, Alex Ahrens, who just recently graduated with our Ceres web development cohort. Alex shed some light on his Codeup and coding experience, and we’re sharing his story in hopes that it helps others take one step closer to landing the career of their dreams.
Let’s start with you introducing yourself; where are you from, and what was your background before Codeup?
“My name is Alex, I’m not from San Antonio but have lived here on and off for most of my life. I have had a lot of random odd jobs before going to Codeup, everything from customer service, to logging, to a cruise ship deckhand, to bartender.”
What made you interested in coding? And what made you decide to pull the trigger and look for ways to make it your career?
“I was in Military Intelligence in the Army, and when I transitioned out, I decided to stay in intel and went to UTSA to get a CS degree to be in Cyber Security.”
How did you end up coming to Codeup?
“I was bottlenecked in my degree plan (required to take a few prerequisite classes before I could proceed with my degree) at UTSA and decided that I didn’t want to spend another three semesters trying to get passed those classes. Codeup cut that time significantly for a very similar outcome at a cheaper price, so that’s what I chose.”
What has your experience been like here?
“Very challenging, but rewarding as well. My classmates were always there for each other when we needed help and generally went out of our way to help. That along with the enormous amount of knowledge made it a difficult but enjoyable experience.”
What would you tell people considering a career in software development?
“Practice. Without consistent practice, it is beyond difficult to learn and just as hard to retain. Keep programming even when you don’t need to. Learning doesn’t stop when class is over or when you’re graduated. You have to constantly stick with it.”
This time last year I was a college student majoring in Kinesiology and decided to take a step down from management roles to focus on school. I didn’t have any major goals or expected to make any life-changing decisions, then I lost my best friend, my mentor in life.
Tito Bradshaw lived life to the fullest and was a leader in the cycling community. This death kickstarted me onto a path to change my life and do more than I ever thought I was capable of. Like Tito, I decided to go on an adventure and explore New York, push my body past its limits in strength and endurance and somehow I ended up in the right place at the right time and met some people from Codeup.
I always thought I would just be in sales my entire life and have an uneventful life, this year I have done more than I could have ever imagined. Conversations went from “Look how much I sold!” to “Look what I programmed!!!”.
I am so humbled to end this year not as “Eddy the Sales guy” but as a Software Developer! I’m excited to land my first dev role, explore new city’s and most importantly give back to my community. I know if Tito was here he would be proud.
Bootcamps or career accelerator programs are short term education programs designed to help you learn new skills and find a job. If you are thinking about attending one, I will share some tips about finding a bootcamp, my story about how I chose to attend Codeup in San Antonio, TX and how I got funding to attend.
My first tip is to spend at least a few months to a year researching the topic you want to study and the bootcamps available. There are tons of resources online to learn programming. I will provide a detailed table below of the courses I took, most of which are free. While you are learning the basics, start to learn about the bootcamps that teach this subject, read through bootcamp curriculum, take notes on tuition costs and start dates and note whether or not they provide scholarships. This first step is crucial for figuring out if this topic is something you are genuinely interested in.
Secondly, when you start researching bootcamps, you will find that cost of tuition can be high. The best strategy is to look simultaneously look for funding and bootcamps. First look locally and seek out local and federal grants to attend based on being under-employed, unemployed or under-represented in the field (minorities). I was only able to find funding because I met with a local career training program which enabled me to access local and Department of Labor funds. If you don’t meet the criteria of being being under-employed, unemployed or under-represented in the field, then don’t worry! There are still other scholarships and loans out there.
Warning!—only start to contact/call up the bootcamps when you are comfortable with your basic skills in programming (or whatever you are trying to learn) and when you are committed to attending. Bootcamp admissions will aggressively seek you out. They want you to attend their courses. You should have clear intentions about what you want to do, how much money you want to spend, and how good you are at programming. Just be honest with the people you speak to about your circumstances. This is a process so take your time. Often, if you get rejected from a bootcamp, you can still re-apply later.
Lastly, there are almost always loan companies that specialize in loan for students of bootcamps. If the cost of tuition is still prohibitive, you can consider loans as your last option. In most cases, these loans can be repaid easily with the job you will (hopefully, most likely) get after you graduate. Some bootcamps offer refunds if you don’t get a job (with conditions) and others offer deferred tuition where you don’t pay anything until you get your first job.
As for my experience, I learned about Data Science online and spent 10 months researching the subject and bootcamps. I took a slew of courses online to learn the basics, which I will share below. Then I started to apply to bootcamps. Ultimately, I was able to find Codeup in my hometown. I visited their campus and spoke with their admissions representative about funding. I loved that this school was in my hometown, so it was a practical choice for a full-time program. I also liked the instructors and admissions people that I met. The admissions person told me about their funding options and sent me to a local career training program, which informed me about local and federal grants that were not easily accessible online. Working with this local program was long and uncertain but I stuck with it. The real reasons I was able to get funding through them were because I had been under-employed for years, I had used up all my savings, I was living at home with family and I was unemployed at the time that I applied for the funding. In the end, I chose Codeup because I was able to find funding, it was in my hometown and I genuinely liked the people I met there, especially Maggie Giust, the Senior Data Scientist.
I will share a table of the exact funding amounts that I got below. This will probably not be the norm. I got extremely lucky with my funding.
All in all, this whole process is precarious, scary and hard. You should give yourself plenty of time to research and learn about the process, the bootcamps and the subject you are trying to study.
If you need any advice, please feel free to contact me directly. And if this was helpful please send it along to anyone you think would benefit from it.
Join for free. Audit courses for free. Some times you can get stuck when they ask you to pay in order to submit quizzes. If this happens to you, just skip the quizzes or sign up for a “free trial” and cancel before you are charged.
Easy, work through exercises slowly. Spent about 1 week on it.
Codeup is proud to offer a variety of scholarships, grant and loan partners. To find out more information, visit our Financial Aid.
Jesse Ruiz is a data scientist, designer, and artist. She was born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in Texas. She has degrees in philosophy and art from Barnard College and the University of Wisconsin – Madison and received training in data science at Codeup in San Antonio, TX.
When I was 17 years old an Army recruiter came along and convinced me that the military was a good choice and could afford me many great opportunities in life. At the time I was living a carefree life with a close friend. I hadn’t considered what the next year of my life would look like, let alone the next decade. I didn’t really see myself as a soldier, but I was strongly encouraged to enlist and so I did.
To be honest, the next four years were pretty miserable for me. I hated getting up at six every morning to be on time for Physical Training. I resisted the formal structure of everything, from marching in formation to folding my socks a certain way.
The abrupt change to the way I had existed before the military resulted in what felt like a state of shock that lasted for four years. Finally, the time came and I was discharged. I was free to do whatever I wanted to do, and for the first time in life I realized that I had choices to make that would shape my future.
The military would pay for me to attend college as well as my living expenses. The only problem was that I didn’t know what I wanted to do and it took me years to figure it out.
I spent the next few years between college courses, working overseas as a contractor, frequently switching my degree plan to follow my latest interests whether that was graphic design or culinary school.
A decade later I found myself making just enough money to pay bills. It felt like what I imagined a rat race must feel like – stuck and going nowhere fast.
It was during this time that I began playing around with building websites. I was far from good at it, but I enjoyed it, a lot.
In April of 2018 I found out about coding bootcamps. I had never considered that I could make a living as a web developer. I didn’t even know what a web developer did. But it turns out that developers do the things that I enjoyed so much that I stayed up all night doing them.
At the time I was managing a small cafe, making $11 an hour. I was also a part-time uber driver to help make ends meet. It sucked, big time.
It was at this time that I made the best decision I’ve ever made. I quit that job and decided to focus on teaching myself how to code while I researched coding bootcamps that would allow me to use the remaining months I had left of my GI-Bill.
It was important to me that the school be reputable, care about their students and have a solid track record of getting students a job.
Codeup met all those requirements.
Before attending Codeup, I decided that if I was going to risk the time and money it would require to improve my life and take a chance on something I knew I truly enjoyed I’d have to do some things differently. I was going to have to give it 110% because if I failed at this I didn’t want there to be any possibility that it was because I held anything back.
I like to think that my military training kicked into overdrive.
While at bootcamp, I arrived hours early, sometimes turning on the lights myself. Many evenings I stayed late to study and work on projects. I took pride in everything I did, making each and every project better than the last and paying attention to the details. I stayed positive, took care of myself and made coding my life. I hardly watched any television at all, one of my favorite pastimes. I also developed some amazing friendships. I continuously modified my time and intentions at Codeup to shape the best outcome possible.
Needless to say, this time around I was ready for it and bootcamp was one of the best experiences of my life.
Currently I work for Cognizant. It’s the best job I’ve ever had. It feels just like Codeup where I was constantly learning and loving every second of it. I work with all the friends I made at Codeup and the salary is… well, like everything else, a dream come true.
There’s absolutely nothing I would change about my experiences -Army bootcamp or coding bootcamp. I know without a doubt that because I attended both, I’m living my best life!
Dorian Wallace is a software engineer at Cognizant in Dallas, TX.
In four months, a lot can change. Four months: A San Antonio winter, a long distance relationship, a college semester.
During my four months at Codeup, I pursued what felt like an unattainable goal and actually reached it. When I tell people that I’ve been coding less than a year and am now working as a software developer, people are usually impressed. But to be frank, I could never have done that without attending a coding boot camp like Codeup. It was a short four-month process that was like stumbling from a dusty, old wardrobe into Narnia: on one side, a clumsy and unenlightened beginner and thereafter being transformed by a completely new and fantastical world. Attending Codeup armed me with the experience and knowledge that allowed me to survive the harsh winter landscape that starting out from scratch as a software developer can be.
Now as I am working at my first real job, I’m grateful to Codeup for teaching me several things that allowed me to be better prepared for my career.
From beginning to end, Codeup placed a huge emphasis on group exercises. The beginning of the course was characterized by paired programming, a process in which one person is the navigator and one is the driver. As the names suggest, the navigator communicates with the person at the keyboard and directs them to type certain bits of code or navigate to specific elements on the page. Often, we would flip-flop between these roles so both students could get a crack at practicing one of two things: Firstly, we practiced how to communicate clearly and efficiently. Secondly, we learned how to take direction and ask clarifying questions.
At the time, I wasn’t sure what the big deal was with paired programming and why the instructors at Codeup had made it such an integral part of the curriculum. However, as I go about my everyday duties at work, I realized how often I engage in informal bouts of paired programming. Although we have a Wikipedia-style knowledge base at my work where we document our processes, a lot of knowledge is still transferred orally (not ideal, but we’re working on it!). What this means is that paired programming happens on a daily basis. If a developer is having a complex problem, it is usually easier for a coworker who has solved this problem before to sit down and walk them through it rather than try to explain things via chat or email.
Towards the end of the semester, we coalesced into group projects in which the primary focus was teamwork. This was where we got a taste of working independently but in a team effort. It was during the group projects that I discovered the importance of learning how to use a versioning control system, such as GitHub, that allowed multiple developers to participate on the same project without stepping on any toes. When I started my job at Armor, I realized how much more complex versioning control can get when you have potentially 50+ people contributing to the same repository at any given time. I had to relearn the fundamentals and be extra careful not to overwrite someone else’s work. Most mistakes are reversible, but the headache of figuring out what went wrong and how to fix it is usually a source of distraction from a developer’s daily duties and sprint goals.
2. Learning how to ask for help
Like Real Life
When I initially started at Codeup, I found myself wanting to ask the instructors questions as soon as I got stuck on something. However, I quickly realized that their resources were limited since there were only 2 of them (plus 1-2 fellows) in a class of 30. Although this wasn’t ideal, it actually did simulate a real-life scenario that parallels a professional working environment. At my work, there are probably only 2 or 3 lead developers. However, they are constantly inundated with requests by QE and other junior developers, code review, and demands from management. If you need to make a request, best make it quick and efficient.
Asking Questions the Right Way
I then remembered what instructors had mentioned during Codeup. They taught us that if you have a question, make sure you present it in a format such as:
Describe your question/problem in detail.
What have you already done to try and solve it?
Why don’t you think your solution worked?
This made it so that students would actually try to figure out a solution before shooting their hand up every time they had a problem, only to find that they could have easily solved it with a little more digging. In my experience, most experienced developers are usually happy to help. However, it’s good practice to make sure to demonstrate you tried your best and that you’re not wasting their precious time.
3. Pushing through the doubt
“I’m not cut out for this”
Throughout the boot camp, it came to be a running joke that everyone would have an emotional breakdown at least once during their time at Codeup. You would see someone walk off and come back with teary, red eyes. Or for some, they would vocalize their despair: “I don’t think I’m cut out for this.”, “This is too hard.”, “I’m so frustrated!”, “Maybe I should just give up.” I myself broke down emotionally several times during Codeup and reiterated several mental self-doubts to myself: “Maybe I should have stuck to the arts. I’m too emotional to do well in computer science. I’ll never be good enough”. On some days, you would feel accomplished and confident in your abilities. On other days, the doubts would flood in unexpectedly and endanger everything I had worked so hard for. However, through the support of other students in the class, the instructors, and the encouragement of the staff, I was able to succeed throughout the course and completed my Demo Day project.
It Always Gets Better
All this is to say, Codeup taught me to have emotional fortitude and a confidence to believe in myself. Because to be honest, the first several months at my job also felt like an emotional roller coaster. I was thrown into an environment where I had to learn and adapt very quickly. I was constantly afraid and timid because I was the only female developer and also the most junior developer. I expected a lot out of myself, and when I was given criticism I would internally berate myself until my negative self-talk had multiplied the original piece of criticism in my mind ten-fold of what it actually was.
However, my experience at Codeup had taught me to push through in those moments of self-doubt. It gave me a thicker skin in order to ask for help, to learn quickly amidst a ton of ambiguity, and most importantly, a realization that it will always get better as long as I don’t give up
4. Learning how to learn
As you might have noticed, none of the points above are actually related to the technical knowledge I received by attending Codeup and how it affected my career. It goes without saying that Codeup provided me with the coding skills I needed to be succeed in my career. However, another point that our instructors emphasized was that Codeup was not a comprehensive coding academy or computer science degree. In some ways, it was like a tour bus that allowed you a brief overview of all the major stops in the area.
It allowed us to have the impetus and catalytic energy to start off a software development career. It also gave us the tools to quickly be able to pick up any technologies our companies were using.
“We’re teaching you how to learn,” they would say throughout the course. After starting my first job, I came to realize how true this statement was. I imagined myself trying to pick up the technologies at my job without having Codeup as a primer and it seemed near impossible.
Needless to say, Codeup was an essential experience I needed on the way to becoming a full-time software developer. I learned critical skills that have proved invaluable in my day-to-day and have allowed me to be where I am today.
Joyce is a full time software developer at Armor, a cloud security company in Richardson, TX. In her free time, she sings in a women’s chorus, plays electric guitar, rock climbs, and is starting a freelance writing business. Check out some of her work at thelusciousword.com.