From Bootcamp to Bootcamp: Two Military Veterans Discuss Their Transition Into Tech

From Bootcamp to Bootcamp: Jeff Roeder and Benny Fields share their Codeup experience

Are you a veteran or active-duty military member considering your next steps? Our alumni have been in your boots. In a recent virtual panel, two vets discussed their transition into technology careers with Codeup: Benny Fields III, a retired Air Force Master Sergeant turned Full Stack Web Developer, and Jeffery Roeder, a Navy Intelligence Analyst turned Data Scientist. Whether you’re interested in Data Science or Web Development, here are some key takeaways from the event. 

Why Codeup?

“The GI Bill was a huge plus, but the icing on the cake was the placement program.” – Benny Fields

After retiring from the Air Force, Benny Fields took a job as a technical writer, but he quickly became more interested in the software he was writing about than the writing itself. His friend suggested looking into a coding bootcamp, which he did. He liked that Codeup accepts the GI Bill and the icing on the cake for him was learning about the work our student placement team does to get you hired.

What does Codeup’s Student Placement Team do?

“They’ll give you every imaginable tool to get placed. They have tons of connections- it’s crazy. Colleges aren’t gonna do that for you.” – Jeff Roeder

We’ll buff up your resume, set up mock interviews, and give you the know-how to nail your interviews and get a job offer. From how to dress, to what to say in a thank you letter, Jeff said it best: we’ll give you every imaginable tool to get placed in a new career. And it’s backed up by our tuition refund

How did you pass the technical assessments during the application process?

 “They basically tailored their workshop to me. That’s the kinda stuff that Codeup’s gonna do, they’ll get you there!” – Jeff Roeder

Jeff Roeder heard about Data Science classes at Codeup from a friend who had seen our “crazy billboards” (one of which features Benny). He’s a former intelligence analyst, but the admissions process wasn’t entirely a breeze for him. After studying and studying, Python just wasn’t clicking, and he failed one of his technical assessments. He was about to give up on it, but our admissions team wasn’t ready to give up on him. We personally invited him to one of our Saturday workshops where we taught him step by step how to build the foundation he needed. 

How does your military experience relate to your experience at Codeup?

“They were like ‘hey, you’re gonna learn Spanish and you only have six months to do it,’ which is much like going to Codeup to learn something new, you only have six months to do it.” – Jeff Roeder

When Jeff first joined the Navy as a linguist, he was told to learn Spanish in six months. When he joined Codeup, he was told to learn Data Science in five months. They were both immersive experiences where people of different personalities and different cultures joined together for a common goal. As Jeff put it, you may not always like someone or relate to them, but you need each other to accomplish what needs to get done.

“Coming to Codeup, I had to be flexible because I had to learn to adapt to new technologies with new people that were way younger than me and were catching on faster.” – Benny Fields

For Benny, one similarity is that in the Air Force, you have to be flexible. He was used to having a planned day and changing it at the drop of a hat. In the tech field, things are always changing, and flexibility and constant learning are essential. This is where the military flexibility really came in handy for him.

Jeff and Benny may have completed different Codeup programs but they both had the same journey from bootcamp to bootcamp. Both failed their technical assessments at first and had to leverage our resources to get through the admissions process. They both worked with our financial aid team to use their VA benefits for the course, and they both left Codeup with a job and a new skillset.

Mission accomplished.

 

If you’re looking for your next step and want to learn more about using VA benefits to attend Codeup, talk with our team today! And don’t miss our next virtual event – check out our calendar at codeup.com/events!

Discovering My Passion Through Codeup

Headshot of WebDevelopment Alumni, Miguel. Beside the title graphic "Discovering my passion through Codeup"

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!

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Miguel Garcia is a Software developer in the San Antonio, TX. Connect with him on Linkedin!

Breaking the Mold: My Journey To Become A Software Developer

By Ryan Smith, Codeup Alumnus

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.

Codeup Talks Expanding Its Coding School To All Of Texas

Photo Taken In Chon Buri, ThailandBy   – Reporter, San Antonio Business Journal

Seven years ago, Joseph Villafranca walked into the 10th floor of the Weston Centre for an interview to enroll in a new coding school. As he entered an empty office room and helped Michael Girdley, one of the three co-founders of Codeup LLC, take down chairs for the one-on-one interview, Villafranca wondered whether the school was a scam.

“As someone that wanted to own my own business, I felt I needed something else — a hard skill to my skillset — and coding was it,” Villafranca said.

Graduating with a bachelor of science in business administration from Texas A&M University – College Station, the South Side native wasn’t satisfied working as a manager of a local Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt location.

A Quest Through Codeup

A Quest Through Codeup

Codeup isn’t a cheap program – we know that. As one of the longest accelerators in the country, we recognize that cost is a concern for many prospective students. That’s why this week we are excited to highlight one of our long-standing financial aid partners – Project QUEST – to show you how many pathways are available. 

First of all, we view your tuition as an investment in your future, and we put our best people, ideas, and efforts to make that investment fruitful. But we also want to make that investment more accessible by providing as many financial pathways as possible for tuition funding. As we approach their annual fundraising luncheon this week, we want to highlight Project QUEST as one of the most effective such pathways you can explore.

“The experience of attending Codeup has radically altered my life. Now, instead of financially treading water in a service industry job with a college degree that felt wasted, I have a fulfilling professional career with exciting possibilities for in-field advancement.” – Matthew Capper

Project QUEST is a San Antonio based non-profit dedicated to workforce development and building our city’s future economy. They provide grant funding for educational and training programs, as well as career coaching and support resources (like utilities, childcare, and transportation). Over the last 4 years, Project QUEST and Codeup have collaborated to help dozens of students change careers.

Assistance from Project QUEST was invaluable and empowering. They offer incredible support for career training.” – Jesse Ruiz

In 2019 alone, Project QUEST has helped Codeup train 23 Software Developers and Data Scientists. Those students received grant funding (i.e. free money) anywhere from $2,000 to a full tuition ride, allowing them to fully focus on their education. Our combined efforts help empower life change, resulting in a 92% completion rate and a 95% employment rate of students receiving Project QUEST funding. And when we say life change, we mean it. The average starting salary leaving our program for Project QUEST participants this year was $59,000! That’s the salary floor, and there’s no ceiling. Considering that many of Project QUEST’s participants come from backgrounds of under or unemployment, these are generationally impactful numbers.

“QUEST’s help compounded this opportunity by giving me enough fiscal assistance that I am now on more secure financial footing than I have been in my entire adult life.” – Matthew Capper

If you’re excited about Project QUEST’s impact on individuals and communities, support their work by donating here! If you’re considering a career change, reach out to us at info@codeup.com and we’ll help support your quest for a better future.

A QUEST THROUGH CODEUP

A Quest Through Codeup

Codeup isn’t a cheap program – we know that. As one of the longest accelerators in the country, we recognize that cost is a concern for many prospective students. That’s why this week we are excited to highlight one of our long-standing financial aid partners – Project QUEST – to show you how many pathways are available.

First of all, we view your tuition as an investment in your future, and we put our best people, ideas, and efforts to make that investment fruitful. But we also want to make that investment more accessible by providing as many financial pathways as possible for tuition funding. As we approach their annual fundraising luncheon this week, we want to highlight Project QUEST as one of the most effective such pathways you can explore.

“The experience of attending Codeup has radically altered my life. Now, instead of financially treading water in a service industry job with a college degree that felt wasted, I have a fulfilling professional career with exciting possibilities for in-field advancement.” – Matthew Capper

Project QUEST is a San Antonio based non-profit dedicated to workforce development and building our city’s future economy. They provide grant funding for educational and training programs, as well as career coaching and support resources (like utilities, childcare, and transportation). Over the last 4 years, Project QUEST and Codeup have collaborated to help dozens of students change careers.

Assistance from Project QUEST was invaluable and empowering. They offer incredible support for career training.” – Jesse Ruiz

In 2019 alone, Project QUEST has helped Codeup train 23 Software Developers and Data Scientists. Those students received grant funding (i.e. free money) anywhere from $2,000 to a full tuition ride, allowing them to fully focus on their education. Our combined efforts help empower life change, resulting in a 92% completion rate and a 95% employment rate of students receiving Project QUEST funding. And when we say life change, we mean it. The average starting salary leaving our program for Project QUEST participants this year was $59,000! That’s the salary floor, and there’s no ceiling. Considering that many of Project QUEST’s participants come from backgrounds of under or unemployment, these are generationally impactful numbers.

“QUEST’s help compounded this opportunity by giving me enough fiscal assistance that I am now on more secure financial footing than I have been in my entire adult life.” – Matthew Capper

If you’re excited about Project QUEST’s impact on individuals and communities, support their work by donating here! If you’re considering a career change, reach out to us at info@codeup.com and we’ll help support your quest for a better future.

How Codeup Prepared Me for a Career

Codeup Demo Day

By Joyce Yueh Yueh Ling

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.

1. Collaboration

Paired Programming

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.

Group Projects

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:

  1. Describe your question/problem in detail.
  2. What have you already done to try and solve it?
  3. 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.

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Why I’m Thankful for Codeup

Cody the Duck sculpture

By Amy Yanaway

 

Almost every day since graduating from Codeup in December 2017, I have meditated over how much my life has changed in such a short period of time. Especially during this Thanksgiving season, I took the time to reflect even more deeply about the top three reasons I am grateful for Codeup. I am thankful for:

1. Codeup as a career accelerator

When they say that Codeup is a “career accelerator,” they are not joking! In just 18 weeks, you graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the industry as a junior developer.

When I was first searching for options to learn how to code, I was told that any college degree program would take me two to four full-time years, or four or more part-time years, to finish. As we all know, our bills do not get put on hold while we are in school!

I also looked into free or inexpensive part-time programs so that I could continue to work full-time, and although I would describe myself as diligent and able to handle self-study, this would also have been a long route, and without the career advice and connections Codeup provides. Knowing what I know now, I am so glad I didn’t try to study on my own. The depth of Codeup’s curriculum, compared to some online training I have tried, is unmatched and very important to have in my current work as a developer.

When you think about it, 18 weeks is a blip in your life, especially when that blip of time in Codeup very quickly produces a return on your investment. Remember to consider wages lost when making your decision: your time is VALUABLE, and time spent not in the workforce is wages lost that you could have been making. Speaking of finances, I am also thankful for…

2. Codeup’s financial aid offerings

Did you know that many students receive internal scholarships and financial help from Codeup’s funding partners? I, too, had sticker shock when I saw the price tag, but I ended up receiving Codeup’s Women in Tech scholarship, as well as a grant from Project Quest, which greatly reduced my cost. For the remaining balance, I utilized one of Codeup’s loan partners, which offers reduced payments while in school, and for two months after. Read more about my journey through Codeup here. Last but not least, I am thankful for…

3. Codeup opening the door to the tech industry for me

Until just a few years ago, I had never in my life met a computer programmer. I was not aware that this was a thriving career, or that development and IT jobs occupy many of the slots on Glassdoor’s list of top careers. For several years, I was stuck in another field that was not for me, and I spent a lot of time thinking about how to get my foot in the door of this industry that seemed like it would better suit me and my needs. However, I did not have any connections in the industry or the direction needed to do this myself.

Codeup provided access to the tech field to me, as a woman who knew nothing about code prior to attending, and as someone who constantly doubted (and still do sometimes) whether I would be able to grasp what I had heard was very difficult subject matter. They saw potential in my aptitude and, more importantly, in my attitude.

Life since Codeup has been incredible. My job is fun, challenging, and stimulating; most of the time, it feels like I’m working on jigsaw puzzles all day. The hours just fly by, and I can’t believe I’m getting paid for this! Sometimes, when that pesky ol’ imposter syndrome pops up, a coworker of mine will brag about the quality or speed of my work to my supervisor, and I’ll feel validated and appreciated all over again, despite my newness to the field. Financially, I also feel appreciated, as I am now a skilled worker in high demand. In fact, in less than a year since graduating from Codeup, I was able to purchase my first home, all by myself!

This truly has been a life changing year. Codeup got me in the door of the tech industry, and where I go from here is up to me. This Thanksgiving, I am humbly grateful for finally being able to carve out my place in the world, and I hope the same for you. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Amy is very proud to say she is currently the only female developer employee working on Whataburger’s first ever online ordering platform. She has a Master’s degree in Music Theory and keeps that knowledge fresh by analyzing music on the radio during her daily commute. Since learning to code, what she enjoys most is mentoring new developers.  

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From Styling Hair to Stying Interfaces

Codeup flag

By Sukari Schutzman

Sukari Schutzman Headshot

I grew up loving technology. I still remember thinking that my grandmothers’ flip phone in 1995 was the coolest thing I had ever seen. As a child, I took all my electronic toys apart, because I was curious what was inside. So you can say, I always yearned for a career in tech.

My name is Sukari Schutzman. I don’t take myself too seriously, I’m always laughing, and trying to share positive energy, but most importantly I am a software developer.

When I got my cosmetology license, I was passionate about doing hair. I wanted to learn how to be better, and how to perfect my craft. In many ways, I see a lot of parallels in cosmetology, and in software development. Drawing those parallels kept me strong in the program and reminded me to never give up. I remembered when I was in cosmetology school, or when I was in the salon and I was stuck on something, I always asked for help. In software development and at Codeup, the same rings true.

I had always driven by the billboards on I-10 on my way into San Antonio and was ALWAYS confused. “Software Developer? Why is ‘Retail Manager’ crossed out? What is that?”, I always wondered. But I always continued to drive on and thought nothing of it when I reached my destination.

I decided development was for me and wanted to transition into it and learn how to code, as I had been exposed to it for a while. I knew self-study would not work for me. I needed to be in a classroom and knew I needed to be in front of an instructor. But most importantly, I needed a job ASAP because I needed to support myself and my child.

When I arrived at Codeup and went on the tour I was amazed. I knew this would be the place for me, and it was going to be where I knew my life would change. I was going to be walking out of one door and into another. And I wasn’t going to look back.

When I found out that I had got in, I was so happy that my hard work paid off and I knew it was just the beginning of what was to come. I looked forward to the start date and marked it on my calendar. I also quit my job, which was much needed because salon life was stressful enough, let alone learning a new skill.

The next few months were filled with triumphs and failures, which is normal in any career. No one is born good at everything, it takes practice and determination (I totally had to repeat that to myself every single day at Codeup. Thanks Ryan!). Sometimes it felt like two steps back, but I was determined to make it to Demo Day and present my Capstone.

With the help of Codeup staff, I felt setup to succeed at Demo Day. But most of all, I felt prepared for my new career.

Demo Day finally came! Our project got the most compliments on the visual interface, which I worked hard on, and helped us stand out amongst our classmates. I had a few interviews set up for within a week after Demo Day and landed my first job. At this point, I was in awe. Everything I worked hard for had finally came to fruition. And most of all, I didn’t have to work weekends unless I wanted to.

Software Developer Sukari Schutzman

There’s nothing wrong with being hair stylist, absolutely not! However, it just wasn’t for me anymore. Thanks to Codeup, my life is so different now.

And for that, I am eternally grateful.

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From Cooking Steaks To Cooking Code

Codeup San Antonio exterior

by Alexander Bous

Alex Bous

Growing up

It would be an understatement to say that the bar of expectations were set high as the youngest of 4 to immigrant parents, who were also mechanical engineers. Eldest: Entrepreneur with several successful businesses; Second: Contract Law Lawyer; Third: Doctor of Neonatal Genetics; Fourth (Me): cooked since I was 15. Although the decision to make a career of cooking didn’t hit me for a few years, I had known that I did not want to follow the footsteps of my parents or siblings.

Cooking

At the age of 19, I decided that I wanted to attend college at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Before I could finalize my decision, I knew I had to tell my parents. They reacted just as I thought they would. “What?! NO, NEVER! Never in my life did I ever think my son would become a cook.” Our family comes from a culture where there are three acceptable career paths: Doctors, Lawyers, and Engineers. Coming from a family where I already had a sibling fulfilling each of those roles, I felt that I had nothing to prove to anyone except myself. I ended up attending CIA and working in the industry for 15 years. Having held every role in a kitchen and marriage, including being a parent, I decided it was time to put my ego aside, think about what’s best for my family, and transition careers.

The Most Important Thing

Early on in my cooking career, I had a mentor that drilled a simple phrase into my head: “The most important thing in life is to figure out what is most important.” This simple saying spoke very loudly to me; how can you work towards a goal if you don’t know what the goal is? Every task I would work on in life would ring those words in my head; So what was most important to me? “A happy family and nothing else” is what I have defined as what is most important. Now it’s time to figure out how to get there.

The First Step: Codeup Open House

After spending too much time on autopilot, it was then that I realized the only thing keeping me in the restaurant industry was that it was the only thing I really knew. I needed to break the mold to be able to achieve the most important thing. Having always been computer savvy and a self-proclaimed problem solver, I soon realized that I was better with computers than I thought. It seemed to come more naturally to me than others, which was when I realized I needed to find a career that would allow me to use my skills in computers. There was only one clear answer for me, and that was Codeup. I spent time at their open house, and I was sold. Not only were they kind and caring individuals, but also extremely smart and talented developers and teachers. It seemed like the right answer.

The Second Step: “Good”

After getting through the admissions process and getting accepted, I decided to make the best of my decision to attend and set a plan of action to take in as much as possible. I made note cards, studied ahead, built random projects I found online, and ran code kata’s everyday. Sounds impressive, but I can assure you, there was much failure involved. If I was struggling, “Good” would tend to be my response because with failure comes the opportunity to get better; it meant that there was something that I needed to work on. As the difficulty level strengthened, so did the number of “Good” moments. There were moments when doubt and worry went through my mind as well. I was worried that I had made the wrong move.  I turned to my classmates with the plea for help, they responded similarly as well. “What a relief,” I thought. It was good to know that I wasn’t the only one in class struggling because it made me realized I tricked myself into thinking that I was couldn’t do it.

Finding a Job with Only Cooking Experience

After graduating from Codeup and being fully aware of my imposter syndrome, I could not shake the thought of why someone would hire me. I would have to constantly remind myself that, with the skills I had from my previous work experiences and the new skills I learned over the past 18 weeks, I was more than capable. With the help of the Director of Product, Stephen Salas, I was able to find a job within one week of graduating.

Goal Achieved: Now What? Maintain and Gain Skills

I got the knowledge, got the job, and got the work/life balance. Now what? Now it’s time to continue to learn and advance with your newly learned skills. One thing I realized after going through the Codeup program was that there are a lot of similarities between learning to code and learning to cook. At first, basic skills require a lot of effort and struggle, but eventually they become second nature. After the basics are understood and the muscle memory is built, then comes the never ending list of more advanced skills. When people ask me what the best part of Codeup is, I tend to respond simply with, “they taught me how to learn”. I look at new projects that I am given and when I have no idea where to start, I say “Good”, another opportunity to get better.

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