My Bootcamp Outcome: Confidence and a Career in Software Development – by Sara Wille

Cincy Code IT Bootcamp graduate Sara Wille

My IT developer Bootcamp Outcome: Confidence and a New Career

-by Sara Wille (2016 Java Graduate)

“Perhaps the greatest outcome of the bootcamp is that I gained more confidence in my own ability… The experience I gained with the language, resources and best practices has helped me launch my career faster than I could have with a self-taught education alone.  I may not know everything there is to know about Java, but I have the building blocks needed to learn new concepts, frameworks, and other languages quickly.”

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Some people are lucky enough to know as children exactly what they want to do when they grow up.  Most of us take a gamble when we graduate from high school at 18.  It’s great when it works out, but what happens when one finds oneself in an unfulfilling career, or discovers that one would be happier in another?  Well, here’s what happened to me.

After 6 years working as a market research consultant, I was laid off during a wave of downsizing.  For the first time in my life I had more free time that I knew what to do with.  I started programming as a way to stay productive and mentally sharp, but it quickly became a passion that would change my life.

I wasn’t surprised by how much I enjoyed programming.  One of my favorite courses during undergrad was Introductory/Intermediate Java, but at the time I didn’t even consider that software development could be a realistic path for me.  Now I have the benefit of hindsight to know that development is not only realistic, it provides the intellectual challenge I was missing in my previous work life.
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I knew that completing a bootcamp would be an essential step to refining my technical skills and starting a career as a developer.  I compared programs across the country and even prepared to live apart from my husband for a few months while in training.  Through a twist of fate, I did one last Google search for IT developer bootcamps in Cincinnati and found Max Technical Training.  I was impressed by the school’s record of job placement and their connections with local employers.  Within the next week, I passed the aptitude test and enrolled in the Cincy Code it Java Bootcamp.

Now I’m on the other side: I graduated from the IT developer bootcamp in May and will be starting my first role as a software developer next week!  Reflecting on my experience, I know that the IT developer bootcamp itself wasn’t a magic bullet.  It took a lot of hard work on my own side projects and long hours practicing for technical interviews to get me to this point.  Still, the bootcamp was indispensable because it filled gaps in my self-taught education, gave me a supportive community, and helped me build confidence.

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Knowledge

I had been teaching myself for nearly a year by the time my bootcamp started.  I knew a lot of the fundamentals by that point, but there were still gaps in my knowledge.  By the end of the bootcamp I hadn’t only learned about Java, I had also learned about how to be an IT developer.

The experience I gained with the language, resources and best practices has helped me launch my career faster than I could have with a self-taught education alone.  I may not know everything there is to know about Java, but I have the building blocks needed to learn new concepts, frameworks, and other languages quickly.
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Community

Even though I had some success teaching myself, being in a classroom setting accelerated and enriched my learning experience beyond what I could do on my own.  It made for a more encouraging atmosphere, and our group projects simulated a real development team.

My IT developer bootcamp cohort was a friendly and cooperative group.

We’d teach each other, compare solutions, and discuss tech trends during lunch together.  It was fascinating to see how my classmates approached problems differently than I did, and reassuring to be surrounded by other people who were on the same journey.  We often experienced similar frustrations and insecurities, but encouraged each other at every chance.
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Confidence

Perhaps the greatest outcome of the bootcamp is that I gained more confidence in my own ability.  The more projects I completed, the more I realized how much I could do with the information I already knew.  There were some challenging days that made my head hurt, but I always went home feeling excited to be heading in this new direction and grateful for the opportunity to be redirecting my career.

On paper, my career change from market research to software development seems drastic.  From my perspective, becoming a IT developer is just the next natural step in my professional life and I am thrilled about the possibilities it offers.

Can’t wait to find out more?Click here to apply or call 513-322-8888. If you’re ready to leave your old job behind and jump into a lucrative second career that will get you back on the fast track, you’re in the right place.