When I started learning how to code, I knew the biggest challenge would be transitioning those skills to the workplace. How was I going to convince an employer to take a chance on a guy who doesn't have a CS degree or professional experience?
How was I going to convince an employer to take a chance on a guy who doesn't have a CS degree or professional experience?
My background is in lighting design for theater. I spent time in Chicago, Louisville, New Haven and various other cities collaborating to tell stories. It wasn't always the most glamorous profession. Most days, I had to test the limits of time, money, physics and personality to get the job done. It was very rewarding at times, but also very limiting.
When the time came to start exploring career options, I knew I wanted a career where I could solve interesting problems and be an important part of a team. Coding allows me to do that, and be a part of a field that has become so vital to today’s society.
From the first class I took online, learning to code became my second job. It started as simple math problems, and before long I was building games and apps for my phone. I didn't respond to every resource I found online, but when I found classes and tutorials that fit my learning style, I knew I was on the right path. I took MIT and Harvard classes that I wasn't qualified for, which forced me to relearn forgotten math concepts and research foreign topics to fully grasp the material.
Coding started as simple math problems, and before long I was building games and apps for my phone.
I encountered LaunchCode at the perfect time. I was confident in my skills and ready to test them in the real world. LaunchCode was in my hometown and was looking for people just like me. Throughout the process, from the time I applied to interviewing with companies, I continued to pick up new skills. After only two interviews, I was hired on by a company that appreciated my background. Developers there were eager to share their experience with me.
My apprenticeship was set up as a few weeks of learning the languages/framework (Go, Angular.JS) and the tools that Enteon uses for their web application. This was followed by a few weeks of working with the other two apprentices on a feature that would be added to the site. Within the first two months I was fully involved in the development process and had become an important part of the team.
I really believe in what LaunchCode is doing; it changed me life. LaunchCode is giving that same opportunity to anyone with the drive, skills and passion to succeed. LaunchCode is taking something that was previously difficult to reach, and making it very reachable.
LaunchCode is taking something that was previously difficult to reach, and making it very reachable.
I am not the only one who sees LaunchCode as a way to change their life. I’ve been also doing my part to help other just like me by mentoring future LaunchCode apprentices. I’m excited to see them succeed in the same way that I have. I would encourage everyone to get involved with LaunchCode whether it be through learning, applying or mentoring. It is an opportunity that can completely transform your life.