I'm an Air Force veteran with a bachelor's degree in journalism, and prior to finding LaunchCode, I was working as a business journalist for a local newspaper. I heard about LaunchCode while reading and writing for the paper about the organization coming to Miami, aiming to fill the tech talent gap in the region. What caught my attention was the fact that there was so much demand for programmers, and that you didn't need a four-year computer science degree to find a job.
Since I was a kid I have always been interested in computers (both hardware and software), but it was always more of a hobby than a profession. After several years of working as a journalist, I thought about switching careers to become a software developer, but I had always thought it was something I need to go back to school for to get a four-year degree in computer science. Thinking about that time commitment and ensuing debt had always deterred me from following that path. It wasn't until I read about LaunchCode's mission that I learned that there are a lot of people in my position that land jobs as programmers if they wanted to put in the work.
I'm an iOS developer at The Silverlogic, a software development shop in Boca Raton that provides both mobile and web solutions for various clients. As a developer, I work full-time with our other engineers on developing mobile applications. This could be anything, ranging from creating new features and bug squashing to app design and planning. I work on a team of about six to eight co-workers who all have talents in different technologies. While we don't do paired programming, there are senior iOS developers in the company that I'm able to lean on and learn from. We follow the agile development paradigm and spend time refining our teamwork so that our progress in development flows more efficiently and quickly.
Related Reading: The Agile Process
I was one of the first students to attend LaunchCode's classes in Miami, and I could not recommend it enough. Not only did it give me a glimpse into the foundations of computer science, but it also put me in a class focused solely on iOS development. That was my start into building my own projects, which eventually helped me start a tech career. The one thing I learned in class that has proven most useful on the job was understanding design patterns and basic object-oriented programming, which set me on the right path.
I was one of the first students to attend LaunchCode's classes in Miami, and I could not recommend it enough.
Even though it seemed hard to find an entry-level position in my field, I thought LaunchCode did a great job in keeping me informed of opportunities and setting up the connections with prospective employers. The process exceeded my expectations. I was expecting a few back-and-forth emails being myself and LaunchCode, but the team in South Florida was enthusiastic about setting up networking events and meetups to get me in front of employers.
All LaunchCode can do is get you ready and put you in a seat in front of an employer, but it is up to you take it from there. If you want to get a job in this market, you need to be ready to answer the questions, both technical and soft. You need to spend a lot of time developing your skills, staying on top of new technology, and, most importantly, developing your own products and application. Only you can build your portfolio that will eventually get you hired.