When you work at a coding bootcamp, water cooler chats are a bit different than you might find in other workplaces. Heartening anecdotes are casually passed between instructors, counselors, career services staff, and the like—whether it’s a student who’s surpassed all odds to accomplish his goal or a recent grad accepting her dream job, we’re talking the kind of stories that just make you feel good about what you do.
We’re lucky we so often have the chance to dive deeper into many of these stories (check out our recent profiles of Liz Phillips and Mike Kerslake), but there remains something special about hearing little bits of joyful news as you walk down the hall—and we wanted to let you in on the fun.
We polled Fullstack Academy and Grace Hopper Program staff on their most memorable students, and here’s what they had to say.
Karen McPherson, Full Stack Academy Instructor
“One student is especially memorable for me because of her animated personality, analytical mind, and because she struggled not just academically but with managing the overall stress of the program. She put in a ton of effort, and ended up replaying.” Note: Replaying is when someone goes through a phase of the program over again because they weren’t absorbing as much of the material as needed. “Ultimately, she completed the program and went to work for Priceline, where she’s since been promoted.
Students often feel discouraged when they choose to replay a phase, but so many go on afterward to accomplish amazing things. Just because you weren’t successful the first time around does not mean this isn’t the industry for you or that you’re not a good engineer. You have unlimited potential, and all of us are always improving.”
Jackie Ore, Career Success Coach
“I always love seeing students who manage to have a smile on their face, even when they’re feeling overwhelmed. One student always came to office hours with a million questions, but she was always smiling through it all. She was super sharp. I recall she started off being very behind the curve but really thrived in the program; after graduation, she worked for a few big-name companies and has been at Facebook these last couple of years. A positive attitude and a willingness to ask for help when you need it can go a long, long way.”
Natalie Giuliano, Fullstack Academy Career Success Counselor
“One of our students came to the US from Venezuela and had to completely start over, from the ground up. I’m talking, this guy went from working in IT in his home country to bussing tables in NYC restaurants—all to support his family and two small children—before he discovered our Web Development Fellowship program and was accepted.” Note: Our Web Development Fellowship (WDF) program offers free tuition to underserved New Yorkers. Keep reading to learn more.
“After graduation, he went on to intern at—and ultimately get hired as an engineer with—Curb My Clutter. A reminder that truly anyone can change their life with the right amount of preparation and dedication—and progressive programs like the Web Development Fellowship.” Note: The City of New York has officially greenlighted WDF 2019, and we are excited to offer 40 tuition-free spots to lower-income New York City residents across our February, April, and June 2019 cohorts. See if you qualify or help us spread the word.
Omri Bernstein, Instructor
“I’ve got two, actually.
So a friend of mine from college applied to Fullstack twice and was rejected both times—but at the time, I didn’t even know he was interested or had applied. By chance, we ended up chatting and I encouraged him to apply just one last time—we give folks three chances at our admissions process—and really give it his all. He did, and he got in, and he liked his experience so much he went on to become a fellow. Reason #34535345 you should never give up—even when it feels like you’ve tried your hardest and there’s nothing else to give, sometimes all it takes is literally one more try.
Story number two involves another guy who came in with years and years of tech background—we’re talking pretty prestigious stuff here. He’d realized his programming skills were rusty and he thought that was holding him back from advancing in his career. I remember him as a really pleasant, friendly, smart, determined guy. I taught him in both junior and senior phases. He’s actually acting CTO right now at a small startup, which is incredible because he just graduated from Fullstack this year. Boning up on skills you lack is a great way to make sure you continue to grow in your tech career, no matter how much experience you have.”
Dan Sohval, Instructor
“I remember one student, a young mother, was commuting in from Long Island and having a pretty rocky time initially with her junior phase. It was really awesome when we hit senior phase to see that for Stackathon,” which is the only project students create totally on their own, “she built a VR basketball shooter that our students and staff loved so much, she won an award for that project. She also took the initiative to become quite involved in both the Fullstack student community and the greater NYC programming world. It was humbling to witness that level of growth in such a short period of time. Last I saw, she was working for The New York Times.”