What was Ian Izaguirre's experience at Ironhack?

By: The SwitchUp Team
Last Updated: January 24, 2018

Alumni Spotlight: Fall Giveaway Winner Ian Izaguirre


Ian Izaguirre is a recent Ironhack graduate who was just admitted into StartUP FIU's accelerator program to help develop innovation and entrepreneurship for the future. His background includes graduating Cum Laude from Miami Dade College with an Associate of Arts degree and Cum Laude from FIU Honors College with a Bachelors in Liberal Studies and Minor in Biology. Read more about his journey below!

1. What were you up to before you attended Ironhack? Tell us a bit about where you worked before, and what challenges you've overcome to get to where you are.

While starting Miami Dade College, I attended and graduated ABC Bartending School. Throughout College, I had my own Freelance bartending business, where I bartended, and managed teams for large events.

Before starting Ironhack, I had just graduated Florida International University (FIU) and I was studying for my dental entrance exam.

After graduating FIU, it was challenging to choose a completely different career path from dentistry, but now I am glad I took that risk.

2. How did you get started in programming? What made you decide to pursue coding as a career?

Throughout College my plan was to attend Dental School. During that period, I wanted to get a head start on building my online identity. I took a few online courses and learned about WordPress, design, some programming & SEO. This led me to create my own dental blog, IAmDentistry.com, where I wrote dental articles on popularly searched questions and answered blog comments. IAmDentistry.com, was the first online project that introduced me to the world of web development. Upon graduating FIU, I decided to pursue programming full time.

3. There are quite a few bootcamps to choose from in Florida - what made you decide to attend Ironhack?

While I was attending FIU, I saw a flyer advertising Ironhack. Wanting to be a dentist, but still having an interest in programming, made it difficult for me to find time to study programming. Initially, I saw Ironhack as a potential solution to help improve my abilities. I applied and passed their first round of interviews, but had to stop when I realized my class schedule would not have allotted enough time to attend their program full-time.

Despite not being able to attend at the time, I told my older brother, Anthony Marin, all about it. He was really interested and decided to apply and see what all of my excitement was about. At the time, he was studying for his law school entrance exam but decided to put that on hold and attend Ironhack full time. He graduated, and within 6 months he received an offer for a front-end developer position. He loves his job and recently came back from spending 3 months at the Techstars accelerator in Berlin, Germany.

Seeing my brother succeed as a developer after attending Ironhack, without having any previous programming experience, impressed me. It really solidified my choice to apply to Ironhack again when I decided to pursue programming as a career.

4. What were your goals for the program, and do you feel like you accomplished them?

My expectation for this program was to accelerate my learning process and help me understand how to properly approach learning new programming concepts on my own. I definitely feel Ironhack accomplished that. My instructor, Nizar, was always available to answer any programming questions. He was an amazing teacher!

5. For you, what were the pros and cons of attending a bootcamp?

Before attending Ironhack, I was self-studying with online tutorials. As a beginner using online tutorials, it was cumbersome to ask questions on online forums. It was always a downside not knowing if the person answering was providing a correct response. A pro-of attending a bootcamp was definitely having knowledgeable instructors, like Nizar, available at all times. It really accelerated my learning process and gave me confidence that the knowledge I was building upon came from a reliable source.

A con bootcamps might have, is having a large class size. At Ironhack the class size was kept small, so instructors were able to provide each individual student with the proper amount of attention throughout the fast-paced program. That is an important factor I recommend other students to consider when picking a bootcamp.

6. Tell us a bit about your experience and the day-to-day during the course:

a. How were courses structured?

The course is split into 3 modules. Module 1 focused on front-end web development. We learned HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Module 2 focused on the back-end, MEAN stack. We learned MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, and Node.js. Module 3 focused on Angular 2. We learned about Angular 2 and how to create an API with Node.js. In between each module, we would have 1-2 weeks to construct a project and apply the concepts we had learned that previous week.

b. What was your cohort like?

My cohort was filled with great people. As the weeks went by, we had plenty of paired programming exercises. This gave everyone an opportunity to work with one another and become friends. At the end of a typical day of class, you would find everyone socializing in the outside patio or kitchen area. Everyone became friends.

c. What was an average day in the program like?

A typical day:

  • 9 am -- we had morning coffee, with a review of yesterday's exercises.
  • 9:30 am -- we would have our first lecture
  • 11:30 am -- we would work on a paired programming exercise
  • 1pm -- Lunch
  • 2 pm -- we would have a second lecture
  • 4 pm -- we would work on an assigned individual project.
  • 6 pm -- we would all hang out, network, attend events, and help each other out!

7. What was most helpful about the environment and teaching style at Ironhack?

The atmosphere Ironhack has created is very inviting. Their approach consists of hands-on-assistance with a friendly teaching style.

8. You graduated from Ironhack only last month. Can you tell us a little bit about what you have been doing since then, or what you're working on now?

Since I graduated Ironhack, I have been preparing for technical interviews. I have been reviewing JavaScript foundations on frontendmasters.com, practicing interview questions related to "soft skills", improving my portfolio site, and I have started learning Electron.io. I was also recently accepted into the StartUP FIU accelerator program, which I am currently getting ready for. StartUP FIU is a comprehensive 14-week program to develop scalable traditional and social entrepreneurship ventures.

9. Did you feel your bootcamp prepare you for the job search, and if so, how?

Yes, Ironhack prepared me for the job search. Ironhack has an incredible placements manager, Daniel Brito, who provides students with the necessary resources needed to be successful in the job search. He also provided us with valuable interview prep and has even given us continued support after graduation. Because of this effective process, I am currently in the final interview rounds for two companies this week!

10. Any advice for recent bootcamp grads looking for a job?

Start working on projects that use the same skills you have learned at your bootcamp. Working on a new project prevents you from forgetting everything you just recently learned. It also helps you stay active on GitHub, and allows you to have something new to speak about during your technical interviews.

To connect with Ian visit his Website, GitHub, Linkedin, or Devpost.

Have you also attended a bootcamp? Complete a review of your program here before March 31st to be entered to win either a $500 Amazon Gift Card or one of five $100 Gift Cards.

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