Codesmith Alumni Spotlights

By The SwitchUp Team | Updated 11/22/2023

Learn about the Codesmith experience through alumni's own words in our new Alumni Spotlight series. Alumni highlight what they learned, why they felt Codesmith was worth it, and how they have improved their careers since graduation. 

Note: The interviews below have been edited for grammar and clarity and are individual contributions. They do not reflect the views of SwitchUp or Codesmith.

Learn more about Codesmith bootcamps and why it may be right for you. 

Jacob Cole

Current Role: Solutions Engineer

Program Focus: Full Stack Software Engineering

Program Format: Part-Time Remote Immersive (PTRI)

Program Environment: Online

Graduated: March 2023

What Made You Decide To Pursue a Bootcamp?

I had an early interest in the internet and web development in the late nineties and early 2000s. After self-teaching HTML, CSS, and eventually the LAMP stack and open-source technologies, I spent several years developing websites and basic web applications professionally. However, my graduate school focus was already set on my other career passion in education.

After 13 rewarding years in education as a teacher and administrator, I decided that I would always regret it if I didn’t pursue a career in software. I tried online courses and self-study again, but my progress was slow. I realized I don’t know what I don’t know, and I needed the structure of a bootcamp in order to succeed.

What Made You Choose Codesmith?

After about a month of research, I felt like Codesmith kept showing up at the top of lists again and again. Reviews and Reddit posts spoke about the amazing support of the staff and fellow students. Additionally, Codesmith’s outcomes spoke for themselves. I felt like any bootcamp was going to be a challenge, but if I could push myself just that much harder to achieve what sounded like the best possible outcome, I felt like there wasn’t any other choice at that point. 

I also appreciated the community that Codesmith has fostered. Before I ever applied, I had the chance to attend free workshops and saw strangers offering incredible support in the community Slack. Getting a chance to “preview” the part-time immersive by completing CS Prep sealed the deal.

What Was Your Experience Like?

Going into the program, I was seeking a career change. However, because I was already 13 years into a career in education, I didn’t just want a lateral move. I wanted the opportunity to take a significant step forward in my career as I transitioned to tech (i.e., more responsibilities and better compensation). I’m happy to say that I’ve surpassed the goals I originally set for myself, and Codesmith was absolutely instrumental in doing that.

That said, the program was definitely challenging. There were times when I knew I was struggling with onboarding new technologies. However, the instructors, fellows, and my cohort mates were so supportive. I was always able to ask questions and get additional support. Codesmith has great student support structures, but they’re also very intentional in the way they build community, so we all depended on each other.

The approach was always very hands-on, and the nature of the part-time program gave me some extra reflection time to digest new concepts. The evening and Saturday schedule meant I was also able to remain employed, which took a lot of the pressure off completing the program and finding my next role. 

As with anything, there were definitely moments of doubt during the process, but I never doubted the people supporting me, and again, the results speak for themselves.

How Did Codesmith Prepare You for a Career?

I feel like Codesmith definitely exposed me to the most-used web technologies in the industry. And while no program can possibly cover everything, students have the opportunity to go beyond the curriculum during the last phase of the program. If you’re interested in the latest frontend framework or DevOps or any combination between, you have a chance to do a deep technical dive and build something impressive.

Codesmith’s career support was extremely helpful both during the program and after graduation. I learned how to speak about my technical experiences before the program, as well as the work I completed during the program, and I learned how to reflect that experience on my resume and LinkedIn.

What Did You Enjoy About Your Experience at Codesmith?

During my time at Codesmith, I enjoyed the opportunity to build some products that I’m proud to talk about with employers and fellow engineers – things I couldn’t have imagined I would be able to do when I started the program. More than anything, though, I enjoyed the people and the community. Codesmith is intentional at every step of the process of bringing in empathetic human beings who share a common goal. 

Would You Recommend Codesmith to Others?

I would absolutely recommend Codesmith to others – especially the part-time program if that makes sense for your life. You have the flexibility to work harder and go deeper on each tech if you want, but the program is also designed in such a way that you can be successful with minimal time outside of class if that’s what your personal situation or learning preferences require. Yes, the outcomes are amazing, but you’ll also be going through this experience with some of the most amazing people you’ll ever get to meet.

What Advice Do You Have for Others Who Are Considering a Bootcamp?

I know “big tech” has been in an uncertain place over the past year, and that may be scary to some, but contrary to the naysayers, I think it’s a great time to consider a bootcamp. Don’t think about now, think about 6-12 months down the line when you’ve completed the program and are applying for jobs. During that time, companies are going to grow, and their software and tech needs are going to grow. More startups are launching and expanding every day. Don’t wait for the next “boom” to jump on the bandwagon with everyone else. Get a headstart now while the market is recovering, and whether it’s a few months or a year from now, you’ll be ahead of everyone else. Don’t put yourself in the position to say, “I wish I started a year ago.”

Just do your homework. Read reviews. Find the right program for you and put in the prep work to make sure you’re ready. You can do it!

Parker Steinberg

Current Role: Software Engineer

Program Focus: Full-Stack Software Development (Web)

Program Format: Full time

Program Environment: Online

Graduated: October 20222

What Made You Decide To Pursue a Bootcamp?

Prior to deciding to enroll in Codesmith, I had worked in the tech space for a couple of years in data analytics and product. I wrote some code in my day-to-day work, but only to run analyses and automate tasks. In that role, I worked closely with our software developers on some exciting projects where I began to write more code and ultimately realized that I love the creative process of building things by way of programming. That convinced me to quit my job and pursue a bootcamp.

What Made You Choose Codesmith?

I evaluated a lot of bootcamps and Codesmith stood out to me for a few reasons. When talking to a mentor who worked in product, he mentioned that all the best bootcamp-educated software engineers that he worked with had enrolled in Codesmith. After attending some free workshops, I realized that Codesmith sets itself apart by teaching programming concepts from the ground up, starting with the basics. Other bootcamps felt like they were teaching you solely for the purpose of spinning up a functioning web application, without the same attention to detail for the fundamentals. This impressed me and I knew it would pay dividends when I started working as an engineer. After talking to people who did different bootcamps, I found not only did Codesmith have great results, but it also had overwhelmingly positive first-hand reviews.

What Was Your Experience Like?

Codesmith definitely met my goals and exceeded them in most categories. Above all else, it taught me a crucial skill for software engineering — getting comfortable with the unknown and efficiently picking up/learning new technologies. Most instructors overall met my expectations but did not exceed them, while a few certainly exceeded my expectations. I feel fortunate that we got what felt like real-world experiences working on our capstone project, and diving into issues that experienced developers face as part of our capstone was a great way to get solid real-world experience. 

Classes felt appropriately sized. Students are given exercises and assignments that are above their current level of understanding, which may be difficult, but with no difficulty comes no growth. By the same token, assignments weren’t so difficult as to be unachievable, but they definitely presented a significant challenge to work through. I prefer this over doing easy exercises, which can feel good but lack growth.

Overall, the culture at Codesmith is fantastic. It’s a culture of constant support and openness. Although your schedule is jam-packed, the team makes sure to layer in fun and bonding to ensure you feel connected to the people you’re spending so much time with. My classmates had a range of personalities. The commonality between all of us was our willingness to support one another and desire to learn and better ourselves. Overall, I’m very satisfied with my bootcamp experience.

How Did Codesmith Prepare You for a Career?

The knowledge I obtained in the program was relevant to my current role, although the work I did after the bootcamp was also necessary, as there’s only so much you can learn in three months. Codesmith provides fantastic career services — it’s perhaps the best part of the program. 

One thing that Codesmith really emphasizes is technical communication — this has helped me greatly in my career as a software developer so far, and has put me above other developers with less polished technical communication skills. 

I found a job within about six months of graduating. For the first couple of months after graduating, I wasn’t able to dedicate time to the job search. But once I began my search in earnest, I found a job within four months. For me, Codesmith was certainly worth the cost. 

What Did You Enjoy About Your Experience at Codesmith?

Out of the many things about Codesmith that I enjoyed, the ones that stand out the most are the camaraderie and support that Codesmith offers its students. The structure of the program was well thought out and organized, the projects were relevant, and the career support — especially after graduation — was outstanding. Its emphasis on building extremely strong JavaScript foundations has benefited me greatly in my work so far.

Would You Recommend Codesmith to Others?

Yes — I would highly recommend it to others who are interested in getting a great education in full-stack web development, due to all the reasons stated above. 

What Advice Do You Have for Others Who Are Considering a Bootcamp?

My advice would be to think about what you want to get out of a bootcamp. If you’re on the fence, talk to some people who have graduated from different bootcamps to get their firsthand experiences. Bootcamps are not easy and they’re not for everyone, so take the time to think through if this is really the field you want to be in. Once you’ve decided that it’s for you, put as much effort as you can into 1) finding a bootcamp that’s the right fit and 2) giving it the bootcamp you choose your all so you can take advantage of it, because it flies by. For me and many others, I firmly believe Codesmith is the best bootcamp option out there.

Serena Romano

Current Role: Junior Full-Stack Developer

Program Focus: Software Engineer

Program Format: Full-time

Program Environment: Online

Graduated: August 2023

What Made You Decide To Pursue a Bootcamp?

The decision to pursue a bootcamp stemmed from a significant shift in my career aspirations. Having initially delved into the medical field and worked as a clinical research assistant during college with the intention of applying to medical school, I found myself gradually losing my passion for the field. It was during this period of self-reflection that I rediscovered my passion for programming. Recognizing the dynamic and rapidly evolving nature of the tech industry, I decided to pivot my career path and enroll in a bootcamp to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in the world of programming.

What Made You Choose Codesmith?

I chose Codesmith for its exceptional commitment to student success, exemplified by the outstanding outcomes highlighted in its Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR) reports. The transparency and accuracy in detailing post-graduate employment data reassured me of the bootcamp's effectiveness in preparing students for real-world success. Moreover, what truly stood out was the remarkably supportive community within Codesmith.

The commitment to student success was evident not only through the rigorous curriculum but also through the extensive support network. Instructors, fellows, senior residents, and even alumni actively contributed to a collaborative and encouraging learning environment. The accessibility of instructors, the valuable insights from fellows and senior residents, and the camaraderie among classmates created a robust support system that went beyond the classroom. This inclusive and supportive culture, extending even to the broader alumni community, convinced me that Codesmith was the right choice for a comprehensive and impactful bootcamp experience.

What Was Your Experience Like?

My primary goal upon entering Codesmith was to secure a software engineer role, and I'm thrilled to say that I achieved that objective. Codesmith not only met but exceeded my expectations, particularly in terms of the quality of instruction and the depth of the curriculum. The instructors were highly knowledgeable and approachable and consistently went above and beyond to ensure that the material was not only understood but applied in practical scenarios.

One aspect of the program that significantly enriched my learning experience was the opportunity to work on an open-source project with a collaborative engineering team. This real-world experience was invaluable, providing insights into the challenges and collaborative nature of software development. It not only honed my technical skills but also equipped me with a profound understanding of the industry's collaborative dynamics.

The class size of 36 people struck a good balance between fostering a sense of community and allowing for personalized attention when needed. The environment and culture were incredibly supportive, creating an atmosphere where everyone felt comfortable asking questions and seeking help. The diversity among my classmates, both in terms of backgrounds and experiences, added a unique dimension to the learning environment, fostering a rich exchange of ideas and perspectives.

Undoubtedly, the classes and assignments were challenging, pushing me to stretch my capabilities and delve deep into complex concepts. However, the difficulty of the program was a testament to its rigor and the high standards set by Codesmith. Overall, I am extremely satisfied with my bootcamp experience. It not only equipped me with the technical skills needed for a successful career in software engineering but also provided a supportive community and real-world experience that set the foundation for my professional journey.

How Did Codesmith Prepare You for a Career?

Codesmith played a pivotal role in preparing me for a career in software engineering. The knowledge acquired during the program was highly applicable to the roles I pursued. The curriculum, with its emphasis on problem-solving, collaborative coding, and real-world projects, equipped me with the practical skills needed in the industry. The program's focus on JavaScript, React, and Node.js, among other technologies, aligned well with the demands of the job market, ensuring that I was well-prepared for the challenges of a software engineering role.

In addition to the technical skills, Codesmith provided invaluable career services that significantly contributed to my job search success. The career advice and guidance I received during the program were instrumental in navigating the job market effectively. The post-graduation career services, including resume reviews and interview coaching, continued to support me as I transitioned into the professional sphere.

Although I haven't officially started my job yet, securing a position just two months after completing Codesmith is a testament to the effectiveness of the program in preparing students for the workforce. I found the program to be worth the cost, considering the comprehensive curriculum, strong support system, and positive impact on my career trajectory. Overall, Codesmith has proven to be a valuable investment in my professional development.

What Did You Enjoy About Your Experience at Codesmith?

What I enjoyed most about my experience at Codesmith was the immersive and collaborative learning environment. The program went beyond just teaching programming languages; it focused on fostering problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and a deep understanding of software engineering concepts. The instructors were not only knowledgeable but also genuinely invested in the success of each student, providing personalized guidance and support. The emphasis on working on real-world projects, including the opportunity to contribute to open-source products, allowed me to apply theoretical knowledge to practical scenarios, enhancing my skills and preparing me for the challenges of a professional environment. The sense of community within the cohort was remarkable, creating a supportive network of diverse individuals with a shared passion for technology. Overall, Codesmith provided not just a technical education but a transformative experience that prepared me for a successful career in software engineering.

Would You Recommend Codesmith to Others?

Absolutely, I wholeheartedly recommend Codesmith to others seeking a comprehensive and challenging bootcamp experience. The program's rigorous curriculum, coupled with the exceptional quality of instruction and the opportunity to work on real-world projects, not only prepared me for a successful transition into a software engineering role but also fostered a supportive and collaborative learning environment. The diverse cohort and the emphasis on problem-solving and critical thinking skills further enriched my experience. If you're looking for a bootcamp that goes beyond just teaching coding skills and provides a holistic preparation for a career in software engineering, Codesmith is an excellent choice.

What Advice Do You Have for Others Who Are Considering a Bootcamp?

My advice to those considering a bootcamp is to approach it with a mindset of dedication, resilience, and active engagement. Be prepared to immerse yourself fully in the learning process, as bootcamps are intensive and require commitment. Take advantage of the resources and support provided by the program, including interactions with instructors and fellow students. 

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