The Tech Academy Alumni Spotlights

By The SwitchUp Team | Updated 11/22/2023

Our alumni spotlight series gives students a chance to share their experiences at bootcamps. Read on to learn more about why students chose The Tech Academy, why they enjoyed their time in the bootcamp, and how they've fared 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 The Tech Academy.

Learn more about The Tech Academy bootcamps and their breadth of coding programs. 

Viktoriya Furlow

Current Role: Frontend Flutter Developer and Figma Designer

Bootcamp: The Tech Academy (TTA) C# and .Net course

Program Focus: Coding

Program Format: Full-time

Program Environment: Online

Graduated: June 2023

What Made You Decide To Pursue a Bootcamp?

While working in the 3D printing industry, I realized there was so much more I wanted to do and creative ideas I wanted to implement that I lacked the skills for. Additionally, I wanted to be able to better provide for my family and plan for the future, which didn’t feel attainable. I started teaching myself coding and circuit boarding but hit a wall when it came to understanding what I needed to know. A few close friends had recently found success through bootcamps, and after months of research, I finally pulled the trigger and went for it. Best decision ever. 

What Made You Choose the Tech Academy?

I put months of research into finding the right bootcamp for me. I reached out to The Tech Academy’s staff and alumni to find out more about their experience during bootcamp and afterward. Cost was a major consideration as well, knowing I would be going full time with little to no income for half a year. Another factor was choosing the right language and platform that would give me attractive skills within the industry. TTA’s C# and .NET bootcamp matched the sought-after skills many local companies were hiring for, and I knew that if I learned the fundamentals, I would be able to apply them just about anywhere.

What Was Your Experience Like?

First off, it helped to have positive pressure to keep me motivated, and it helped that I was having a good bit of enjoyment learning throughout the course. I wanted so badly to do well and make programming a career while also acquiring a job that let me do what I loved while providing for my family. Overall, I had a very good experience with my bootcamp.

I loved the organized curriculum and the constant communication required between myself and the instructors and staff. I always felt like they had my back, celebrated my wins, gave great feedback, and wanted me to succeed. I was impressed by TTA’s focus on wanting their students to come away successful and prepared for practical work in the field. The course did a great job of reiterating points on both soft and hard skills that would be required in the industry. 
I did struggle with the format not being a perfect match to my learning style but was able to push through and figure out accommodations and resources that allowed me to learn and grow rapidly. During my time in TTA’s bootcamp, I grew immensely not only in my software skills but as a person as well. I learned so much about myself and what I could push myself to achieve, as well as learning what my limitations and weaknesses were and how to work through them. I put literal sweat and tears in to make it to the end of the bootcamp, and I am so proud that I finished this course, as it was one of the hardest things I’ve attempted. Some of the most fun I had was during the Live Project internship, where I got to put everything I’d learned and more into action. Thanks to this real-world experience, I knew I was going to love programming for a living and felt more confident than ever about my choice to dive into it. 

Another thing The Tech Academy did well was to do as much as they could to prepare students mentally for hardship and general struggles and frustrations. This came in many forms, but the most impactful for me was focusing on positive thinking and recognizing imposter syndrome. I’d been very fortunate to have never experienced imposter syndrome before, so when it hit, it hit hard and was almost debilitating at times. Being able to put a name to it thanks to my course — and being given ways to combat it — was invaluable to me and was a key factor in my success.

My goal was simple — finish on time, retain as much as possible, and get hired doing something meaningful. I was able to crush that goal and exceed my own expectations. 

How Did the Tech Academy Prepare You for a Career?

Fundamentals! TTA is all about getting students to learn the fundamentals of coding and never stop pursuing the vast amount of continual education required for this field. I graduated as a full stack engineer in C# and .NET. Thanks to gaining a great tool kit of baseline skills, I was able to confidently apply for a mix of different jobs within the tech industry. TTA did a great job mentally preparing me for the hard work that goes into job searching. It was still soul crushing to be rejected literally hundreds of times, but it paid off when the job offers started coming in after a month of constant searching. I was hired outside of my stack for iOS development and was able to learn the languages and skills required of my job in a matter of weeks, thanks to the level of difficulty in the course I had completed and the fundamentals it provided. TTA is well worth the cost whether you want to level up your skills or pursue a new career.

What Did You Enjoy About Your Experience at the Tech Academy?

I loved the incredible amount I was able to learn in such a small time frame. It was so empowering to look back week to week and see how much I was growing and to know that I was making that happen for myself. I enjoyed that I always had support from staff throughout the entire process and could get timely answers for questions and blockers.

Would You Recommend the Tech Academy to Others?

I would absolutely recommend TTA to anyone that has the time to put forth the effort and sacrifice required to make it through a full time online course. The cost and time are well worth it if you stick with the work and never give up!

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

Have people that support you and what you’re trying to achieve, and surround yourself with them. Having a robust support network and a few mentors will have a huge impact on your success. Also, do your research! One size does not fit all. Just because a bootcamp worked out for one person does not mean it will be the best fit for you. Give yourself a timeframe for the research you do to avoid getting stuck in analysis paralysis.

Serengeti Jade Abreu

Current Role: Full-Stack Software Engineer

Program Focus: Software Developer Boot Camp & Cyber Security Boot Camp

Program Format: Part-time

Program Environment: Online

Graduated: May 2023

What Made You Decide To Pursue a Bootcamp?

I switched careers. I have a Bachelor's in Finance from Bentley University, which was a great experience, but 18-year-old me didn't know much about life choices, and it turned out that career wasn't for me. I traveled the world for a decade to find what was for me, and the answer, surprisingly, was coding: I love solving puzzles, learning, building things, tinkering, and finding solutions for people. But I knew absolutely nothing about computers. I joked that I could barely use my phone. A bootcamp, especially one that builds from the fundamentals – like the Tech Academy – was the perfect solution. 

A bootcamp offered a very targeted curriculum without the 'general education' material of a traditional degree. It was both faster to obtain and far less expensive than a traditional degree. My choice was between attempting the self-taught route or a bootcamp. I didn't know what I didn't know – so I decided to pay for the curated curriculum. And it was a great decision. It gave me exposure to the basics while keeping me from getting overwhelmed or falling into a 'rabbit hole' on one subject. 

What Made You Choose The Tech Academy?

I spent over three months researching and interviewing bootcamps. I took free online classes about coding, data science, math, and more. I figured out how I learn best and which bootcamp aligned with my needs. In general, I ask a LOT of questions, so I needed access to human resources. I also wanted a program that gave me exposure to a range of languages and topics, so I had time to figure out which I preferred.

The Tech Academy's curriculum covered the basics of computing (how they physically work), design patterns such as MVC, and advanced languages. All of their material was available online as pre-written or prerecorded content. That gave me the flexibility to work my full-time job and study in my free time without missing anything and at my own pace! I was only about an hour away from the Portland campus, so I could have visited if I'd wanted to. But I never once had to go in because of what set TTA far above other schools: easy access to instructors. I was able to call in any time and chat with a real, live, human instructor as much as I needed. There were no limits! I called almost every day. They were so helpful and friendly, and I'll admit that I miss chatting with them. I finished with dozens of projects in my portfolio and experience with C#, Python, Java Script, and more. I highly recommend TTA. 

What Was Your Experience Like?

Would I do it again, knowing what I know now? Yes, absolutely. 

The Tech Academy was different. The experience felt personal. The instructors always went above and beyond. It was like having a staff of private tutors – they didn't hold your hand and challenged you to research solutions before calling in, but when you were really stuck, they gave you as much time as you needed. 

The material was online and self-paced. It was perfect for my busy schedule – I could not have attended regular classes while working my full-time job. The only set commitments were the live projects. For each, you got practical experience contributing new features to an existing project as part of a team. This came in handy for me: the daily standups proved to be exactly like what I do now, and most jobs involve working on existing projects. TTA's live projects were a challenge, but they were also where I learned the most. 

How Did The Tech Academy Prepare You for a Career?

The Tech Academy offers career services for a set amount of time. But they did such a great job that I only needed part of my allotment. The most helpful was the live interview prep: you could schedule a call with your advisor, and they would walk you through a practice interview. I used it as a way to polish my answers to common questions, but also as a way to keep myself accountable in the job search process. 

What Did You Enjoy About Your Experience at The Tech Academy?

The material was fascinating and relevant. The projects were challenging and useful. But the human element was the best. The instructors were lovely people. I genuinely enjoyed talking with and learning from them. 

Would You Recommend The Tech Academy to Others?

The only thing you can get from a bootcamp that you cannot find for free on the internet is the human element. Without The Tech Academy, I could not have covered the same amount of material as comprehensively and efficiently. The one-on-one service at TTA was what I enjoyed most and what set me up for success. Having someone to hop on a call with, share your screen, and do some live debugging helped me learn the material and saved me hours of searching through material online. 

I highly recommend The Tech Academy. Their curriculum kept me focused on relevant material, gave me real practice and skills, provided excellent customer service, and helped me land a job. 

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

A bootcamp is a big investment. Like everything, you get out of it what you put into it. 

Phil Hamilton

Current Role: Software Developer

Bootcamp: The Tech Academy C# and .NET bootcamp

Program Focus: Coding

Program Format: Part-time

Program Environment: Online

Graduated: February 2023

What Made You Decide To Pursue a Bootcamp?

I didn’t have time to pursue a traditional degree since I was already working full time. Taking classes part time would have been more expensive and could have taken me years to finish. I wanted to be able to transition to full-time development as soon as possible. A bootcamp made sense because the timeframe was condensed, and I would have a good portfolio to show my employer at the end of only a few months.

What Made You Choose The Tech Academy?

I looked up The Tech Academy on the recommendation of a friend. It seemed like a good fit for me for a number of reasons. Their prices were reasonable – somewhat on the lower end of the spectrum when I was doing my research. Their course offerings cover a lot of different areas and languages, but the C# and .NET course was the perfect fit for me since I knew that I would be working in that realm after the bootcamp. The curriculum was all online except for a live collaborative project toward the end of the program, so I was able to go at my own pace, which was a huge benefit as well.

What Was Your Experience Like?

My experience overall was very positive. I came to the program with a good deal of prior technical experience but no formal education. So my goal was to have a certificate and a portfolio at the end of the bootcamp that could get me in the door for an interview. No matter what your education is, most jobs will require training in their specific systems that you can only acquire on the job anyway, so I figured as long as I keep learning and improving, I would be able to do well in any situation.

The bootcamp itself was structured well; it did a great job of keeping me accountable, which was something that was important to me at the outset. I have a tendency to start things and then never finish them, but the daily and weekly check-ins that are built into the curriculum helped keep me on track. The instructors were quick to reply to any questions and comment on assignments, so I felt like there was a great deal of support from the staff, which also helped with my motivation.

I did get to work collaboratively on a live project at the end of the bootcamp, which very closely simulated working in an agile environment. I think this is incredibly valuable for anyone who has not had the opportunity to be on an agile team before.

How Did The Tech Academy Prepare You for a Career?

The Tech Academy bootcamps have a focus on building a solid foundation of technical understanding before jumping into code too quickly. I feel like this was super helpful as there were many things about technology and computers that I had not had a chance to learn before.

I did not end up needing any help finding a job after graduation, but The Tech Academy does offer career services for graduates, helping them find and get placed in jobs in the field. As I understand it, their placement rate is rather high, which was another point in their favor when I was initially looking for a bootcamp.

I can say with full confidence that without this bootcamp, I would not be where I am today career-wise. Going through this process has made it possible for me to transition into a full-time software developer role, and that, in turn, has allowed me to gain technical skills that I could now take anywhere if I so choose.

The cost for a bootcamp like this is somewhat daunting. But like I mentioned earlier, I found The Tech Academy’s pricing to be quite a bit more reasonable than some other programs I looked at! Personally, I found their content to be top-notch, easy to listen to and understand, and the staff was incredibly helpful and quick to respond whenever I had questions or issues. As far as pure finances go, I am confident that this course will pay for itself many times over in the years to come.

I didn’t have any trouble finding a job, but I had always planned to transition roles within my current company, so I can’t speak to the process of finding a new job.

What Did You Enjoy About Your Experience at The Tech Academy?

I think the best thing about The Tech Academy bootcamp experience for me was the support of the staff. I always felt like there was someone checking in on me or encouraging me. From the admissions office to the instructors to the live project leader, everyone was helpful and friendly. I never felt like I was left in the dark about anything, and if I had questions or needed clarification about anything, I was able to get the help I needed right away.

Would You Recommend The Tech Academy to Others?

Absolutely. I think this might be one of the best options out there for someone looking for a professional certification without having to stop working and go back to school for a few years.

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

Get started with some free resources first to see if you enjoy the field at all. I know The Tech Academy offers some free introductory classes, but there are thousands more online resources that can help you get started. Then, make sure you have a really clear picture of what your goal is before going any further. The worst thing you can do for your career is take a whole bootcamp and then realize at the end of it that you don’t like the work and you’ve wasted your time.

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