Coding Dojo Spotlight Graduate: Ted WhangBy: The SwitchUp Team
MEET THE STUDENT
What did you do before the bootcamp?
Before attending Coding Dojo, I studied Psychology at the University of Washington and wanted to be a counselor. After college, I had jobs in the non-profit sector and was also a consultative salesman at a medical clinic.
Why did you make the switch into programming?
At my previous jobs, I loved the personal–side of the work and I enjoyed helping people, however my responsibilities were more ground level. I wanted something more. Instead, I wanted to be able to help people on a larger scale, where my efforts have further reach and can be scaled quickly and easily. Technology makes that possible, and learning web development at Coding Dojo made this aspiration a reality.
How did you choose and decide on a bootcamp?
I did a lot of research on coding bootcamps in the Seattle area. Although there were a handful of choices, Coding Dojo's philosophy of "strength through struggle" resonated with me the most. I didn't like how some bootcamps claimed that "coding is easy." It just didn't seem genuine. Especially since I've had some coding experience and know that's just not true.
How did you prepare for the bootcamp?
I took as many online courses as I could through codecademy.com, codeschool.com, and other programming tutorial platforms. I spent about 8 hours a day for 1.5 months prior to the start of the bootcamp.
What did you expect from a bootcamp and what surprised you?
I think I came into the bootcamp with all the right expectations. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, I knew I was going to struggle, and I knew I had to put other things in life on hold. But what really surprised me was the camaraderie that forms within your cohort. Although the programming industry itself is highly competitive, it was the opposite at Coding Dojo. There was an understanding that we're all in this together and that we aren't in competition with each other. We were there to support one another and to succeed together.
SURVIVING THE BOOTCAMP EXPERIENCE
What's the best advice you can give to a potential student?
Enjoy the process of becoming great. Taking breaks and relaxing will be encouraged at your coding bootcamp, but afterwards, be prepared to fully commit to the curriculum and dive in with both feet. It's healthy to have fun, but don't mess around.
If you could start over the experience, what would you do differently?
I would have done the bootcamp earlier. I always thought that I wasn't ready. But in reality, you're not ever truly ready: you're just ready enough.
Share a failure and success story about your experience.
It's kind of hard to differentiate the two. My stories of Coding Dojo all start with failing to understand a concept or assignment, followed by a successful triumph. From this experience, I believe embracing failure always brings you a step closer to reaching your goals. This is a key ingredient for a successful student and optimal coding bootcamp experience.
What was your favorite project that you worked on?
My favorite project was an application designed to be a circuit trainer app – circuits meaning exercise routines. You could brainstorm your own circuit program and execute your ideas all on the app. However, I didn't really get to finish everything that I wanted to because I got a job within one week of graduation (yay!).
GETTING THE JOB
How was the interviewing process? Any advice?
Learn to answer the "weed-out" questions. I found that many employers typically ask the same questions to get rid of people that don't understand the fundamentals. Once you pass that stage, it's important to demonstrate your ability to learn and be adaptable. As a new employee, you are not necessarily expected to know everything, but if you're coachable they will want you and value you.
What are you doing now?
I am a software engineer at Quve and currently developing an application where users receive accountability–coaching for behavior change from a real-life coach on the other end. The technologies I'm actively using are Ruby on Rails, Backbone, Marionette, and Mixpanel analytics.
What do you want to do five years from now?
It's hard to say but I do see myself working on more of the business side of technology as a project manager or an executive.
Ted is currently a software engineer for Quve and follow Dojo graduate. His two passions in life are fitness and technology. When he's not at work developing the next breakthrough fitness/coaching web application, you can find him at a yoga studio, swimming pool, or training for his next running event. If you have any specific questions about his journey to become a developer he can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his blog, where he actively chronicled his Coding Dojo experience.