What was Anna MacKenzie's experience at Juno College of Technology?

By: Taitum Ridgway
Last Updated: October 18, 2019

We're pleased to announce one of the winners of SwitchUp's gift card giveaway, Anna MacKenzie!

Anna enrolled at Juno (Formerly HackerYou) after reading an article about Founder and CEO Heather Payne in a newspaper article. After considering enrollement for a few weeks, encouragement from her brother pushed her to make the investment. With help from Juno, Anna is now a software developer working with JavaScript and building emerging interface experiences.

We sat down with Anna to learn more about her experience at Juno, her plans for the future, and her advice for students considering enrolling in a bootcamp!

Tell me about your background. What was your educational experience before joining Juno College of Technology (formerly HackerYou)?

I was working in advertising feeling very frustrated and stunted. You leave university with so much potential and so many ideas and often the first job you can get isn’t what you expected. The best way to explain what I was feeling is that - I was searching for something bigger.

What originally made you decide to pursue a career in tech?

I had always been good with technology and I had already been doing a lot of the maintenance work for my company’s site in collaboration with their developer. It always felt natural to me.

Why did you decide to attend Juno College of Technology? What were your goals for the program?

I came across an article about Heather (Founder & CEO) one day when I was having lunch. Normally I brought a book to read during lunch, and on that day I forgot my book so I grabbed the newspaper. I read the article and was so jealous of the people who got to attend this bootcamp. I talked about it non stop for weeks until my brother finally convinced me to apply. So I drained my savings, moved back to Toronto and gave it a shot. The whole process happened in 11 days. A lot of people told me it was a mistake, keep in mind that this was before the rise of bootcamps because I made this decision in 2014.

There are an increasing number of available bootcamps. Why did you decide to choose this program over others?

I was mostly impressed by their focus on preparing women for a career in tech. I did research and saw that Heather was a founder of Ladies Learning Code (now Canada Learning Code) and it felt right to me. I identify as a feminist and HackerYou felt like a place that aligned with my values.

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


  • HackerYou felt like I was putting my future in my own hands again. It felt like the possibilities were endless.
  • I met incredible people who are still my close friends today
  • I changed my entire life and the trajectory of my future.
  • I was challenged in the way where you get pushed to the edge of your comfort zone, but that is where the growth happens!

Cons:It’s a lot of work and it’s a big time commitment.

Tell me a little bit about the course structure. What did you like best about the environment and teaching style?

The course built on itself. Every week things got more complicated. We started with fundamentals, and eventually got to a place where we could understand how to debug when something went wrong. My instructor was Wes Bos, and he was an absolutely AMAZING teacher.

How did this program prepare you for a career in tech?

It taught me the base line skills necessary to solve problems myself, as well as how to think about the problems correctly.

What challenges did you overcome to get where you are?

When I got my first job I would go to networking events and everyone thought I was someone’s assistant. At one event in happened 5 times in a row. I also get a lot of ‘oh you don’t look like a developer’ comments.

Tell us about what’s next. How do you plan to use the skills that Juno taught you as you continue to build your career?

I wouldn’t be able to do what I do today without the foundational knowledge and confidence that I established at HY/Juno. It is truly such a special and supportive place. Right now I am working with JavaScript and building emerging interface experiences.

What advice do you have for people who are interested in attending a bootcamp?

Go with your gut. If you have a feeling that this is the path for you then I encourage you to follow through regardless of what people say. It will open doors for you in ways you cannot anticipate. Don’t let the fear of the unknown hold you back.

Are you a bootcamp student or alum? You could be our next giveaway winner! Write a review of your program, and you'll be entered to win an Amazon gift card.

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