What was Christine Pham's experience at App Academy?

By: The SwitchUp Team
Last Updated: April 10, 2019
Giveaway winner spotlight: Christine Pham, App Academy

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

Christine is a graduate of App Academy, who previously completed a computer science major at California Polytechnic State University. After graduation, Christine got her career started as a product manager, and later decided to take time away from work to pursue an exciting backpacking adventure. Once she returned, Christine reentered the workforce with a new goal; she wanted to build upon her love for problem solving and pursue software engineering as a career.

With help from App Academy, Christine is now employed as a software developer in the competitive San Francisco market. We sat down with Christine to learn more about her career change, what she loved about App Academy, and her new role as a software developer!

Tell me about your background. What was your educational experience before joining App Academy?

I was a computer science major before App Academy, but upon graduating, my early interests led me to a career in UX and product management. I was a product manager at a big SaaS company in the Bay Area for a few years before I decided to leave my job and go solo backpacking for 8 months! Upon coming back, I decided to pivot roles and pursue software engineering.

What made you decide to pursue a career in tech?

I was always keen in problem solving and building things. My parents are both in tech, so I had early exposure to the types of challenges they were facing, and I was extremely drawn to that.

Why did you decide to attend App Academy? What were your goals for the program?

App Academy was a great way to immerse myself with the newest technologies and to get hands-on experience building cool applications quickly and effectively. My goal for the program was to gain tip-top development skills and work with bright peers to get the experience needed to jumpstart a career back in the industry as a software engineer.

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

I liked App Academy's deferred payment plan option - it showed me that my success is their success. I also really enjoyed that pair programming was a big part of their curriculum - I was excited for the opportunity to practice communicating effectively and to learn from others simultaneously.

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


  • Surrounded by bright peers that motivate you constantly
  • Challenging and fast curriculum that pushes you and is very rewarding


  • Not enough time to dive deeper into topics you may have extra interest on
  • You can get burnt out

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

We usually start off with a lecture in the morning that reviews information that we learned the night prior in homework. That lecture is followed by a whole day's worth of pair programming on a project that reflects the material learned that day. I enjoyed the pairing part where we got to work with so many different minds and ways of thinking. It exposed us to learning how to absorb information in a myriad of ways, and to also communicate your own thoughts effectively.

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

It gave me the project experience and practical chops to know how to build applications with best practices.

What challenges did you overcome to get where you are?

It was a lot of late nights and studying hard - but it was enjoyable when you were around peers that were doing the same! Keeping up with each changing subject day to day was hard to juggle with studying for the weekly assessments. The balance was something I definitely had to work on.

Tell us about what's next. How do you plan to use your newfound skills as you build your career?

After about less than 2 months of job searching, I am now working as a software developer in San Francisco. I work on React in the front end, and am excited to continue honing these skills and become a frontend wizard! I want to continue building cool, beautiful things wherever I go.

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

A bootcamp is a lot of hard work and time investment, but if you set those expectations accurately in the beginning, your success is what you make of it! Keep your end goal in mind for motivation, and make sure you're discovering your own unique individual points of interests in software development as you go through a curriculum.

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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