In the midst of a school: Q&A with Jim, a Tech Elevator studentBy: The SwitchUp Team
Hey, Jim! We know as a student you're super busy; but we appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions!
Here's the first one: How did you decide to make the switch into software?
It was hardly a decision. I was managing a high-volume bar and restaurant and looking for a change. Software development was always a field I wanted to be a part of, and as soon as the opportunity presented itself, I immediately jumped on board.
What shocked you when you first attended your schools?
My first shock came when I walked in on my first day and noticed that I was one of only six students. I had been told that class sizes were going to be small to ensure that everyone receives the attention and personalized coaching needed to succeed, but I did not realize how intimate the setting would be.
The second big shock came that very same day when the Pathway Program was explained to us. I was taken back by how comprehensive the plan was to prepare us for the software development market place and guide us into understanding our ideal fit in choosing career paths.
These unexpected measures came as a pleasant surprise and exhibited how dedicated Tech Elevator is to their students' success in learning the hard skills required to prosper while reinforcing the soft skills required for finding their way into a satisfying career.
Now that you're in the middle of the program, what are you looking forward to in the second half?
Now that I have (what I feel like is) a good understanding of the concepts, principles and mechanics of the language, I'm very excited to learn new ways to implement these techniques and see how they all work together. It's exciting going from exercise to new exercise, building programs that are more complex and closer resemble the programs that I use every day.
What type of prep work do you recommend prospective students complete before applying to schools?
The internet has a wealth of resources for learning just about anything, especially computer science. Finding a "Hello World!" tutorial on YouTube would be a great start, then I would access Coding Bat to experiment with techniques in string manipulation.
There are many great video tutorials that can help to give a layman, at the very least, a taste of the language and get him thinking like a programmer.
Another bit of advice I recommend, is that they do their career research, and find a specialized field and industry that they think would be right for them.
Words of advice for people in your age group who are considering a switch?
I'd let them know that it's very difficult, and can get very frustrating when you're unable to solve a coding problem. There is a constant learning curve that requires consistent practice and attention. Make sure you are focused on your goals and the things you need to do in achieving them. Also, expect to be dead to the world for the duration of the program. But if you have the aptitude, maturity, and desire, you should absolutely enroll. It's a life-changing opportunity.
What types of jobs are you interested in after the program?
The most important thing for me is that I find a company with a mentoring program that suits my personality and learning style. I would like to continue evolving and expanding my skills as proficiently as possible. I think that a larger company, with their wealth of resources, would be a good place to start. Of all the industries to choose from, I can most see myself at a tech company developing the future of technology.
5 years from now, where do you want to be?I can see myself in different positions. With all the changes and opportunities I will experience in the next couple years, my life could go in many different directions. However, I've always had one consistent dream, and I hope to have gained the skills and knowledge to be preparing to release, if I have not released already, my own web app.
How did you find out about your program? What was your research process? What about it was appealing to you?
A friend of mine who is a software development recruiter had heard of the bootcamp system, and explained how it works to me, encouraging me look into it because he felt that it was right up my alley. I was immediately captivated by the idea of attending. I went home and did my research, and decided that bootcamp was ideal for me and my current lifestyle. I immediately began the enrollment process and planning.
While researching, first I looked up the school that he spoke to me about, as well as similarly modeled schools, and gathered information based on the success rate of their students, and the proficiency of the instructors. I found forums with online testimonials that seemed legitimate. I heard through the grapevine that an old friend of mine had completed the course. I gave him a call to hear what he had to say about the program, and he had nothing but positive remarks.
Many things appealed to me right off the bat. It seemed like a comprehensive fast-track to my dream future. The job placement percentage was huge. The timeframe in which to live without income while I complete the course was very manageable, as was anticipated tuition. Compared to a 4-year computer science degree, the choice was obvious.
What did your friends and family say when you told them you would attend a school?
Everyone was very happy that I found a program that I could get behind. My friends and family were very supportive and reassuring, telling me that this path has always been my calling, and were excited to see me following the path.
Tech Elevator student Jim Kasper is from Brecksville, (Cleveland) Ohio, and is 27 years old. He's grown up creating web designs, and working on computers for personal hobby, and has always had a desire to take his hobbies professionally. He's spent the majority of his life working in the food service industry, most recently managing a high-volume bar/restaurant.