After a search of coding bootcamps across the country, Cierra decided to attend We Can Code IT in Cleveland, OH. A collaborative learning environment helped her in the classroom and then the supportive staff reassured her that she was capable of thriving after graduation. Shortly after graduating, she started her new career as a mobile developer at ABAS-USA close to home in Virginia.
I went to a community college in Maryland and earned an associate degree in general studies, in 2012. Then, I transferred to New York University’s school of engineering to study Integrated Digital Media. I took some computer science courses (object oriented programming). I didn’t finish this degree, due to the rising costs of tuition coupled with the costs of living in New York City. After leaving NYU in 2013, I headed back home to Maryland.
I did work during and after school. While studying at NYU I worked as a front desk aide, making $9.25 an hour. After leaving NYU, I worked as a bartender for a while, and the money wasn’t too bad. But I worked at a 24-hour casino, so the hours were insane. After leaving the wild casino life, I decided to sell jewelry as an independent merchandiser.
I was searching for coding bootcamps around the country; I was willing to pack up my things and move anywhere! I had been searching for a place that had a lower cost of living, and in that search, I came across Ohio. I did some research on coding bootcamps in Ohio, and it seemed that WCCI was the most affordable. Initially, it was the affordability that attracted me to WCCI. But once I actually started reading the ‘about’ page on the site, reading about the staff, and looking up WCCI YouTube videos, I became more convinced. I looked at a few of Mel McGee’s YouTube videos and decided that I really liked her teaching style, so I was sold on WCCI. Once I arrived to the school, and Mel wasn’t actually instructing my class, I was a bit disappointed, until I realized that her other instructors were brilliant as well. The niche/focus on women and other underrepresented categories of people in tech (including the $1,000 discount for these categories) was also a big deciding factor for me.
We Can Code IT was a great experience. I moved all the way from Maryland to Cleveland to attend the bootcamp that I felt was the best fit for me. My classmates became kind of like a family, as WCCI encourages an environment of collaborative learning, as opposed to competition. The instructors are all top quality. They are highly knowledgeable, and also highly emotionally intelligent; a rare combination to find. Because of these attributes, the instructors were able to not only teach, help troubleshoot, and to answer our questions, but also to deal with the roller coasters of emotions that the students may have been going through, considering that the bootcamp could be stressful at times. What I took away from WCCI was a great sense of confidence. The confidence that I could really be a programmer/developer, and that I could take the skills that I learned at WCCI to the job market and earn a good living. I am grateful for the WCCI experience, and I wish the best to all of the summer 2016 cohort, and to whoever is reading this right now!
I landed a job about a week after graduation, after weeks and weeks of applying relentlessly to jobs online during the bootcamp, and speaking with companies and recruiters. I even spoke with a recruiter from Google who found me on LinkedIn. The recruiter wanted to set me up with a phone interview, but I felt completely unprepared, and a bit intimidated, so I simply didn’t bother. I also attended a networking event/job fair. This process was at times exhausting, to be honest. I had to keep my ego intact amidst the barrage of rejection in my inbox. I kept pushing and applying to companies online, until I finally landed three interviews back to back in one week. One interview with a company that is contracting with NASA, one interview with a credit union in Seattle, and one interview with an international company based in Germany that designs mobile ERP software for businesses. One of these interviews would finally land me a job as an entry level mobile developer with a good company. WCCI provided a great deal of job assistance (including representatives from companies coming to speak to us, and a career day at graduation) and career advice. I do feel that WCCI made the job search easier, by reassuring us that we were qualified for these entry level/junior programming jobs that we were searching for. If I had just done this entire process alone/at home, I may have been hesitant to apply for certain jobs, including the one that I eventually secured.