Bootcamp Graduate Josh Yang Finds His Purpose in Software Development
We Can Code IT graduate Josh Yang was working his first adult job as a Client Services Representative when his boss pointed out his capabilities in software development. Josh came across our bootcamp and decided to take the leap and pursue a career path in software development. After attending our coding bootcamp Josh has gained confidence in his coding and interpersonal skills. Using the networking strategies he learned at our bootcamp, Josh was able to secure a fulfilling role. Learn more about Josh’s journey from an apprehensive student to a confident software developer.
At no point during my education did I feel like I was in the wrong place or doing something wrong.
What was your education and career background before attending We Can Code IT?
Before We Can Code IT, I worked as a Client Services Representative. at a homeschooling company. I had pretty much no job experience before that. That was actually my first job. I did mostly paperwork. Later I began talking to customers and helping out with parents and teachers who had trouble using the website.
What made you decide on We Can Code IT?
My path to We Can Code IT was a little lengthy. The first time I was approached to start learning code was actually from the CEO of the company I worked for. He pulled me into his office and sat me down and said “so based on your educational background you are overqualified for the job that you are doing.” He said that I could be making a lot more money, and I could be doing something that’s much more rewarding to my skill set. So he recommended that I look into coding.
I ended up looking for bootcamps to take because at the time I didn’t really want to go back to college for four years. I just wanted a straightforward path into what I was doing, sort of a jumpstart. So a bootcamp seemed like the right process for me. I explored some options in South Florida, where I was at the time. It reached a point where I wasn’t really finding what I wanted. So I actually decided to look out of state, particularly in places where I had family. In Ohio, I had an aunt who I’m currently living with. I found We Can Code IT just off of a Google search by Googling “best coding bootcamps in Cleveland, Ohio.” I brought it to the Head of Engineering at my job. He looked over the syllabus and said it was actually a great program and he’d recommend that I do it. I went ahead with the phone call.
What was your coding experience like before you began our program?
My coding experience was about a total of maybe 3 to 4 weeks of one-hour sessions as an undergrad. I took a semester-and-a-half of college at the University of Central Florida. I started off as an undeclared engineering major and there was a course where they’d teach you how to code and program a small robot with sensors. Your final project was to make it navigate a maze and get it to the other side. The way the information was presented to me made me bored out of my mind. I missed a lot of classes. After missing three weeks’ worth of classes I came back and asked what I’d missed, and I caught up in twenty minutes.
Overall, I really didn’t have a lot of experience at all. It was just a rudimentary presentation to a first-year undergrad of coding. That’s all I knew before I enrolled.
I was very impressed by the amount of effort that went into teaching us how to code, how to approach the job search, and how to learn…
What were your first impressions of We Can Code IT staff and instructors?
For the most part when the cohort started for me the only people I knew the names of were the admissions representative, our primary instructor, and the career services support. I felt very safe. After the first week was done, even though I was very nervous and didn’t know very much, I felt like everyone knew what they were doing. I was very impressed by the amount of effort that went into teaching us how to code, how to approach the job search, and how to learn without feeling like you are making a bad decision. At no point during my education did I feel like I was in the wrong place or doing something wrong.
What did you like most about We Can Code IT?
What I liked most about the program was just the amount of extra time that everyone put in to make sure that we were learning what was being presented. I felt like I had a safety net, whereas if I didn’t understand something I still had a lot of resources available to me; whether it was talking to classmates, instructors, or going to outside instruction hours on Wednesdays. It was a very hands-on approach and I like that a lot.
What was one of the biggest things that you learned from your experience with We Can Code IT?
When I first started I figured it was going to be a lot of just sitting at the computer staring at the screen and coding away for hours and hours and hours. To an extent that was true, but the system they implemented where you take breaks and step away to clear your head and come back to it with a fresh mindset in a couple of minutes; that concept was foreign to me. Every single time I have ever run into a coding issue where I just got stuck, it has pretty much always been solved by returning to what was taught to me in the course, which is: stepping away for a moment and taking a breather, relaxing and thinking it out, then reapproaching it with a relaxed mindset. That was probably the most important thing I learned, and I’m still using it today with my current job.
I feel like if this happened in the middle of my job search, or if I were just to be thrown in a virtual setting right away without having any virtual experience learning at We Can Code IT, I would be worse off.
How was the transition to working remotely during COVID-19? How did that experience impact you?
We Can Code IT was very supportive during the virtual transition. It was a learning curve for everybody. We ran into problems with recording sessions and meeting up on time. It was all new to everyone. I actually didn’t mind it. I managed to get used to it in about a week. Once I got a taste of how things were going to work out with the Zoom meetings and virtual workshops, I was fine with it. It was a learning curve, but at the end of the day, a lot of places are working remotely. My current job is actually fully remote. Everyone is working from home. I feel like if this happened in the middle of my job search, or if I were just to be thrown in a virtual setting right away without having any virtual experience learning at We Can Code IT, I would be worse off.
The things that they taught me helped me a lot in the process. I think that without career services I would still be out of a job because I would have no idea what to do.
How Did We Can Code IT’s career services team help support you post-graduation?
The career services bit of the program helped me a lot. When I first joined the cohort and I had just started learning, I was very shy. I’m a heavy introvert. I do not like talking to strangers. The constant affirmation that talking to people is not scary, looking for informational interviews is not scary, and the worst they could do is not respond kind of warmed up to the idea. I tried my best to communicate the best I could with people that I wanted to talk to. The process of career services saying “Hey here’s what you need to do. Here’s what will help you get jobs,” was very helpful. The things that they taught me helped me a lot in the process. I think that without career services I would still be out of a job because I would have no idea what to do. I would still be very reticent to approach people. I would probably still be stuck.
What was your interview process like for getting the role you have now?
My interview process was very relaxed. Before the interview started I sent the person my GitHub account and he looked over all of my repositories. The questions that were asked were mostly like “What technologies did you learn? Which are you most confident with? Which aren’t you confident with and why?” There was no whiteboarding. For the most part, the interview was very relaxed. After the interview was over the Director of Engineering seemed happy with what I had learned, and he said he would get back to me later. I ended up sending an email saying thanks for the interview, and then weeks later he offered me the position.
The idea of a career where you’re constantly learning is very nice…It’s relaxing. It’s challenging. It’s fun and it’s something that I can imagine myself doing for a while.
So tell us about your new career. What has the experience been like working so far in the industry for the first time?
The experience is very relaxing. It’s not a high-intensity thing like I thought it was going to be. It’s very supportive. Both of my managers are very open to answering my questions. I do have a partner who was hired at the same time I was, and he’s a good resource. We bounce ideas off of each other. It’s very rewarding. It’s something I can imagine myself doing as a career for a while. I’m working on a project by project basis, so I can sort of get in my hours wherever it’s most convenient for me, as long as I get the project done. We’re working pretty fast and learning pretty quickly. The idea of a career where you’re constantly learning is very nice. That’s one thing I like about where I’m working. It’s relaxing. It’s challenging. It’s fun and it’s something that I can imagine myself doing for a while.