Coding Bootcamp Graduate Pursues Her Goal to Take Her Software Development Potential to the Next Level
Coding bootcamp graduate, Angel Davis was determined to manifest the success she wanted in her life. She had a promising talent in code from a young age, and with the encouragement of her older brother, she would make the decision to put her talents to use. Unsatisfied with her previous work experience, the recommendation of an associate would lead her to seek a start in software development at We Can Code IT. With support from Mayor Frank G. Jackon’s Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, Angel was able to fund half of her tuition cost through their grant. The risk she took to change careers would prove to pay off when just months after graduating she would achieve her goal in landing a full-time software development position at Progressive. Learn more about her journey to achievement, and how our program helped prepare her for her new role.
It was an amazing experience. I would just tell the program to keep up what they’re doing and keep encouraging the people that are going through it.
What was your education and career background before attending We Can Code IT?
So before WCCI, I was in customer service. Right before it, a couple of months before I started WCCI I was actually uber driving because I just wanted the freedom. It was also more money at the time. I was actually at Progressive as well, doing commercial service.
My brother said that this guy swears by WCCI, and it was the best school ever.
What made you decide on We Can Code IT?
So my brother actually works at Progressive as a developer, and I told him that I wanted to get into it seriously. There was someone he was working with who attended WCCI prior to myself. My brother said that this guy swears by WCCI, and it was the best school ever. We looked at a couple of different other schools and ultimately we just decided on WCCI.
I would just say I’m just happy that I stuck through it. I’m very happy that I went through everything there.
What was your coding experience before attending the We Can Code IT program?
It was not a lot. So I was originally introduced to coding through MySpace. Literally years ago, I was probably like ten years old and everyone always wanted me to customize their pages. There was coding in some of the pages I would get from other websites to use for decorating. I would always change the code to make it look different so no one ever had the same stuff as anyone else. So a lot of people would just ask me to do that. My brother would also tell me “Oh you’re coding” and he’s six years older than me, so he was already in it. That was my first introduction to it, and I would play with it here and there before I fully decided to go through with it at WCCI.
It didn’t feel like an interview. It felt more like they were just trying to get to know me, see if it was a good fit for me, and just make sure that I would be able to succeed in the program.
What were some of your first impressions of the We Can Code IT staff and instructors?
My first impression was…when I had the interview with the staff it was just really laid back and really comfortable. I didn’t feel like I was being interrogated. It didn’t feel like an interview. It felt more like they were just trying to get to know me, see if it was a good fit for me, and just make sure that I would be able to succeed in the program. It was a very good first impression of WCCI.
We worked in a space where there were several other companies or startups. I liked it because you got to meet other people who were either developers or doing something else there. It was just a very open space. You didn’t feel confined to one spot or one small room. I would also stay sometimes until 12 am because they said it was open to us 24/7. So sometimes I would stay and work on my code late. It would be so open and I would run into different people who were working on something different. It was just nice being able to use the space as we needed.
…What I liked the most about WCCI was that they added pressure that was needed, but they didn’t add any extra pressure than that.
What did you like most about your We Can Code IT experience?
I would say how it wasn’t very strict. School was not something I really liked doing at all. It really depended on who I had as a teacher, and whether I liked the class or not. So what I liked the most about WCCI was that they added pressure that was needed, but they didn’t add any extra pressure than that. It’s pretty much how we are here at Progressive. We’re given an assignment and of course, we do need to complete it by the deadline. However, if we don’t and we’re able to get something at least working or close to working, we don’t feel like “Oh my gosh I just ruined everything.” So I really liked that WCCI was very understanding.
Did We Can Code IT make your coding experience easier?
It was very hands-on, but it was also very independent. They still allowed us to figure it out and hit our heads up against the wall. At the time because we were in school you would feel like “Oh my gosh, I’m in school…is no one gonna give me the answer. I can’t find the answer.” However, once you actually get a developer job you realize that that’s the real world. It turned out to be an advantage because now at my current job when I don’t know something, I try to figure it out instead of going to my mentor, and I usually do figure it out. So it ends up making me look better.
What was one of the biggest things that you learned from your experience with We Can Code IT?
That you will not always find the answer. I’m very happy that I learned that because that’s really just a part of developing or being a developer. An assignment that I was working with my employer on about a couple of days ago, we couldn’t find the answer but we were still able to get it to the point where it could be demoed. Ultimately we were able to find it later on. It’s just knowing that developing is developing, you are literally trying to figure it out. WCCI made that very clear and it’s very true.
Being a developer is not just about what you know. It’s also about learning, being able to learn, and being able to work with other people.
What was the job search process like for you?
We did a lot of training while we were in WCCI. So they gave us a lot of heads up. We knew what we were going into. It wasn’t necessarily what you know, but more so who you know. If you were networking early, and talking to people before you graduate, the better chances you had of getting a job after because they would be looking for you. Being a developer is not just about what you know. It’s also about learning, being able to learn, and being able to work with other people. So usually if they like you you will get a job.
You really have to have a good mindset and set a goal. For example, doing a goal of five to ten applications a day. You can’t just sit and wait for something to come. I also found another job.
I was a Manual Tester and I ended up working with two of my classmates. I didn’t want to be a Manual Tester but I did use that to my advantage on my resume with my current job at Progressive. It was kind of like I took what I could and used what I could on my resume. You kind of just have to be smart and know how to navigate it.
What was the interview process like for getting the role you have now?
My first job, BioEnterprise, actually came from Demo Day. I’m still there now part-time. They had seen our demo on demo day. Their representative actually came up to me and said he was very interested and would like an interview. I ended up interviewing with him, and within the next two weeks, I was offered a job.
It feels very surreal now that I have my first full-time job because this has been the goal since the beginning, to get here.
Tell us about your new career. How has it been with your new role?
I’ve been with Progressive since November. I was put on a specific project and I was getting different assignments kind of to test me and see where I’m at. I have been working on a lot of API’s and JF. They set you up with a team, and I was luckily placed on a project where it requires my main skill sets and what I learned at WCCI. I kind of have been working on a little bit of everything that I worked on at WCCI.
It feels very surreal now that I have my first full-time job, because this has been the goal since the beginning, to get here. Now that I actually am in this position at this company, I kind of feel like I don’t have anything else to worry about other than just learning, doing my job, and living my life.
Anything else to add about We Can Code IT?
It was an amazing experience. I would just tell the program to keep up what they’re doing and keep encouraging the people that are going through it. I’ll try to come and visit just to be an encouragement to somebody there. I would just say I’m just happy that I stuck through it. I’m very happy that I went through everything there. Yea, it’s just been an amazing experience.