Columbus Coding Grad Begins Successful Career in Software Development
Since a teenager bootcamp graduate, Nick Hergatt had a gift for IT and computers, though life had somehow gotten in the way of him pursuing a career. After listening to suggestions from family and friends he decided to give We Can Code IT a try. With the support of the We Can Code IT staff, and his hard work and enthusiasm, Nick was able to create a successful career in software development. Learn more about Nick’s experience and how the curriculum helped prepare him for real-world opportunities.
If you make it into the program, you have what you need…We Can Code IT works miracles with people.
What was your education and career background before attending We Can Code IT?
So I’ve been “working” IT since I was like 13 years old. My dad had a business and he quickly discovered, once people started realizing that I was decent with technology, that it was a lot cheaper to buy me fast food and have me fix a problem in ten minutes than to call an actual IT guy who would charge like $500. So it started with that.
Later on, once I got to high school I started working with the Crestview Local high school district, and it really sparked a love for technology in general for me. Once I graduated high school I enrolled at Eastern Michigan University for three years where I was studying cybersecurity. However, around this time last year, some struggles I had came to a head, and in early January I decided that I just couldn’t continue my studies and I started looking for different options. I heard of bootcamps, and I had looked at some. Then, I believe my dad was listening to NPR and he heard an ad for We Can Code IT. He sent me an email and I applied. I got a call from one of the instructors maybe an hour after I put in my initial application, and that’s when that all started.
I was an RA for two years, and communication about emotion and dealing with things in a healthy manner is kind of a big deal to me. The fact that it’s kind of a part of the core philosophy really was a huge attraction for me.
What were some of your first impressions of the We Can Code IT staff and instructors?
I love them. There are days where I will still hit them up on Slack just chat to see how they’re doing. I’m a fairly awkward person, but I still felt comfortable with the staff and everybody involved in the program.
Having people that understand what you’re going through help you through it, that’s what really mattered to me.
What did you like most about the We Can Code IT program itself?
The people 100 percent. Obviously, the course work was good. You know we have the internet, so if the coursework was all that mattered to me I wouldn’t have paid a bunch of money for them to teach me. Having people that understand what you’re going through help you through it, that’s what really mattered to me.
In what ways did We Can Code IT make your coding experience easier?
If it was a problem they knew I could solve they would point me in the right direction. If it was a problem that I shouldn’t be running into, they’d sit and talk me through their solution. They would make sure that even if they were the ones that were going to have to fix it that I still knew what needed to happen to make that fix work. It was always like “before you do that do you understand what it means?”
What was one of the biggest things that you learned from your experience with We Can Code IT?
Where to look for the solutions that I needed. What resources to trust and which were bull. They also taught me to just trust my gut on a lot of these things.
What was the job search process like for you?
I did have some rough moments. There was one particular interview with a company where I was brought in to look incompetent so that their preferred candidate ate could look competent. I walked into the interview and five minutes in they were like they wanted a person with a master’s degree in computer science and 5-6 years with web app development experience. I was there with just four months of experience under my belt and not even a certificate yet because I graduated the next day. Despite dealing with corporate bureaucracy it really wasn’t that bad. The third-place I had an interview at hired me, so the job search was incredible. Also having the instructors there to kind of be my cheerleaders and sounding boards was awesome.
What was the interview process like for getting the role you have now?
Basically the entire month after I graduated I’d wake up in the morning and I’d spend about four hours just applying. I saw companies that had openings in Columbus which is where I wanted to be, but I also saw companies that had openings in Ann Arbor which is where I had gone to college for three years. So I gave them my resume on several different positions they had open. I got a call back which was my first interview. It was kind of a conversation with me and the recruiter. He was just saying what the company was about, what they did, and what the culture was like. I was interested so then I moved on to the technical interview. The technical interview was actually a wonderful experience. It was basically like a conversation where I was asked very basic logical questions. No algorithms or anything, just user maintenance and “how would you solve this.” It was definitely something someone of my technical skill level could do. The person I was interviewing with, we jived on a conversational level.
So then I moved on to the final process which was a behavioral interview. The gentleman who I interviewed with was a senior developer but he was also a social worker for a while. It showed that the overall team was generally multifaceted. People who had the skills to do certain things are going to be asked to do them even if it’s not technical, which really impressed me. After the behavioral interview, I got an offer the next month.
Tell us about your new career. How has it been with your new role?
Right now I’m working for clients. Learning so much every day. All the people here…It’s definitely an environment of support. They’re times where I might be a little embarrassed to ask a question, but as soon as I ask the question they’re just like “oh yeah no big deal I’ll be right over,” and they’ll stay with me as long as I need to get that question answered. Sure waking up in the morning isn’t fun, but I still look forward to coming into work every morning.
Anything else to add about We Can Code IT?
Even if you aren’t sure of your ability, We Can Code IT can get you there. If you make it into the program, you have what you need. One of my friends in the program came in and didn’t even know how to use a laptop really. Do you know what she is now? She’s a front-end developer at a start-up. We Can Code IT works miracles with people.