Cleveland Coding Bootcamp Graduate Shifts from Cooking to Coding
A successful chef for 10 years, Brian Yuhas was ready for a change from the stress and long hours of restaurant work. He had zero background in coding or software development but recognized that what attracted him to cooking was also part of the coding skillset – thinking outside the box, problem-solving, teamwork, and creating a tangible product. After attending We Can Code IT’s 14-week remote course on full-stack C# development, Brian was immediately hired by PNC Bank. He easily stepped into a remote team role as a software development associate after working in a similar environment with his We Can Code IT cohort. In fact, three of his own cohort were also hired at PNC.
Going into this field with no experience, I believe it’s really about the amount of commitment you put forward. If you’re committed to getting it done, I believe anyone is capable of it.
What was your education and career background before attending We Can Code IT?
I went to culinary school and earned two associate degrees. I spent the next 10 years as a chef in Cleveland and Columbus restaurants and in Texas and West Virginia. I was unhappy with where my cooking career was going, and with the hours and demands. I had a couple of friends who had gone through coding bootcamps, so I did some research for about a year and decided to take a crack at it. The final catalyst came during the pandemic when I was working in Texas and was laid off from my job.
I made the right choice.
What made you decide on We Can Code IT?
I narrowed it down to two bootcamps my friends had recommended, with similar schedules and prices. But honestly, what made my decision easier was not passing the entrance exam at the other bootcamp! I’m grateful it worked out that way! I made the right choice.
At We Can Code IT, we got more personal attention and one-on-one time…Their guidance helped me learn the material.
What did you like about We Can Code IT?
At We Can Code IT, we got more personal attention and one-on-one time. It was a friendlier, warmer environment. Even without any background in coding, their guidance helped me learn the material. Going into this field with no experience, I believe it’s also really about the amount of commitment you put forward. If you’re committed to getting it done, I believe anyone is capable of it.
It really helped that We Can Code IT taught us more universal concepts.
How did We Can Code IT make your learning experience easier?
They didn’t take it for granted that we had any knowledge coming in. They started at the bottom. They’re trying to condense years of understanding into a series of weeks. The most beneficial thing they did was to focus on the larger theories rather than the nuances. For instance, my cohort was in C# but I was hired at PNC as a Java developer. I could do this because I understood the basic concepts of object-oriented programing (OOP) and testing and development and how objects work. It really helped that We Can Code IT taught us more universal concepts.
What was the remote learning experience like?
On the first day, we had icebreakers to get to know other people in our cohort. After that, we’d always do a check-in each morning to share what’s going on in our work or our life, and a summary of what we’re learning and any problems with the code or anything. Every morning we’d jump into our Zoom class and go over new material in the first part of the day and then do the hands-on application in the second part of the day. We worked either as small groups or individually.
We Can Code IT prepared us well for both behavioral and technical interviews.
What was the job search process like for you?
PNC was only the second application I sent out. Within a couple of days, a recruiter called me and the next week I had a phone interview with a couple of hiring managers. We Can Code IT prepared us well for both behavioral and technical interviews, where they present us with problems to solve. For the behavioral interview, they were much more focused on how I worked in a team and approached problems. When they asked my weakest points, my answer was “my coding.” I was brand new to these skills and it was a risky answer, but I was being honest. They were comfortable with it and were more interested in a cultural fit. If that was good, they would teach the job from there.
Tell us about your new career.
At PNC I’ve started out as a quality engineer or “QE” tester so I take the code and make sure it’s working properly. I do this within our QE group, so it’s very much like our We Can Code IT cohort. At the same time, I’m being slowly introduced to their Java set-up. We’re in touch throughout the day by Outlook or Zoom to ask questions or share info. There’s still very much an office feel to it. I had learned how to operate in that environment in the We Can Code IT course and so I had the physical environment already set up. That was a benefit I didn’t see coming.
Do you see a future in this career, with more growth coming?
In my rational moments, I tell myself this is something I’m capable of doing for the rest of my life. But being so new to it, I still wrestle with that imposter syndrome. That was a new concept I was introduced to at We Can Code IT, but one I recognized from my work starting out as a new chef in the restaurant industry – that feeling where you doubt your abilities or feel you don’t belong there. But honestly, so far I’ve done everything I needed to do!