Jonelle Lancaster was a hairstylist for 16 years. She spent many of these years as a director and manager at a beauty school. When the direction of her career began to change, she decided she was going to start fresh and pursue a new career. After speaking to a friend who attended a coding bootcamp in Portland, Oregon, she decided a life of coding was one for her. “If you like solving problems, you should try coding. It’s enjoyable problem solving” she said, “I was never good at math, but coding is not the same thing.” Jonelle did not have any coding experience before bootcamp, but she was drawn to the problem-solving appeal of the career. She mentioned how coding is fun, similar to the enjoyment of solving a puzzle.
When deciding on which coding bootcamp was best for her, Jonelle only exercised one option. “I immediately loved their [WCCI’s] mission to diversify the tech industry,” she said. “I admire how Mel [WCCI Founder and CEO] got her start and how they saw a need for diversity in the field. I didn’t really look anywhere else after learning about this,” she said.
Once Jonelle took the leap and joined the bootcamp, she was excited about her instructors and Career Coaches. Each of these teams working internally for WCCI allowed a lot of flexibility for her. She particularly gave a shout-out to her Career Services Coach, calling for future bootcamp students to be self-driven. “Listen to everything Career Services tells you to do. Do all of the things that you find uncomfortable because that’s what will get you a job,” she said. Jonelle reiterated the importance of pairing the coding fundamentals you learn during bootcamp with giving your best effort to your job search process. This could be by attending career fairs or networking with potential employers.
Today, Jonelle is still going strong with the company that hired her three years ago, just before the pandemic hit. She happily works for Healthy Roster where she is an Associate Software Developer. The software she works on helps serve Athletic Trainers who work with the PGA, the US National Women’s Skating Team, the University of Notre Dame, and Mayo Clinic. Fortunately, Jonelle is living a perfect work-life balance. She can now spend more time with her children and wife while immersed in a career that she enjoys. This work-life balance has been a priority for Jonelle since her last career did not allow this opportunity. Because of her tech career, she is right where she wants to be.