Community Impact Through Coding | Graduate Spotlight

Jun 29, 2020
Jessica Grande



Aja Washington of Web Development Cohort 37 is a humanitarian with a passion for philanthropy. Feeling unfulfilled in her jobs as a server and dance instructor, she was ready for a career that could use her passions while gaining new skills and experiences. “I wasn’t inspired by what the dance community was providing at the time,” Aja explains. “I felt stuck and uninspired in my current career. I needed something to push me.”  That’s when Junior Instructor Mo Silvera and her wife, also an alum, introduced Aja to Nashville Software School (NSS). 

Aja spoke highly of Mo and her wife during her application process. “I tried to make excuses for myself,” she shares. “And they just wouldn’t allow me to and they were really just a great supportive system.” 


Before starting their web development bootcamp, students are required to complete pre-work that gives them the foundation for the curriculum at NSS. Aja recalls starting her pre-work and being unsure of her decision to go into web development. “Once I started I was so nervous,” she explains. “Going through the pre-work I was like ‘how am I going to do this? Is this even possible?’ But now, 6 months later, I can’t describe how powerful I feel [after] completing the program.”

Aja shares that her favorite part of her time at NSS was being around her peers and learning from them and her instructors in Cohort 37.

GO FOR IT. Trust yourself, and know you have the best support system you could ever ask for." 

Capstone Projects

For her capstone projects, Aja drew inspiration from her passions involving humanitarianism, charity, and community involvement. Her front-end project, BeyGood, she describes as an “open, public charity application” inspired by American singer Beyoncé Knowles's charity initiative, BEYGOOD Foundation. Users can request charity donations to assist with day-to-day financial difficulties. Donors provide funds, services, or even items to partnering businesses and organizations that receive charity requests from users. Aja built BeyGood using React, API fetch calls to a local JSON database, and CSS for styling and user experience. 

Swap Shoppe, Aja’s back-end capstone, is a bartering app inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic. “The effect of the pandemic revealed a broken economy,” she explains. “Swap Shoppe was created to provide the opportunity to working class citizens to barter with their community so they can continue to provide for their family.” The app allows the user to create a listing and barter items such as foods, goods, and services for a set values representing “abundant,” “balanced,” and “scarce.” They can then select another user’s items to trade and choose multiple quantities for one item so that each trade is equal in value. Swap Shoppe is a full stack MVC application using Entity Framework, Bootstrap, and SQL.


Though her time at NSS has come to an end, Aja’s learning has not. As she starts the search for her first job as a full stack developer, she has begun a C# Unity Developer 2D course and continues to learn and build upon her new coding skills. “I plan to [use] my skill in software to build something focused on redefining the global idea of living and creating; influencing fruitful, invigorating lifestyles.” 

Learn more about Aja by visiting her website and listening to her podcast

Check out all the recent grads on Web Development Cohort 37's class website and hear the graduates share their journey into development and their experience at NSS in their podcasts below.


Topics: Student Stories, Hiring?, Web Development