Last week we spoke with Matt Hamil and Ryan Bliton. Many students who start to learn programming on their own soon realize that they would benefit from a structured learning environment. This week we hear from Jacob, Dayne, and Paul. All three wanted to deepen their understanding of programming and credit the collaborative learning environment for helping them do just that.
Be sure to listen to all of the graduates talk to our friend, Clark Buckner, about their journey into development and about their experience at NSS. And stay tuned for more Graduate Spotlights.
Jacob was a biology major when he decided to take an Intro to Programming course that taught C++. He loved that programming required a different way of thinking. He described it as putting together a very difficult puzzle. This course led him to switch his major to Information Systems. However, after graduating he was having a hard time finding a programming job without any real world experience. Jacob started researching bootcamps and chose NSS. He shared, “I can honestly say that it has been one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I learned more about programming in the first month at NSS than I did in 4 years of college.”
With student loans and no full-time employment, Jacob moved back home with his parents who live 2 hours outside of Nashville. This meant 4 hours of driving each day to attend NSS as part of Cohort 15, but Jacob used it to his advantage. He utilized the long drives to think about what he learned in class that day, which helped him retain what he learned.
The fast pace of the bootcamp fueled Jacob. He loved learning a new feature, tool, or language every day. He encourages current students to make the most of each day and utilize all the resources they have at their disposal, such as the instructors and TAs. But don’t forget to have fun, take a break, then code some more.
For his front-end capstone, Jacob built an app called Start or Sit. The app is built for fantasy football fans. The app allows fans to submit two players to the Start or Sit community for feedback on which player to start and which to sit for the week. The app also has live scores, game updates, and player stats. He created the app with AngularJS, AngularCharts, Materialize, Bootstrap, Sass, Grunt, Bower, and Firebase.
Jacob’s back-end app is called Friendbook which closely mirrors Facebook with influence from Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace. Status updates are restricted to 200 characters (Twitter influence), users can see who viewed their profile (LinkedIn influence), and users can color customize their profile page (MySpace influence). He built Friendbook using C#, .NET, SQL, LINQ, Razor, jQuery, and Ajax.
There’s nothing like you and a friend banging your head on the table trying to figure out a bug, then taking a break to play a few games of ping pong, and instantly being able to find and fix that bug after a break.
Since graduating, Jacob built another full-stack app that tracks the amount of calories a user consumes and burns each day. He also began to learn Python and Django. He just started a new job this week which he found through a friend he met while attending NSS. He believes showcasing his ability to learn new technologies helped land him the job.
After working in sales for several years, Dayne moved into project management at a software startup founded by a friend. He realized that he enjoyed development more than project management and started to learn on his own. While he was able to grasp syntax and understand the principles, he wasn’t able to get over the hump of creating a project from scratch. Dayne knew he wanted to deepen his understanding and enrolled at NSS with Cohort 15.
The hardest part for Dayne was balancing his time between NSS and his family. With four kids, it was a huge shift for his family to allow him to be 100% committed to the program. Dayne expressed, “If you know this is something you love and have the mindset to keep moving forward, then you will succeed, even though it seems overwhelming at times.”
Dayne enjoyed getting to know his cohort.
Everyone is excited, committed and like minded. It is definitely a collaborative effort. Learning on your own you miss the understanding and knowledge of how a development team works. Through NSS, you get this structure and come out of the program with a lot of practical experience with teams as well as development knowledge.
What advice does Dayne have for future students? “Make sure you understand the ‘why’ behind what you are learning…understanding the fundamentals will help you more than focusing on the latest framework or library,” shared Dayne.
Dayne’s front-end capstone was an app for his wife’s business. She plans freezer meal workshops and was having trouble with missed email communications with the butcher she uses to order meat for the workshops. The app allows her to place orders without email, simplifying the process and avoiding missed emails. To build the app he used Angular, Firebase, and Bootstrap.
For his backend capstone, Dayne built a reward tracking system for parents. The app allows parents to add tasks or chores for their children, assign them to each child, and when completed, the child earns points. After earning a set number of points, the child gets a reward. The back-end was built with C#, Identity, and Entity. The front-end was built with React-Native using Redux.
In his free time Dayne has built a Slack bot that posts new jobs from sites like Dice, Indeed, and Craigslist. He has also been learning Clojure and diving into functional programming. While Dayne was interviewing, he kept up with his skills and practiced his “story” so that he was prepared for each interview. Being prepared lessened the stress of an interview and help him land his first job as a developer.
Paul has always been interested in coding, but never thought about it as a career option until his sister went through a bootcamp at NSS. He realized that coding was something he would enjoy doing as a career and enrolled at NSS as part of Evening Cohort 3.
Paul enjoyed sharing his knowledge with his fellow cohort members and learning from them in return.
Get stuck on a problem? Don't push it aside for later. If you can't solve it, get help. There's always someone who can help. If a problem is left alone, it will grow and become even more of a pain to solve.
Paul’s front-end capstone was an app that helps users cook from a recipe. The user can add their own recipes and rate others. While viewing the recipe, the app responds to voice commands and can speak the instructions line by line allowing the user to keep their hands free to cook. The app was built with Angular, Firebase, Materialize, and annyang.
For his back-end capstone, Paul created a point of sale app with a mobile component for restaurants. The app has a timekeeper, a cook screen with real-time data, and tracks food costs. The mobile component allows servers to take orders at the table. The app is a full system for a running a restaurant. The app was built with C# and Angular for the desktop app, Xamarin (C#) for the mobile app, and signalr to feed real-time data to the cook screen.
Paul kept his job search wide and wasn’t afraid to apply for jobs where he didn’t meet all the qualifications. Sharing the culmination of everything he learned at NSS during his interview, helped Paul get his current job.
Check out Pauls’s profile.