Graduate Spotlight | Sandy, Odigene & Matt

Mar 16, 2017
Mandy Arola

Last week we spoke with Janelle Zorvan, Sylvia Ma, and Yonatan Molla. Our evening bootcamp students make big sacrifices to attend NSS. Working full time jobs during the day, they spend two evenings a week and Saturdays in the classroom. They also meet with study groups outside of class at least once a week. They give up fun and family time to pursue a new career in development, but they love the challenge of learning development and leave the program excited about their future.

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.

Check out all of the recent grads on the Cohort 15 class website and theCohort E3 class website.

Sandy Jones

Sandy was an e-commerce account manager and enjoyed her job, but was curious about coding after working with a development team. She liked that they were able to create something out of nothing. Sandy shared, “Development is a part of business that has become strategic and a driving force in many organizations today. There is a chance to be a real contributor to your company’s bottom line by becoming a developer. Developers improve systems, create applications, and support existing applications. We search for new and more efficient technologies. It’s an area of constant evolution that requires a balance of new technologies with existing technologies.”

A part of Evening Cohort 3, Sandy shared, “The staff is passionate about teaching, open and helpful, and have a real desire for their students to succeed. I don’t know where you could find a more supportive and encouraging partner in learning a new career. The best part of it all is that you learn to teach yourself, too, and to research possible solutions to problems.”

The biggest roadblock Sandy encountered was the lack of time, particularly while being a student and working full time. She quickly learned to prioritize projects and tasks. Sandy enjoyed being part of a supportive community of learners and felt she and her classmates emerged from the program as achievement-oriented developers.

Sandy’s advice to future students? Do the pre-work and as many exercises as possible. Keep an ongoing list of app ideas. When it comes time to create your capstones, you’ll have a full list of ideas to choose from. Sandy even shared her ideas with classmates to help them come up with their capstone project ideas.

Embrace the opportunity to work as a team. It’s really fulfilling to complete a team project successfully.

Sandy’s front-end capstone, called Day Trader, was an app that returned closing stock prices. The user could save a list of their favorite stocks and make notes about each one. The app was created with Angular and Firebase with a call to Quandi, a financial database.

For her back-end capstone, Sandy created an app called Volunteer Track to track volunteer hours, mileage, and monetary donations. The app makes it easy to pull all this information together when you’re ready to file your taxes. It also has suggestions of nearby places to volunteer. The app was built with ASP.NET MVC, Entity Framework, and the repository pattern to interact with her SQL database on the back-end and AngularJS for the front-end.

During her job search, Sandy is working on a few projects of her own and is working with a mentor to stay fresh with her skills. She’s also reviewing what she learned at NSS with Team Treehouse, Quizlet, and SoloLearn. The learning never stops for our graduates!

Listen to Sandy’s interview with Clark Buckner about her NSS experienceand check out Sandy’s profile.

Odigene Joseph

There’s nothing like a recommendation from a good friend who knows you well. Odigene heard about NSS from his dance partner and NSS alumni, Nicole Ahima. Odigene was looking for a stable career that would allow him to use his creativity and Nicole thought becoming a developer would be a good fit. He joined Evening Cohort 3 and is thankful for the relationships he built with his classmates. He lauded the group saying, “They are more than classmates to me. They are my friends, and I love all of them.”

Everyone (in my class) has the potential to be phenomenal developers, and I know they can do it if they put their minds and computers to it and go for it.

Odigene’s toughest critic in the program was himself. In addition to the bootcamp and working full-time, he was also doing homework for grad school! He often felt like he wasn’t good enough or not smart enough to keep up with his classmates, but his cohort didn’t leave him behind and the instructors made sure the entire class understood what that they were learning and were set up for success.

Odigene encourages students to do their pre-work, stating, “There is no such thing as too much preparation.” He also encourages students to always be coding, ask questions, and help each other outside of class. And finally, don’t postpone your job search for after Demo Day. “Once your resume has been reviewed and essentially approved by our amazing career guru Jessica Brawner, begin applying for jobs on a daily basis no matter what time of the year it is,” he stated. “Know your worth, don’t let your impostor syndrome get in the way of you asking for the salary that you are worth and being picky about the work environment that you need. Your work environment is going to be vital to your success and growth as a developer.”

For his front-end capstone, Odigene built an app called Dance Event Central that tracks dance events and where they’re being held. His passion for dancing made it easy to get excited and motivated to put in the extra time needed to launch his app. He built it using AngularJS and Google Maps API.

Odigene’s back-end capstone, called Poetic Cloud, gives poets another medium to showcase their work. He focused on simple first to ensure he had a working app by Demo Day and made a few modifications at the end to spice it up. He built the app with C#, .NET on the back-end and Razor and Angular on the front-end.

In his free time, Odigene is learning SQL, Java, and revisiting the foundations he learned at NSS. He is committed to having a strong foundation of knowledge. By the time Demo Day started, Odigene already had a job offer. Literally, the offer call came in as he was setting up his table. He was grateful for the mock interview he had with instructor, Jurnell Cockhren, as it helped him see where he needed to strengthen his skills. By the time the real job interview happened, Odigene felt prepared and got the job!

Listen to Odigene’s interview with Clark Buckner about his capstone projects and check out Odigene’s profile.

Matt Bruton

Matt explored development at an early age. From the time he was nine, he played around with the website generators on Angelfire and GeoCities. Matt was tempted by a button on the page that had a “terrifying” warning attached to it. The warning cautioned that there was no way to undo the changes if you clicked it. You would be managing your website with your own files instead of their templates. He pushed the button and found himself learning HTML.

Matt has always loved taking things apart to see how they work and troubleshooting issues. This originally led him to a career in repairing photo copiers. But it didn’t take long before he decided to pursue a career in development instead.

I think it’s amazing what problems you can solve or tools you can create to improve people’s lives with a few lines of code and a little planning.

Matt wanted a shorter timeline to becoming a developer versus a four-year degree and began to look at bootcamps. After reading reviews and hearing about the track record for NSS graduates getting jobs, Matt joined Evening Cohort 3.

For his front-end capstone, Matt built a website that simplifies the process of finding animals available for adoption through Metro Animal Control. Their current website requires a lot of steps to find a new pet, but Matt built a cleaner, mobile-responsive website with Angular and utilized the Petfinder API.

Matt’s back-end capstone is pet health management website called A user can input their pet’s medications and get reminders to give those meds. Matt built the front-end with Angular. The back-end was built with ASP.NET.

Currently, Matt is working on mini-projects to strengthen his skills and knowledge on concepts he wants to understand better.

Listen to Matt’s interview with Clark Buckner about his journey and check out Matt’s profile.

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Topics: Student Stories