Finding A New Career To Love | Graduate Spotlight

Jun 7, 2018
Mandy Arola

There are a lot of variables that can lead our students to a career change. Some are looking for career growth or struggle to find a job in their original career path. Others simply thought a career in technology was impossible until they learned about our programs. Joe Chesney was faced with finding a new career he could love just as much as the one he had to give up.

Joe shared his story:

When I was 26, I was a professional custom carpenter. I was building my career and my company with my best friend. I was doing a job I loved in a caring and positive environment. In November 2016, I was diagnosed with bone cancer. As shocking as this was, I decided to face the situation head-on and deal with it the same way I deal with every situation: with a focused and carefully planned attack. I am blessed to have a hardworking and kind family and more friends than I could ever dream of earning. The love of my support group carried me through the nightmare of chemotherapy.

When I was done with surgery and treatment, my right arm was left partially disabled and unable to perform the tasks needed of me in carpentry. Without hesitation, I knew I wanted my next career to be in development. I had always had an interest in coding ever since the C++ classes I had taken as a teenager. Now that I'm much older, I have the positive mindset and focus to learn any language or technology I want to use.

I chose programming because of its incredible similarity to carpentry and music, and my life-long interest in technology. Ever since I was a child, I have adored software and computers. I love to plan, strategize, and execute thoughtful designs. I am a creative artist who also plays guitar in a nine-member band. I have plenty of experience working collaboratively and can visualize projects from start to finish. I was thrilled to be accepted at Nashville Software School, and the entire process has been exhilarating.

Joe ChesneyAs a member of cohort 23, Joe’s biggest roadblock was finding enough time for sleep! The desire to stay up trying to fix a bug in your code or learn more can be hard to balance with the need for rest.

Joe advises current students to ask their classmates questions. “There are so many details to coding that you can pick up from your peers,” he said. Building friendships with his classmates was his favorite part of the six-month bootcamp.

He also encourages students to embrace hands-on learning and to practice consistently. He advised, “you can only get better through hands-on experience. Spend your weekends and your nights coding and you will be amazed by the skills you gain during this program.”

His front-end capstone, Jammr, is a social media app that helps musicians make valuable connections with other musicians. Users can search for other musicians based on the instruments they play or their location and can then connect. Google Maps integration allows a user to see where others are located. Connected musicians can send private messages to each other to set up jam sessions or have conversations. These messages are live-updated through a database listener so the user doesn’t have to refresh the page to see a reply. The app was built with AngularJS.

Scoop is a website that analyzes market data for used music gear and informs the user if the current price is a good deal. Joe walked me through how he built his back-end capstone.

At first, I custom built a NodeJS web-scraper to assess previous purchases of products on Market values of used products are determined by averaging the final sale price of recent sales of the product. This market value is compared to the listing price for each product and printed onto the screen directly on the listing itself, with the percentage difference in price. Every user can easily and directly see whether the product they're viewing falls above or below the market value.

Once I got to a point in the project where I needed authentication through Reverb in order to add account-specific features, I pivoted the project away from web-scraping to using the Reverb API to retrieve data. I built the UI using ReactJS, which I learned on my own free time.

As Joe searches for his first junior developer job, preferably front-end development, he is learning more about React, styling methodologies, and refactoring his back-end capstone.

To learn more about Joe's capstones, visit his GitHub profile.

Check out all of the recent grads on Cohort 23’s class website.

Hear the graduates talk to our friend, Clark Buckner, about their journey into development and about their experience at NSS.

Topics: Student Stories