Writing A New Career Path | Graduate Spotlight

Jan 23, 2019
Mandy Arola

2018_10_30_C27_00760After graduating with a degree in journalism, David Taylor struggled to find a job in-field. To make ends meet, he started stocking for a grocery store but knew he still wanted to find a career path rather than just a job. A friend encouraged him to look into web development as a potential career path with lots of opportunities. David started learning to code with Team Treehouse, but a job promotion at the grocery store stalled his efforts. Now a reset team member, he found himself on the road working 50-60 hours a week reorganizing store layouts. This physically demanding job left little time to learn to code. After receiving some advice from a friend’s dad who told him that Nashville Software School (NSS) would be the best way to break into web development, David decided to make the career leap. He applied and was accepted into Cohort 27.

David loved building relationships with his classmates and instructors. He shared, “it’s such a warm community that welcomes you regardless of who you are. I’m certain I’ll stay connected with the school and my classmates for years to come.”

Roadblocks are a part of the bootcamp experience. David’s roadblock was his own expectations. “Because the learning is so fast-paced, you feel the pressure to immediately grasp the material,” he explained. “But that’s not how it works. It’s a process that’s specific to every person and you just have to work your own way through it.”

The challenges in school seem daunting, but if you take a moment to consider how much those challenges will help you grow as a developer and as a person, they become exciting. You learn to welcome them.

For his capstones, David built two applications centered around mental health, a topic very personal to him. He shared, “I was diagnosed bipolar in 2012, and re-diagnosed over the years several times, finally reaching my current diagnosis: schizoaffective. The process of learning to understand my brain and manage its deficits is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. So I wanted to design applications that make it easier for people who are going through what I went through. It wasn’t easy.”

His front-end capstone is a mood tracker called Meme-otional. The app allows users to chart their mood from day to day using gifs. His goal was to add an element of fun to the real work of gaining emotional self-awareness. He built the app using ReactJS, React Semantic UI, and React ChartsJS 2. “Dealing with state and props in React was a challenge that was difficult to overcome,” he said. “But once I understood the connection between state and props, things became clear and I started making serious progress.”

For his back-end capstone, David’s goal was to build an app that provides affordable access to mental health information and decreases the stigma surrounding mental health. MentalSelf is a testing application for children, teenagers, and adults to understand the likelihood of that person having a mental disorder based on the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5). MentalSelf is an MVC web application using Entity Framework and utilizing the MVC extension of CanvasJS for charts.

During his job search, David is working to make his capstone projects more user-friendly and not just functional. He really enjoys working with back-end technologies and databases. He likes that C# has rules and structure.

To learn more about David, visit his website.

Check out all of the recent grads on Cohort 27's class website.

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

Topics: Student Stories, Hiring?, Web Development