Michael Clark was working in food service while studying graphic design. As a designer, he was creating a lot of designs for websites and other digital materials. Through that experience, he realized he wanted to work on the technical side. He started learning on his own but kept hitting roadblocks.
He spoke with a friend who recommended Nashville Software School (NSS) and encouraged him to apply. Michael knew that he couldn’t afford to leave his job while attending school so he opted for the part-time program. He was glad he chose that route, sharing, “everyone was in the same boat – working full-time, school at night. We had more time with the material. We were able to marinate on what we were learning.”
Michael knew he wanted to start a new career after the bootcamp and was impressed by NSS’s career placement program, which includes guidance on resumes and Linkedin, job interview preparation, and career talks with local developers and tech leaders. He shared, “Something like that is unheard of in a traditional school and ultimately was my deciding factor.”
His favorite part of the bootcamp was the NSS community. He explained, “you’re immediately placed in a room with 20+ junior developers and are provided great mentorship throughout the entire process. I met many amazing people and made great lifelong friends along the way.”
[NSS] was the best thing that happened to me.”
His front-end capstone was inspired by his desire to empower voters and lessen the influence of lobbyists on Congress. Constituency is a platform for congressional representatives to get real feedback from their constituents on current bills being discussed and voted on. It provides an easy way for constituents to share their opinions and for representatives to receive their feedback. He built the app with React and used several APIs to pull in the legislative bills and contribution information for elected officials.
Michael’s back-end capstone helps manage fish aquariums. Tank Buddy allows fish fans to input the size of their tank and get information about the volume and stock capacity. The app also alerts users about fish that are incompatible. The app was built with React Native, C#, .NET Core, and SQL Server.
It’s not easy to transition from a career like food service to a technical role at a desk all day, but Michael made great use out of our career development program. “It was a great change for me,” he shared, “but the career counselors did a great job making sure that the new skills I was acquiring would be marketable to future employers.”
Michael met his future employer during a mock interview event for his cohort. He explained, “I kept in touch with everyone they had introduced to us [throughout the program]. The skills and technical knowledge instilled throughout the program impressed my interviewers, which led to their decision to invite me onto their team.”
His advice for someone considering NSS?
“Do it. Don’t think about it. If you want to get into software [development], go to NSS. They provide you everything you need to know. It’s not going to be easy, it’s called a bootcamp for a reason, but you’re going to come out of here with a ton of skills that you can actually apply and that people are actually looking for.”
His advice for current students? “Ask questions. Ask a lot of questions. The more questions you ask, the more you will get out of the program. There are plenty of mentors willing and able to guide you down the right path.”
Learn more about Michael on his website.
Check out all of the recent grads on Evening Cohort 7's class website.
Hear the graduates share their journey into development and their experience at NSS.