You Can Learn A Lot In Six Months | Graduate Spotlight

Apr 2, 2019
Mandy Arola

Nolan-LittleNolan Little moved to Nashville to pursue a career in audio production but quickly discovered that he didn’t enjoy it as a job. He started working as a server and a bartender and found he enjoyed working in the restaurant industry and was even studying to become a sommelier, but he didn’t want to become a restaurant manager. He was talking with some friends about what his next career move might be and one of them, who had no coding background, shared about an article he had recently read about how programmers think and thought Nolan would be a good fit.

Why NSS?

Nolan decided to give coding a try and started learning with online resources like freeCodeCamp and was excited about this career path. When he discovered Nashville Software School he was skeptical. He doubted he would be able to learn front-end and back-end development in only six months. He decided to attend an info session to see what NSS was all about. The info session left him presently surprised and he decided to give NSS a trial run with Web Development Jumpstart.

After going through Jumpstart and talking with multiple folks in my community who had been through NSS or knew of it, I had still only heard good things about it. I decided to dive in because of the stellar reputation of NSS and my desire to get started as soon as I could on this new path.

Bootcamp Is Not Easy – The People Make A Difference

There are a lot of demands during bootcamp. Not only are you learning to code in multiple languages, but you’re also preparing to start your career as a junior developer. That means writing a resume, building a portfolio website, updating your Linkedin profile, attending networking events and more. Nolan shared, “My biggest roadblock was towards the end of the third sprint. Final resume revisions were due, I needed to tweak my portfolio site, I hadn't locked in a capstone idea, and everything was starting to become a bit overwhelming. After some planning and organizing my thoughts I was able to prioritize and work through it all.”

Nolan’s favorite part of his six-month journey was bonding with his cohort, Cohort 28. “Everyone was fantastic, supportive, and helpful,” he said. “Everyone came together to make it a great experience.”

He encourages students to keep track of their journey, even if is a short journal entry every couple of weeks. “[The bootcamp] flies by and everything will get a bit blurry. It’s easy to lose focus on how far you have come,” he explained. Thinking back to week one, he recalled, “I didn’t even know what an array method was in JavaScript. It’s a crazy feeling.”

Capstone Projects

For his front-end capstone, Nolan was inspired by his audio engineering background to explore audio recording in the browser. He created a dictaphone application, called ReSpeak, that allows a user to record song demos, meetings, speech rehearsals, etc. Audio files can be associated with notes and a description and can be organized in folders. The application was built with React and uses the MediaStream API to connect to the user's microphone, Firebase for long-term storage of the audio files, ReactStrap for layout and modals, and JSON server for data persistence of user-generated data.

Nolan built his back-end capstone for a non-profit he works with called Swing Dance Nashville. They needed a better tool to manage their volunteers for weekly events. He started by tackling the most important pain points generated by their current tool and met with the president of the organization to make sure he was covering their needs. inStep streamlines scheduling for recurring events and lowers the barrier of entry for volunteers by not requiring a login. The application was created with Python and Django web framework and relies on the Python standard library Calendar and JavaScript for a dynamic scheduling experience.

Hire Nolan

Nolan describes himself as a “big picture” guy; he likes to know what’s happening with the whole project. So while his strengths are in back-end development and working with data, Nolan hopes to find a full stack developer position.

Becoming a software developer means a lifetime of learning. While he searches for his first tech job, Nolan is learning about reading and writing CSV and PDF files with Python and exploring ETL tools. He is also planning his next project which involves using Python for data analytics within a web app.

Learn more about Nolan on his website.

Check out all of the recent grads on Cohort 28's class website.

Hear the graduates share their journey into development and their experience at NSS.

Topics: Student Stories, Hiring?, Web Development