Networking Leads To Job Offer | Graduate Spotlight

Apr 16, 2019
Mandy Arola

Rachel-DanielAs a Systems Operations Analyst for a healthcare company, Rachel Daniel was managing a team of analysts and temporarily managed a team of developers. “I always loved analyzing and presenting data, but when I had the opportunity to supervise developers, I made it a point to get familiar enough with our code base so that I could be a first line of defense for questions about our software,” Rachel shared. “As a result, I fell in love with code and realized it was my true calling.”

Rachel started to learn on her own with online courses. When she expressed her desire to change her career, several family members, who are also web developers, recommended she attend Nashville Software School (NSS).

The NSS Experience

During the first few months of bootcamp, Rachel felt like she had a good grasp on what she was learning. The lessons and projects were building on what she learned in the pre-work, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. But then came React. “I definitely had an "imposter syndrome" panic moment that this was all way too complex for me to ever fully grasp,” she explained. “In a way, that's completely true, but I learned to give up full comprehension and trust that, with work and confidence, I can meet any challenge head-on.”

At any point when I was feeling frustrated/overwhelmed, all I had to do was look back one week and realize the incredible amount I'd learned.

Looking back, Rachel is proud of the number of skills she and her classmates gained in six months.

She encouraged current students not to panic. While that’s easier said than done, panicking can actually hold you back from learning. She recommended taking a short break or going for a walk, but ultimately “trust yourself, your instructors, and your peers.”

Capstone Projects

Rachel’s front-end capstone is perfect for those who give a lot of gifts throughout the year. GiftStorm is a brainstorming app for gift-giving. It’s easy for a birthday, anniversary, or other celebration to sneak up on you and hard to come up with a gift idea on the spot. GiftStorm allows users to track interests, gift ideas, purchases, and upcoming gift-giving events. The app displays your next celebration and the status of your gift purchasing. Rachel built the app in React with a local JSON database. She used Moment.js to display the next celebration and styled it with ReactStrap and Bootstrap.

For her back-end capstone, Rachel created an app to keep track of legislation that’s of interest to the user. “In an age where most of us receive our political news from informal sources, it’s difficult to stay up-to-date with true facts about legislation in Congress,” she said. “Even with access to unbiased and thorough resources, there is such a large quantity of information that it’s a challenge to remain informed about bills that interest us the most.”

Billy delivers information on new legislation using the ProPublica open-source API. Users can view bills, statistics and graphs related to the bills, and party support. They can also save bills to review later, flag bills that interest them, and get suggestions for further reading based on their saved or flagged bills. Billy was built with Python and Django.

Conference Connection Leads To Job Opportunity

During the first month of bootcamp, our web development students learn about the importance of networking from our career development team. We encourage them to regularly attend meetups, volunteer or attend conferences, and keep in touch with the connections they make. Rachel heeded that advice and it led to a job offer two weeks before she graduated!

Every graduate’s job search is different, but here’s what worked for Rachel.

I met the hiring manager at PyTN (Tennessee Python Conference) and, though I didn't know anything about the company or position previously, our conversation made me extremely excited about the position.

I went home and immediately applied, then followed up with emails to that hiring manager, the company recruiter, and someone on that particular team that I'd met at a PyNash meetup previously, reiterating how enthusiastic I was about the position and company as a whole.

Throughout the interview process, I emphasized my previous relevant experience and how my experiences at NSS prepared me to learn quickly in a team environment and spent time researching the specific tools/technologies that company uses prior to my interviews so that I could speak with some knowledge of how my skills would benefit their team.

Learn more about her interview experience in her podcast.

To learn more about Rachel, visit her website.

To find out who is still searching for a job, visit Cohort 28’s class website.

Topics: Student Stories, Web Development