Learning New Tools Creates Desire To Build Tools | Graduate Spotlight

Apr 23, 2019
Mandy Arola

Kelly MorinAs a digital marketer, Kelly Morin loved learning new tools and digging into marketing technology. As her career progressed, she realized that she loved understanding the tech underneath the tools more than marketing and decided to take the leap into software development. She shared, “a number of trusted mentors suggested I consider software development due to my passion for solving problems and natural tendency towards an analytical processing style. After having an opportunity to give it a try, I knew I had found my true passion and could not imagine doing anything else in my career.”

Kelly chose to explore Nashville Software School (NSS) after speaking with several hiring managers who had worked with NSS graduates. They had expressed their confidence in the program’s rigor, quality, and skills-based curriculum that produced junior developers that were equipped to start working immediately.

The NSS Experience

To get a feel for the teaching style, Kelly attended Web Development Jumpstart. “I knew the teaching style was a good fit for me as the program really focuses on teaching through examples and short exercises,” she explained. “I can see a new tactic or tool in practice and then receive my own work to apply that concept. This hands-on approach allowed me to pick up on the material much more quickly than simply reading or watching videos.”

As a part of Cohort 28, Kelly enjoyed working on group projects. She explained, “I really felt my understanding of the concepts solidify through group projects as we were all asked to get involved with many different aspects of a project.” Group projects also gave her the chance to work with classmates that solved problems differently. “It was fun to see how playing to each other’s strengths allowed us to overcome roadblocks faster, achieve greater goals than we thought possible, and build some really amazing things,” she shared.

Break things...it’s encouraged.

Don’t be afraid to push the limits of what you’re trying to do and experiment with what’s possible based on the tools at your disposal. There may be a better solution that you [will] learn about later, but you’ll understand that solution more thoroughly because you’ve learned 99 ways to not accomplish the task.

Try not to allow the fear of failure keep you from trying something at all. Some of my best learning happened when I dug myself into crazy rabbit holes because I had an ‘I wonder…’ moment. That’s when the dots will really begin to connect – when you’re doing more than just following the direct instructions.

Capstone Projects

For her front-end capstone project, Kelly wanted to create a solution to help her with meal planning. When Kelly prepared meals she found herself with a lot of leftover ingredients that went waste or she ate the same thing for several days in a row to use up all of the ingredients. So she created Simplified Supper to help her use more of the ingredients. Simplified Supper allows you to select a few recipes for the week and then suggests other recipes based on the ingredients you’re already buying. The app ranks the recipe suggestions based on the number of similar ingredients. She built the app with React, JSON Server, and the Yummly API.

Kelly’s back-end capstone simplifies project management for software developers. While working on projects at NSS, she found the project boards and issue tickets on GitHub to be a disjointed experience. She decided to create one application where projects and issue tickets could co-exist. Check Mate allows developers to see all of their projects and view tickets based on completion status. Developers can go a level deeper with their tickets and add tasks to each one. Those tasks can be assigned to different developers. Kelly found this useful when an issue ticket covered a large piece of functionality. The app also includes a standup view so that a developer can recall the status of each ticket and when they worked on it last during their team standups. The app was built in Django and has a SQL-lite database.


At the end of all our bootcamps, students have the opportunity to participate in Demo Day. The event allows students to meet individually with employers that are hiring to discuss the projects they’ve built, what they’ve learned, and their passion for software development. Many of Kelly’s job leads came as a result of Demo Day.

“One thing that allowed me to stand out from the crowd during demo day was incorporating best practices throughout the process of developing my capstone projects. During demo day, and subsequent interviews, I had multiple employers mention that my code was clean, well documented (both in the code base and through a complete read me), and included unit testing and other features we practiced in class for ensuring quality, scalable code. I think placing a focus on a specific, achievable MVP allowed me the flexibility to ensure best practices were implemented throughout my projects and allowed my work to speak for itself.”

Learn more about her experience at NSS in her podcast.

To learn more about Kelly, visit her website.

To find out who is still searching for a job, visit Cohort 28’s class website and get to know all the graduates in their podcasts.

Topics: Student Stories, Web Development