You Learn The Most When Things Don't Work | Graduate Spotlight

Nov 25, 2019
Mandy Arola

Melanie-BondPrior to attending Nashville Software School (NSS), Melanie Bond was working at a pre-school. She loves kids but realized that she wanted a job that would challenge her mind. After hearing her dad mention multiple times that Amazon was coming to town, she looked into what type of job opening they might have. She ran into a lot of IT and development roles during her search and decided to give tech a try. “I suddenly realized this wildly growing world of technology might need more people with social soft skills, sensibility about the environment, and knowledge of culture,” she shared. 

The NSS Experience

After exploring on her own, her friends, who were already working in tech, encouraged her to pursue a more formal way to learn so she could learn best practices. Melanie embraced the growth mindset learning environment at NSS.

Her favorite part of the bootcamp was the relationships she made. She also had some very kind things to say about the team at NSS. “The [team] at NSS expresses unconditional love and acceptance in every way to every kind of person. They are literally changing the world through the way they treat people both in the school and in the city at large.”

“Fail forward, raise your hand often, and ask your honest questions because it helps you and everyone else to learn as y’all stumble along.”

The learning experience wasn’t without challenges. Melanie explains, "React scared me. I had a panic attack one night during our first React group project, but my gut told me to go to school anyway - even though I was certain I'd fail this thing - and my classmates met my emotion with words of 'me, too' and my instructor (Joe) sat down with me to let me know he was going to be there to help me. I felt so comforted and loved that I went bravely into my front-end capstone and got [it] done! It was awesome!"

Capstone Projects

Melanie’s capstones are all about staying organized. Her front-end capstone, The Chores Board, allows users to keep track of all the chores they need to complete at home. With several roommates, it's hard to keep track of things like when the floors were last cleaned. With the app, users can add their chores and the materials they need to complete each chore in the app. They can then sort their chores by the date they need to be done so they know what to tackle first or view a list of completed chores. She built the app with JavaScript, React, and JSON Server.

The Job Sauce, her back-end capstone, is perfect for bootcamp graduates on the job hunt. When you’re applying to dozens of jobs, it’s easy to lose track of which jobs you’ve applied for and the details of each specific job opening. The app solves this problem by helping candidates keep track of the jobs they’ve applied for, the responses they received after applying, and the technologies listed in the job description. She built the app with Python, a SQL database, and Django.

“When building this app, I had to work very hard to understand what Django was capable of with regards to making SQL queries and manipulating tables. There was much failing and asking for help involved in completing the project, but, because it was difficult for me I got my head wrapped around the tech in a way I would not have if it had been easier. Designed to help myself and my graduated companions stay on top of what we need to know about the jobs we [have applied] to, The Job Sauce app is a user-specific success and I am continuing to improve it in my spare time now that I've graduated from the program.”

Hire Melanie!

While on the job hunt, Melanie is continuing to work with Python, Django, and SQL. She has also started to attend a few data science meetups to learn more about that growing field. She would love the opportunity to work with front or back-end technologies, but if she had her choice, would prefer to continue growing her Python skills and using data to improve environmental science or mental health medicine.

Hear more from Melanie about her capstone projects in her podcast. You can also learn more about her on her website and GitHub.

Check out all the recent grads on Cohort 33’s class website and hear the graduates share their journey into development and their experience at NSS in their podcasts below.

Topics: Student Stories, Hiring?, Web Development