Pay It Forward | Graduate Spotlight

Apr 1, 2020
Jessica Grande



After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in animation, Web Development Cohort 35 student Quin Smith worked freelance for a time, ranging from graphic design, motion graphics, and video editing. Quin’s first encounter with web development was as a graphic design intern in Silicon Valley. He felt there were opportunities to be discovered on the creative side of tech after he witnessed a mock-up design of his go from a Photoshop file to a fully functional web page. “I knew this was something that I wanted to [learn more about],” he explains. 

Having seen the tech field’s quick expansion in Middle Tennessee, Quin felt the time was right to shift his career, but did not want to pursue another four-year degree. He started researching his education options and found Nashville Software School (NSS).  “I'd heard nothing but positive things about NSS while doing the research early on,” he shares. With his background in graphic design, NSS’s Front-end Web Designer/Developer Bootcamp was the perfect complement to his skill set.

NSS Experience

Quin speaks highly of “pinpointing the exact moments when writing code began to make sense, meeting so many new people, both in and outside of my cohort, and the unexpected friendships that came about as a result.”

It wasn't until I decided to pursue additional education through Nashville Software School that I discovered just how much I enjoyed the ‘puzzle solving’ aspect of writing code.”

Capstone Projects

Hope is the name of Quin’s front-end capstone project. Being inspired by the gilded comments and support people share among Reddit threads, he wanted to take this “pay it forward” concept and apply it to the Nashville community. Users of the app can raise different “issues” that they either notice in their community or experience themselves, e.g., a flat tire or an elderly community member that needs help with yard work, and pin the issue to the map. Then, everyone on the app in the area can come help resolve the issue. 

He used React with React Strap to design Hope and incorporated a map API. “Most people use Google Maps when they are involving a map in their apps but I branched out and used a map API called Leaflet,” Quin explains.  

For his final capstone, Quin felt inspired to finish building the front-end application for Bangazon, a fictitious NSS company run by our full stack bootcamps. His cohort started the process as a group project. They conducted user interviews, designed user interfaces, and tested those interfaces, but because of time constraints they could not complete the build of the front-end application. 

To help future full stack students visualize what they were creating on the server-side, Quin built the client-side (or front-end) of the application using React and a pre-populated database provided by the instructors. He styled it with elements from the Semantic UI library. “When this project was originally introduced, the idea that future cohorts would potentially utilize our work to assist in building their projects was something that just resonated with me,” he shares. 

NSS has this culture of supporting those that follow in your footsteps and this was another extension of that mindset."


Quin is now a full-time web developer at the tech company, Ambition. He gives high praise to NSS’s Career Development team for assisting him during his job search and encourages students to trust and use their help while looking for their first job in development. 

“It’s very daunting at first. They constantly tell you ‘trust the process,’” he recalls. “Kristin McKinney [of the NSS Career Development team] was really in my corner through the entire process.” 

Learn more about Quin by listening to his podcast or visiting his website

Check out all the recent grads on Web Development Cohort 35's class website and hear the graduates share their journey into development and their experience at NSS in their podcasts below.

Topics: Student Stories, UI/UX, Web Development