Goodbye Dewey Decimal, Hello World | Graduate Spotlight

Apr 15, 2020
Jessica Grande



Erin Polley of Web Development Cohort 36 was a librarian in Metro Nashville Public Schools. When she was ready for a change in her career, she recalled a job she held in graduate school that she really enjoyed as inspiration for her next step. 

“I did some basic coding for the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill archives website. It was my favorite job I've ever had. I was ready for a change and thought back to that job,” she explains. “I took a JavaScript online course one summer, loved it, then bought a Python book for self study. I took the Nashville Software School (NSS) Jumpstart the next summer and confirmed my love for programming.” 

With a reignited passion for web development, Erin shares that she “put away the Dewey Decimal System and my storytime ukulele for the wonderful world of software.”


It’s easy to be overwhelmed with many extended learning options available. Erin had researched for two years before applying and chose NSS because “it's one of the premier coding bootcamps in the country, right here in our backyard.”  

Erin describes her time in bootcamp by recalling “the crazy amount of learning,” and the friendships she made along the way. “I think our cohort was special. Every person was awesome.”

Every step of the way was a huge confirmation for me [of] the joy that programming has given me...I’ve been really surprised with how creative it is.”


Capstone Projects

Erin’s front-end capstone, Bike Stash,  is a single-page React application with CRUD functionality that shows users where all the bike racks are located in Nashville. She got the idea for this app while riding her bike around Nashville. She wanted to make it easier for herself and other bike enthusiasts to get around. “I enjoy commuting around on my bike, and I would love to have this tool for myself.” she shares. 

Bike Stash is a single-page React application with CRUD functionality that shows users where all the bike racks are located in Nashville. Users can look on a map and see if where they're going 1. has a bike rack, and 2. the specific location of the rack.Using Mapbox, Leaflet, and the use of an external API of the City of Nashville to create a custom map, the app shows city-provided bike racks, and users have the ability to add bike racks that they see around town with photos, address, details, bike capacity, etc.

PlantPal is Erin’s back-end capstone that helps plant owners remember when to water their plants on the correct days. “It takes the guesswork out of when to water your plants,” she explains. “Basically, I've overwatered many succulents and under-watered many flowers. That's also a story I've consistently heard from other people. I love having plants in the house and decided that our plants deserve better. That's when PlantPal was born.” 

To create this helpful reminder app for plant owners, Erin used Python, Django, SQLite, JavaScript, Cloudinary, Bootstrap (in the form of Bootswatch), and DBeaver. Users of PlantPal can save their plant information and photos to the database (as well as edit and delete them), log how often their plants need to be watered, and be informed on the correct day when to water the each plant. When users mark plants as watered, it effectively starts the countdown over.


Now enthralled with the “wizardry of coding,” Erin is looking for a front or back-end job to start her career in web development. Meanwhile, she is currently working on refactoring her capstone projects & capstone stretch goals. She shares, “I'm excited to continue utilizing my natural curiosity and user-focused design in the tech industry.” 

Learn more about Erin and her passion for coding by listening to her podcast or visiting her website

Check out all the recent grads on Web Development Cohort 36'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