A Creative Career Change with Coding | Graduate Spotlight

Apr 29, 2020
Jessica Grande


MEET Christian

Where were you before Nashville Software School (NSS)?  It’s a question posed to cohort graduates and one that seldom has the same answer. For Web Development Cohort 36 graduate Christian Pippin, he attended nursing school for two years and managed inventory at The Escape Game before discovering that he could use his creativity in software development. 

As a creative type, Christian was looking for a way to put his creative abilities to good use when his cousin suggested looking into a career in software development and recommended NSS. “I like coding because it's an extremely creative field with a variety of applications,” he explains. “I've been writing poetry and creative non-fiction for years, and for the creativity that is used to write, coding takes the same, but in a slightly less structured way, which for a creative, is pretty appealing.”


It’s easy to compare yourself to others while learning a new skill. Christian found that setting reasonable expectations for himself was key to shake his urge to compare and to grow as a developer. “I would get down on myself and stunt my own learning opportunities,” he shares. “Once I figured out that I should learn at my own pace and be patient with myself, my learning experience skyrocketed.” 

When asked what he most enjoyed about his time at NSS, Christian pointed to the camaraderie between students, instructors and staff at NSS. “I enjoyed the entire process, but the aspect that shone through was the great people. Not only the instructors and staff, but my classmates were inspiring and fun to work with.”  


With code, I know I can do something creative, meaningful, and fulfilling.”


Capstone Projects

For both his front-end and back-end capstone projects, Christian leaned into his years of creative writing and his love for poetry. His front-end capstone project, The Poet’s Post, is an app to connect poets with each other, help them overcome writer’s block with random prompt generators, and share poems with one another. “I wanted to help the poetry community move a little more into the tech field and into the future,” he shares. “They say ‘there’s an app for everything,’ well, in my experience, there really hasn’t been any apps for poets to just create and share awesome poetry.” 

The Poet's Post was built using React, JavaScript, and Material UI for styling. “The external API calls random prompts based on a grammatical structure specified by the user,” Christian explains. The app features create, update, and delete functionality on all personal posts and privacy settings for all posts including, Global (for all users to view), Local (for followers of the creating user to view), and Personal (for only the creating user to view). 

Rhymocerous, Christian’s back-end capstone, has the similar functionality to his front-end project where poets can create, edit, and share poems with other writers. The difference between the two is the generator on this app will generate different rhymes for poets to use in their creative process, because, as Christian puts it, “who wants to disrupt the creative process by switching to Google every time you want to search a rhyme for ‘orange’?” 

Rhymocerous was built with React and JavaScript on the front-end and a Django Rest API. Christian used an external API to call rhymes based on a search specified by the user. “I decided to go for the full stack React app,” he explains. “I was a little bit daunted by having to build two completely separate apps and having them talk throughout this whole process. I learned a lot from this project.” 

HIRE Christian

Since graduating from NSS as a full stack developer, Christian has been working on his back-end capstone, building out stretch goals, and researching more Python documentation. He is currently looking for a full stack opportunity in his first job as a web developer and would really enjoy the opportunity to continue working in Python. 

Learn more about Christian by listening to his podcast or viewing his LinkedIn profile!

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