On The Hunt For A Career In Web Development | Graduate Spotlight

Aug 26, 2020
Jessica Grande


Crystal Elsey of Web Development Cohort 39When Web Development Cohort 39 graduate Crystal Elsey moved to Nashville ten years ago, she was ready for a career shift from her job in sales to something centered more around logic and strategy.

“My primary career used to be in sales, which my personality recommends me for, but my spirit does not,” she explains. “I decided I wanted to focus on some hard-skills and I did a lot of research and landed on programming, and I’m glad I did because I’m really enjoying it.”


I have always been the sort of person who loves to jump in and orchestrate a solution to a puzzle or a problem, or even figure out how to make something that works, work even better.”


Crystal’s time at Nashville Software School (NSS) helped validate her choice to learn web development. “Finding something that is both enjoyable and challenging [made me realize] that I made the right career choice in my career change,” she shares. Crystal also speaks fondly of her classmates and that learning “how to develop as a team” was an important part of her web development journey. 

Every NSS student faces some challenges during their bootcamp, Crystal was no exception. She shares that the school’s shift to remote learning due to the pandemic was a struggle for her at first. “But I had great teachers and classmates, and having the structure of the class not change very much overall helped,” she recalls. “Plus, sweatpants and extra dog cuddles everyday didn't hurt.” 

Think of learning and coding as an adventure, and not a measure of your worth. Being enthusiastic instead of egotistical about what you do means you'll be the sort of team member who keeps learning, evolving, and contributing, wherever you end up working.”


For her front-end capstone, Crystal created The Hunt,  an app to track applications during her job search. Users are able to track the job applications they’ve submitted and the app records them by the date of that application. The app then triggers reminders for the users to follow up on the application or send a thank you note after an interview. Users can also keep track of their growing network by adding their connections. “I've been using it during my job search and it's been very helpful,” she exclaims. The Hunt was created using React.js. 

Decor Board, Crystal’s full stack capstone project, is “for the decor-bored.” The application works as a vision board, shopping list, and budget tracking system for decorating different rooms in your house. Once a room is created in the app, users can add a background image using their desired paint color or wallpaper pattern and images of decor items with links to where they can purchase the items. The app totals the cost of each item in the room so the user can stay within their budget. Crystal created Decor Board using React.js, C#, SQL, .NET, and Firebase for authentication. “I built both of my capstones for my own practical use,” she laughs. “We'll be re-decorating next month, and we've already started using it.”


Crystal is on the search for her first job as a junior developer. She is most excited to work in either a front-end or full stack position. “I like being able to exercise both creativity and strategic/logical thinking, and I get a lot of enjoyment from making things look awesome on the screen,” she shares. 

Learn more about Crystal by visiting her website or listening to her podcast!

Check out all the recent grads on Web Development Cohort 39’s class website and hear the graduates share their experience at NSS and capstone projects in their podcasts below.

Topics: Student Stories, Hiring?, Web Development