Code That Builds Confidence | Graduate Spotlight

Dec 2, 2020
Jessica Grande


Tyler Hilliard of Web Development Cohort 41

Tyler Hilliard of Web Development Cohort 41 graduated with his bachelor’s in animation but knew he wanted to code. “I wanted to see more of what's behind the scenes and be able to take on the role of a software developer and broaden my horizons,” he explains. That’s when his sister recommended he check out Nashville Software School (NSS). 

“Upon looking at it more myself, the type of learning was right up my alley,” he shares. “The ability to see the work and get plenty of in-class time to work on it with peers that I can bounce ideas off of was ideal.” 


Tyler shares that his favorite part of his NSS experience was learning the content. “I figured I would enjoy it, but it's been a blast from the start,” he shares. “I feel like I can build whatever I want and if I don't know how, then it's pretty likely I can look up how to do it. It's been nice to learn a skill that has so many possibilities.” 

It's easy to become discouraged when trying something new. For Tyler, his tendency to be hard on himself and striving for perfectionism was a roadblock at first. “But I persevered and did great,” he smiles. “So thanks to NSS for helping me build that confidence up!” 

As for the advice he would pass along to incoming or current students, Tyler says to “be social and make friends. It makes the whole experience that much better.” 

You can make so many cool and interesting things, so don't limit yourself. There's always more to learn.


Tyler’s front-end capstone, Roll-Out, is a web application created as a companion to the popular role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). Roll-Out allows users to create and manage characters used in campaigns for the game. “[I wanted] to make an easy-to-use and visually fluid app that lowers the barrier of entry for new players to get into D&D,” he explains. Tyler created Roll-Out using React and JSON Server. 

Opus, Tyler’s back-end capstone, is an art sharing web application similar to Instagram. The web application allows users to search by multiple criteria using dynamic queries for the app’s explore page. Opus can also recommend posts based on who the user follows. “The goal is to make a site that's easy for artists to share their art, grow a following, and easily find other artists to follow and get inspiration,” he shares. Opus was created using ASP.NET Core and React. 


Since graduating, Tyler has been learning about Unity and plans to work on researching websockets and adding notifications and direct messaging to his full stack capstone. When asked about the qualities he’s looking for in a job, Tyler shares “I'm primarily looking for something full stack or back-end focused. Also, I really want to leverage my animation background and get into the VR and AR world.” 

I've always been technically minded. This route allows me to hone new skills while bringing in animation/design skills and out of the box thinking to create something beautiful yet functional.

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

Check out all the recent grads at Web Development Cohort 41'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