From cush career to coding school: 4 grads share their stories

February 16, 2017

So, you want to make a career change, leaving your cush but boring job to become a developer. But you have almost no coding experience. Is it crazy to think such a move could work? We recently caught up with four recent grads of Chicago-based software development bootcamp Coding Temple to find out.   

For Brian Frederick, who started his career in arts management, coding represented a massive change, but he was ready for something new. “I was open to any possibility, looking for the most opportunity for independence, civic relevance and job-demand,” he said. “Web development came high on that list.”

Initially, Frederick’s family was skeptical he could reinvent himself in such a short time.

“I was, too,” he said. “We were all thrilled to be proven wrong.”

That’s not to say it was easy. Having little coding experience, he feared falling behind.

“I was afraid I’d discover I wasn’t any good,” he said. “I soon learned that, as long as you're putting in effort, Coding Temple will find a way to bring you along.”

That freed him up to learn, including from his peers.

“I was always amazed, when working with a partner, how we both managed to get the correct result through completely different means.”  

The day after completing Coding Temple, he was hired as a .Net Developer for NCC Media, a scenario he describes as “beyond my wildest hopes.”

For TJ Boskelly, bootcamp was also a big change.

Prior to Coding Temple, he was in engineering product development for consumer products. Five years in, he started to wonder if a more innovative career was out there. Specifically, he wanted to leverage his reverse engineering skills but wasn’t up for starting over with a master's.

After an ill-fated attempt to teach himself to code, he enrolled in Coding Temple. Boskelly was prepared for the program’s intensity. Less expected was how much his passion grew.

“I found myself becoming more excited to go to class, even after working a full day,” said Boskelly.

Was it worth it? Hired right out of bootcamp, he’s now an Associate Solutions Engineer at Salesforce.

Before Clayton Halaska entered Coding Temple, he knew a thing or two about the importance of job demand. He was a recruiter.

“You couldn’t go to a recruiting convention without hearing about the effort to find more programmers,” said Halaska.

He had very little knowledge of how to write code, but took the plunge nonetheless.

This gave his family pause. After all, he’d lose his steady income for three months.

As with Frederick, the worry was unfounded. Hired on his second to last day of class, Halaska started as a .Net Developer the following Monday.

For anyone seeking to take such a leap without a lot of coding experience, all of these graduates make one thing clear: In order to succeed, experience isn’t as important as the right attitude.

Hussain Muhammad, one of the school’s youngest graduates, would agree. He leaves us with sage advice: “Not everything will come to you instantly,” he said. “I learned that you should study hard — and be patient, especially yourself.”


Photos courtesy of featured students.

Ready to take the leap? Coding Temple, a software development bootcamp, is an accelerated learning program that give people the opportunity to switch careers without the need to spend 4 more years in traditional education. Learn more here.


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