From Environmental Sciences to Engineering Databases | The Journey of Seattle Alumni Andrew Chou

Pre-Dojo:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies
  • Worked in Operations Management and Coordination
  • Fear of failure

Post-Dojo:

  • Triple Black Belt in Python, C#/.NET, and MERN
  • Improved communication and collaboration skills
  • Landed job as a Database Engineer with Walmart International

Program: Three full-stack bootcamp in Bellevue, WA

Testimonial:

I accomplished something I would not be able to without structured courses and the help from my instructors and cohorts.

 

What were you doing (professionally) before the bootcamp?

Operations management and project coordination

Beyond the desire of learning to code, why did you decide to enroll in a coding bootcamp? 

I had always liked code, but only really discovered my interest later on in my college years. I didn’t like what I was doing in my career very much, so I thought I’d give coding another shot.

What fears or doubts were holding you back from enrolling? How did you get over them?

The fear of failure was definitely the biggest one. I hadn’t coded in a while, so I wasn’t really sure where my skill set was at and if I’m still good at it anymore. Ultimately, I got over the fear by just deciding to take a chance on myself. 

What sealed the deal on Coding Dojo? Why did you choose us over other programs?

I went through a lot of reviews and a common theme was insufficient learning/training from different bootcamps. So the biggest attraction for me was the 14 week training that differentiates Coding Dojo from its competitors.

What was it like getting ready for the bootcamp? How did you prepare?

I was definitely excited to be doing what I loved but was nervous because it had been a while and I never really worked with JavaScript or any front-end technologies. I prepared with the precourse material, doing the algorithms, and getting reacquainted with the basics. 

Walk us through your first few weeks in the program. What were parts you liked? Parts you struggled with?

I enjoyed the morning algorithms to get my head back into problem solving. I think I struggled with github and working with CLI commands the most initially, but through more practice it became second nature. Now, I’m actually not really used to using GUI controls in Visual Studio.

How did you overcome the obstacles or struggles you faced?

A lot of Googling, haha. But the 20-minute rule at the Dojo really helped me expedite my learning. Just knowing there’s someone to help you troubleshoot if you can’t solve something is really helpful. 

Do you have any fun anecdotes to share about your time in the bootcamp? Make good friends? Fond memories?

I think my favorite bugs were the ones when I realized my mistake(s) as soon as I showed Cody, my Dojo Instructor, the code. It happened very often. Beyond that, I think I definitely made some lifelong friends that I can call on for help if needed. My cohort was (and is) amazing! My cohort had to move online due to the coronavirus outbreak, and I definitely miss our Zoom hangouts where we could just code, chill, and talk. 

When your graduation date was approaching, how did you feel about your skills and job prospects?

I definitely still had a ton to learn. But looking back at where I was prior to the 14-week program, I also realized that I accomplished something I wouldn’t have been able to without structured courses and the help from my instructors and cohortmates. 

Beyond the coding expertise, did the bootcamp give you anything else?

I had project management experience prior to the bootcamp, but it wasn’t technical. I’ve learned how to communicate and work through an agile environment through project week collaborations. I also got more skilled with teaching and helping others through debug sessions with my cohort. 

How did the job hunt go? Where did you land a job?

My job hunt definitely went better than I expected. I was talking with recruiters on a daily basis and just constantly working with Career Service Manager Joseph Yea (he’s awesome by the way) on improving my resume, LinkedIn, and anything that will help me stand out. 

It was worth it in the end after I got an offer with Walmart International as a Database Engineer.

What advice do you have for others who are interested in coding bootcamps or who are just starting one?

Be boundless! Go (UW) Huskies! I would say perseverance and hard work is a must, it is a bootcamp after all. The road ahead will be hard, so make sure you start getting into the habit of collaborating and asking questions so you truly understand the logic and concept behind the code. 

What are your goals or dreams for the future, say 5 or 10 years from now?

Hopefully continue to grow with my team. We’re working on some pretty cool stuff 😎

If you are interested in learning how to code and making your dreams a reality, Coding Dojo bootcamp offers accelerated learning programs that can transform your life. We offer both part-time and full-time online courses, as well as onsite (post COVID-19) programs. We also offer financing options, scholarships, and other tuition assistance programs to help you with financial barriers. 

If you want to invest in yourself and your future, there is no better time than the present! If you’re interested, use this link to schedule a 15-minute exploratory session with one of our Admissions representatives today.

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