I love how there are very little limitations when it comes to coding… If you have an idea, then just build it. Basically, it’s just that simple. The biggest limitation is yourself.“–Ausar McGruder
Coding Dojo graduate Ausar McGruder is a former model, stuntman, and actor who wanted to be something more than just what he was and what he already achieved. He went to one of our bootcamps’ open houses, loved everything, and signed up as the first step to his goal. He graduated in Washington D.C. bootcamp and is currently employed as a Software Developer at Salient CRGT.
Let’s get to know more about his experience before, during and even after Coding Dojo.
What were you up to before Coding Dojo?
Before Coding Dojo, I was a Computer Science student at Howard Community College and a part-time server. Before that, I was an actor and model in New York City.
Do you have any experience in coding?
Yes, but very little. I took a basic HTML class in high-school and completed a few small animations on Code Academy. I was originally an Aerospace Engineering student but switched to Computer Science because I liked all of my programming classes more than the engineering itself. Also, I love how there are minimal limitations when it comes to coding.
As an engineer, you’re limited to your resources, funding, and materials. You don’t have those same problems with programming. If you have an idea, then just build it. Basically, it’s just that simple. The biggest limitation is yourself and maybe a lack of creativity.
How did you end up choosing Coding Dojo to learn to code?
To be completely honest, they kept popping up on my Facebook. They had an open house, I was off that day, so I thought..sure why not, I’m off. I went in, and I loved everything about it, so I signed up.
What were your expectations for Coding Dojo?
My expectations were just to get better at coding quicker than I would if I was continuing with my CS classes.
How did Coding Dojo try to meet or exceed those expectations?
I really wasn’t expecting to become a Software Developer able to work both front-end and back-end. I know that’s what they advertise, but I was just trying to get better at coding. I ended up becoming a Software Developer then got a job in Cyber Security. I wasn’t expecting that at all.
How was your experience in bootcamp?
I decided to do the on-site D.C bootcamp. Overall, my experience was very good. I’ve already recommended it to pretty much all of my friends who are into tech.
Did you meet any challenges in the bootcamp? How did you, with the help of the instructors, overcome it?
I had a very rough time there due to a lot of personal issues, but there was such a strong support system there that I ended up getting through it. The instructors and Herman always gave a lot of support.
I remember a time where Dan (the Captain) took me out to lunch to just talk about stuff, not even tech related, but just life and how everything was going. He could tell I was stressed about more than coding. That meant a lot to me and was really surprising because that’s not how college is at all. The instructors were very knowledgeable and regularly stayed late if we needed help. I really liked the facilities as well.
What do you think you would have missed or regret if you did not join Coding Dojo?
Literally, everything. I’m making good money working in Cyber Security and loving life. I would still be a broke, stressed college student with a ton of debt, serving part-time to pay bills if I didn’t join Coding Dojo. I hate serving..passionately!
How did your experience in Coding Dojo help you today and how do you think it would still have an impact on your life in the near future?
The Coding Dojo has had an enormous impact on me. It’s the reason that I’m working on Cyber Security. I started out as a contractor where I was contracted out to a tech school to teach Python. I did an excellent job as a contractor, so they offered me a full-time position as a Systems Analyst. I also have a few ideas for tech companies so the coding skills will definitely be useful for that.
What area of Coding Dojo do you think needs improvement?
More options for those people who don’t necessarily want to take a full boot camp, but want to take a course in just Python or Java for example. Also, more coding tutorials especially for the harder projects.
How would you compare yourself, before coming to Coding Dojo, with what you came to be when you stepped out of the bootcamp?
After leaving the Dojo, I feel that I’m exponentially more focused; coding all day, it teaches you to focus on what you’re doing and pay attention to small details. During my yellow belt exam, I almost failed because of one character. I wasn’t paying attention and put “30 px” of padding on everything. That and a few other failures based on lack of attention to detail taught me to focus and pay attention to what I was doing.
I’ve also become a much better problem solver. You’re constantly solving problems as a developer. Page won’t load, dependencies don’t match, differences in OS, error, error, error…error! You get used to running into a problem and efficiently troubleshooting and solving that problem. And I’ve been doing that in my personal life as well.
You wanted to be more than just being pretty on pictures as a model, how do you think you achieved that?
Well, now I’m using my brain for something important..something that can benefit people. Not to say that modeling isn’t beneficial, but I’m part of an industry and service that is essential to people living their daily lives. I think that’s pretty cool.
What would you like to say to those who are having second thoughts about joining Coding Dojo?
Just do it. Those stats that they advertise on their website are 100% accurate. They literally matched up with all of my classmates who graduated before me, with me or after me. I got my first offer right after I graduated. Some people get their first offer a few months after they graduate. It depends on the person. You’re going to attend, shock yourself with how much you’ve learned and ended up making good money a few weeks to a few months after you graduate.
Written by: Kassandra L. Jucutan /09/20/18