From Assistant to Engineer | How Online Alumni Billy Ding Broke Into the Tech Industry

Pre-Dojo:
  • Worked as an Office Assistant
  • Briefly studied computer science in college before dropping out
  • Wanted to start a career in tech quickly and thought a bootcamp would prove to himself he could do it
After Dojo:
  • Works as a Software Engineer at Afterpay
  • Love being in the tech industry and his newfound soft and technical skill set
  • Dreams of growing into a Technical Lead & Architect role
Program: Online Full-Time Bootcamp
Testimonial:

If this is something you want to do, go all out and learn as much as you can. If a college dropout with no relevant work experience like me can attend a bootcamp and land a great job in less than 9 months (from the start of bootcamp to landing the job), so can you. High-paying tech jobs are out there and they are hiring more than ever.

Tell us a little about yourself. Age, hobbies, passions, and what you were doing (professionally) before the bootcamp?

Hi! I’m Billy. I’m 25 years old. When I was a kid, I was always outdoors playing sports and wasn’t really into tech, but I slowly got obsessed in college. I wrote my first line of code in college but quickly fell behind and failed the class. In fact, I failed several computer science classes in college and ended up dropping out. It was rough. To go from that to now being a professional software engineer shows that anyone can learn this stuff, no matter their background. I love my job and being in the tech industry. I’m constantly impressed with how quickly tech advances and it’s a fun roller coaster to be on. Some of my hobbies include playing ping pong and watching basketball.

Prior to the bootcamp, I was working as an Office Assistant. 

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

I wanted a career in tech and I wanted it as fast as possible. I liked the idea of coding bootcamps because they provide a focused curriculum and lots of practice. I thought of a coding bootcamp as a chance to prove to myself that I was better than my poor college showing and that I had what it takes to break into the tech industry.

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

I wasn’t sure I could afford the time and financial commitment. I overcame it by saving up and taking out a loan. That allowed me to quit my job and commit fully to the bootcamp.

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

I chose Coding Dojo because I had several friends attend and they encouraged me to consider it.

What was it like getting ready for the bootcamp? Were you nervous, excited, etc.? How did you prepare?

I started studying full-time about a month before the start of the bootcamp. First, I went over the provided prep materials. Then, I watched introductory computer science lectures on YouTube (there are a ton of free resources on the Internet) and I coded up as many programs from those lectures as I could. It gave me a ton of background knowledge and coding practice and I felt extremely prepared when the bootcamp began.

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

For the first few weeks, I was learning new tools and concepts every single day. I liked how we would code multiple small programs every day. It provided a sense of accomplishment. A lot of them seem repetitive until you find out how small design differences introduce new techniques. I struggled at first with getting my computer set up for development and debugging errors. That’s what the TA’s and instructors are there for 🙂

How did you overcome the obstacles or struggles you faced? 

The TA’s and instructors were great in helping me with any struggles. One-on-one meetings and code reviews were available whenever I needed one. There was always someone to point me in the right direction.

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

I liked how projects became more and more competitive as our skills improved with every stack. It pushed me to keep improving my projects up to the last minute before presentations. 

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

I felt like there were hundreds of topics that I wanted more time with. I reviewed all the topics that were covered and solidified to myself what I was good at and what I needed more time studying. That was important for me because it provided a roadmap for studying and job hunting after graduation.

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

It was a tough grind. I alternated between excited and depressed depending on whether or not I had an interview scheduled. Looking back, I did not manage my time very well and that definitely prolonged my job hunt. At one point, I was afraid of applying to jobs because I didn’t want to fail the interview, which of course is ridiculous! There is nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing an interview. It took 5 months and several final-round rejections but I was able to land a job as a software engineer at Afterpay.

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

I got a lot of practice collaborating and presenting. Being able to explain what something does, how it does it, and why it’s important is an essential skill to have for interviews and on the job.

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

If this is something you want to do, go all out and learn as much as you can. If a college dropout with no relevant work experience like me can attend a bootcamp and land a great job in less than 9 months (from the start of bootcamp to landing the job), so can you. High-paying tech jobs are out there and they are hiring more than ever.

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

I hope to one day be a Technical Lead and Architect. 

If you are interested in learning how to code and upgrading your career, 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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