From Dallas Musician to Full Stack Developer | How Breanne Johnson Embraced “Strength Through Struggle” to Launch a New Career

  • Worked as a freelance touring musician
  • Wanted to stop travelling for work
  • Felt like an imposter & feared she wouldn’t be able to learn coding
After Dojo:
  • Works as a Full Stack Developer
  • Embraces “strength through struggle” by pursuing personal breakthroughs in her skill set
  • Excited to continue growing professionally
Program: Three Full-Stack Bootcamp in Dallas, TX

It was the best decision I could’ve made once I knew I wanted my next career to be in software development. I went in knowing very little and graduated with a wealth of knowledge that helped jumpstart my new career.

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

I was born and raised in Minnesota, but I now live in Dallas with my husband. I am 32 and my interests include music production, traveling, long-form podcasts, and amateur food photography.

Prior to Coding Dojo, I was a freelance touring musician for 10 years.

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

I became increasingly interested in software throughout my music career, as I heavily relied on music apps for my job, such as Ableton and Apple’s Logic/Mainstage. Once I decided I wanted to stop traveling for work, I started to consider my options. I spoke to a few people who had made career changes and got into tech – saying it was a fantastic industry to get into now – and they were right!

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

Like a lot of prospective students and even professional developers, I felt like an imposter. But what I’ve learned through school, and now at my first job, is that everyone starts from ground zero and even senior devs still need to Google things!

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

I chose Coding Dojo because of the three-stack curriculum. I wasn’t sure what focus or language I would be interested in, so the idea of learning a variety of material in the program really interested me.

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

I was nervous and excited. I went through a couple free beginner courses online and read an intro to Javascript book. These were very helpful for me.

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

The Web Fundamentals course was definitely a lot to learn and felt a little overwhelming at first, but I used that knowledge every single day for the rest of the bootcamp and still now in my current job. It becomes second nature after a while. I really love design too, so learning CSS was so fun for me!

How did you overcome the obstacles or struggles you faced?

The biggest struggle for me, personally, was the constant amount of new information. There are so many new concepts I was constantly learning but staying focused and determined led to success for me. Thankfully, I had very few distractions outside of class so I was able to be 100% present throughout the program. Also make sure to stay hydrated and get enough sleep!

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

Even though the program is very challenging, it makes such a difference to go through it alongside your classmates. My cohort was so great – we got to rejoice in our breakthroughs and be there for each other through the difficult days. We still keep in touch through our Discord group chat! I also really loved that we all came from different backgrounds – I was in the program with a nurse, a flight attendant, a couple professional athletes, just to name a few – I loved that! 

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

Just like starting the bootcamp, I felt both excited and nervous. I was intimidated to start the job search, which seems normal for anyone breaking into a new career. However, I felt very confident in how much knowledge I had learned in the program. I also felt very confident in my ability to continue learning, which is truly a great part of the Coding Dojo curriculum – they teach you how to learn!

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

My Coding Dojo Career Services Manager offered great insight through the process including helping me maximize LinkedIn and do interview prep — these advisors are a huge perk of the bootcamp, use them! After graduating, I split time every day between sending out applications, taking additional courses and attending meetups. 

After about 1.5 month, I got a job as a Full Stack Developer at a company that provides point of sale and back office software for beer, wine and liquor retailers. This year, they planned to roll out new apps (web and mobile) for customers to shop and order items online, similar to Drizly. 

The stack they use was actually not one I learned in the bootcamp, but my work at Coding Dojo proved I had the ability to learn new languages and frameworks quickly. It’s important to note that I heard about the job through a personal contact – network, network, network!

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

It was the best decision I could’ve made once I knew I wanted my next career to be in software development. I went in knowing very little and graduated with a wealth of knowledge that helped jumpstart my new career. If you stay focused and disciplined, you’ll be successful. Give yourself grace on days that are really challenging and know that breakthroughs are coming!

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

A really valuable mindset I learned while in the bootcamp that I use everyday in my job now is “strength through struggle.” I will always try my best to solve a problem on my own before asking for assistance, which most of the time leads to personal breakthroughs I wouldn’t have had if someone would’ve just shown me how to do something. I also learned how to collaborate with others which is very valuable in this industry. Humility and being a good listener go a long way!

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

I am excited to continue growing and get better at what I do. I hope to dig deeper into design and front end technologies. A specific goal of mine is to have a fully remote position in 3-5 years where I can work from home and have the flexibility to visit my family in Minnesota anytime.

If you are interested in learning how to code and starting the path to land your dream job, 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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