From Crafting Songs to Crafting Code | How LA Alumni David Chamberlin Followed His Passion to a New Career

Pre-Dojo:
  • Worked as a lifelong musician and producer 
  • Was (and still is) fascinated with using code to shape the world around him
  • Had spent about a year self-teaching himself how to code but needed a proper education
After Dojo:
  • Works as a Lead Programmer & Full-Stack Developer
  • Has reinforced and refined soft skills
  • Is fulfilled and proud of his new career
Program: Three Full-Stack Bootcamp in Los Angeles, CA
Testimonial:

What’s more: in my job, virtually everything I do and have done was/is new to me. But, Coding Dojo taught me “how to learn,” or in the words of Michael Choi, be a self-sufficient developer, which I believe is the sole reason I have excelled.

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

I’m 36 and have been a musician my whole life. I started with classical and later branched out into rock, pop and electro. I mainly focus on writing, performance and production. Unfortunately, the industry isn’t what it once was and I was forced to juggle various day jobs in order to pay the bills. 

Eventually I got sick of the starving artist life and decided to pursue coding, which is something I’ve wanted to do since I was kid (but never had the time). When I’m not working, I love nature and enjoy hiking and walking along the coast. I also love reading (comics especially), building things around the house, and hanging out with my cats.

Prior to the bootcamp, I was a full time musician and held down various part time day jobs.

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

I was (and am) fascinated by the idea of affecting the macro with the micro. That is to say, use my fingertips to develop things that make a meaningful, real life impact on people and the world.  The idea of using code to help shape the actual world around me was by far the biggest draw. It helped that coming from a music (and specifically music programming) background offered many parallels that made learning to code very natural for me. Of course…the salary and career incentives sealed the deal.

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

Nothing really “held me back”. But, I did feel the normal expected fears of not being able to return on my financial investment, since I had to take out a loan which also included living expenses. However, I never had any doubt in my ability or commitment, and thankfully I have been successful so far as well as completed my loan repayment.

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

What sealed the deal was probably the 3 full stacks and the ethos behind the program. More than any other bootcamp, I felt that Coding Dojo’s heart was in the right place; they had the skills, curriculum and instruction to back it up; and that I would be well rounded and be in the best position to pursue a healthy career. Looking back now, that has proven to be the case for me.

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

Well, I had already spent almost a year on self education — in the form of myriad online tutorials and free training courses; attending coding meetups which included pair programming, lectures and demonstrations; and lots of practice using such tools as codepen challenges. So for me, the only thing remaining was a proper education. That’s where Coding Dojo came in.  And because of my preparation, I was able to hit the ground running and make the most of it.

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

Algorithms were the biggest challenge for me by far. I tended to more easily pick up languages, and application or software development concepts, which was also challenging but easier to grasp. I struggled with almost everything…but the instructors were patient and thorough and were there for me every step of the way, and my fellow ninjas were very supportive. Eventually, everything that was hard became easy (well, easier).

How did you overcome the obstacles or struggles you faced? 

Patience, mental strength and sheer determination. Again, something I would not have been able to survive without the instructors, and my fellow ninjas for that matter. The environment made 100% of the difference.

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

Slither! Ping pong! But really, it was some of the best months of my life and I think I will always remember the time fondly. I did make a few friends, some of whom I’ve stayed in touch with and have continued to be a source of mutual support. 

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

Complicated…I did quite well in the program, and on one hand I felt like I had it all figured out and was ready to conquer the world. On the other, I was aware that I had barely scratched the surface and still had a tremendous journey ahead of me. So, a healthy mix of optimism and realism. I felt very good about job prospects, although it still took me about 6 months to land a proper job (and an insane amount of work researching and applying to jobs while learning/honing various skills relevant to said jobs). Honestly, the feeling of hopelessness did start to creep in but I kept at it and thankfully landed a great job which I still hold to this day.  

What’s more: in my job, virtually everything I do and have done was/is new to me.  But, Coding Dojo taught me “how to learn,” or in the words of Michael Choi, be a self-sufficient developer, which I believe is the sole reason I have excelled.

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

The job hunt was grueling and was pretty much all I did for about 6 months. I managed to dabble in a few small gigs along the way, but they practically didn’t pay and were not fulfilling.  For the most part I felt like Sisyphus and the only thing keeping me from giving up was my state of mind and work ethic. I eventually landed a job as a programmer at Tadashi Shoji, a prominent global high end fashion house. 

At first, every. single. thing. I did was hard and felt impossible. I was climbing walls all day, every day. The fact they hired me in the first place was confounding for a long time. I was experiencing Imposter syndrome to the max. But because I got through Coding Dojo, I knew I could get through this and I have. And just like with Coding Dojo, so many things that were at first hard have become easy. And now I have a fulfilling job that I am very proud of.

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

Yeah, lots of motivation and confidence. I feel like I already possessed many soft skills, but Coding Dojo certainly helped reinforce and refine them.  

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

First, make sure it’s really what you want to do, and you have the work ethic to carry you through. Then, prepare on your own as much as possible. Exhaust every single free resource you can. If by then, you still want to go through a bootcamp, make the commitment to yourself to put the work in. It couldn’t be more true… you get out what you put in.

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

I would like to be involved in work that benefits the world in more direct and meaningful ways. Fashion is great and very exciting, and I am not complaining. But, I would feel even more fulfilled knowing that I am helping humanity solve shared problems like climate change, or progress collectively in areas like space travel or scientific innovations. Or, more humanitarian-centered causes in general.

If you are interested in learning how to code and pursuing a career in tech, 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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