From Electrical Cables to Full-Time Coder | How Online Alumni Dustin Crawford Pivoted His Career In Tech

  • Worked as an Electrical Engineer
  • Had dabbled with coding via a few Udemy courses, and wanted a bootcamp education to learn coding skills quickly
  • Was exhausted from work travel and desired a new career
After Dojo:
  • Works as a Junior .NET Developer
  • Has newfound problem-solving, teamwork, and of course, coding skills
  • Dreams of becoming a Senior Developer, Tech Lead, and/or Tech Architect in the next 5-10 years
Program: Online Full-Time Bootcamp

I feel Coding Dojo taught me great skills and fundamentals while showing me different platforms and languages. All of my collaboration skills came from my experiences at Coding Dojo. Learning to work with others through media like Zoom and Discord are skills I put into practice every day in my position.

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

I am 40 years old, 39 when I attended Coding Dojo. I enjoy tabletop and board games with the family, video games on PC and PlayStation, snowboarding when the season is here in Virginia, a regular exercise routine, and of course learning new architectures and platforms for coding web applications.

Prior to the bootcamp, I was an electrical engineer, working in data centers across the US and Canada.

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

I was exhausted from all of the constant travel and I had a real interest in coding. I had taken a few courses on Udemy and liked what I saw. I decided that a bootcamp would be the best way to learn the skills quickly and Coding Dojo stood out amongst the ones I found online. 

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

I was afraid of coding bootcamps where all grads ended up working for the bootcamp because they did not learn skills that would make them eligible for hiring by tech companies. I feel Coding Dojo taught me great skills and fundamentals while showing me different platforms and languages.

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

Knowing that we would build three real projects that we could then show to employers was the main perk. A close second was the career services team after the school was done. They helped me get an outstanding resume that I was proud to show to potential employers.

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

The Web Fundamentals course was a lot of fun for me. I get a lot of satisfaction using css and html to make a page look great. I found the algorithms to be an interesting and educational challenge. When the first stack, Python came along, I was a little worried about learning a coding language I had never used before, but the curriculum and the instructor made sure that we understood it.

How did you overcome the obstacles or struggles you faced? 

The twenty minute rule saved me. If I was personally very stuck, I would ask a question in Discord and either another student or a TA would be right there to help me. I also developed my google skills which helped me learn more about a particular topic quickly.

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

I really enjoyed the final week of each stack where we would build a project in teams of about three people. I got to know some great people and really enjoyed collaborating on technologies that were new to me, such as as an example. They really took me in directions I hadn’t thought of.

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

I had faith in the skills that I had developed, despite the speed at which I had learned them. It is really easy to forget skills that come quickly if they are not used. I continued to practice to ensure I retained them while applying to jobs by thankfully being taken on as a TA by Coding Dojo.

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

My job hunt was a little shorter than expected. My Career Services Manager Joseph helped me out with a great resume template and many websites to post on. I took a position with Zolon Technologies; a contractor for the U.S. Department of State with a starting salary of $80,000/year for a Junior .NET Developer position!

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

All of my collaboration skills came from my experiences at Coding Dojo. Learning to work with others through media like Zoom and Discord are skills I put into practice every day in my position. 

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

If you cannot go to the campus for whatever reason, set up a little area away from others in your household. A semi-quiet and private place will help you focus. Also, be ready to devote the time each day to truly pursuing new skills. Most importantly, get to know your cohort members!

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

In 5 to 10 years I will move up my chosen career ladder. Senior Developer is completely reasonable, but my dream would be to achieve Tech Lead or Architect in that time frame. Also, I will most likely move on from my current company and seek out a position with a company that uses frameworks other than strictly ASP.Net.

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.

dojo guide

Looking for a Career in Web Development?

Read our quick-start guide to becoming a Developer

  • Includes exclusive insight from a seasoned Web Developer
  • Uncovers the top career misconceptions holding you back
  • Highlights the must-have qualities all employers require
  • 89,615 downloads to date