Proof: People Who Take Their Careers Seriously Choose Coding Dojo

  • Worked as a Cyber Security Engineer, Splunk Team Lead
  • Always desired learning how to code and felt the call of the challenge 
After Dojo:
  • Retained his role as Splunk Team Lead and took on new responsibilities as an Information Services Consultant
  • Has newfound self sufficiency and resourcefulness
Program: Online Full-Time bootcamp

When my employer learned of my recent accomplishment, I was offered the opportunity to take on an additional duty as a consultant where I would advise the company on how to integrate metrics and data dashboards built in Splunk with the company’s internal webpages. 

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

Hello! My name is Gary. I’m a 38-year-old Cyber Security Splunk (SIEM) Engineer. I enjoy the great outdoors, especially hiking, fishing, and camping. When I’m not planning an outdoors trip I like going for bicycle rides around the city. I play flag football on the weekends with a group of competitive individuals and whenever the season comes around I also play in a kickball league. I guess you can say I’m pretty active. If I let others that are close to me tell my story they’d say that Splunk and Python are my first loves. During the week I am at my computer from 8am to 10pm. Primarily, because I am in a deep learning phase and I enjoy learning through reading and doing.

Prior to bootcamp I was in the same position as I currently am, Lead Cyber Security, Splunk Engineer. I currently support the Department of Defense, Defense Technical Information Center in Virginia. 

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

When I was young my aunt asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I told her an architect. At the time I didn’t know everything about an architect, I just knew that I enjoyed building things and that seemed like the way to go. 

Now, I still enjoy building things however, my life took a turn and started to become more technology driven. Whenever I’m working at a computer, knowing that something works doesn’t seem to be enough for me. I deeply desire to know how it works. How does “A” get to “B” and then to “C” to produce “D?” This itch for more information has always driven me to know more and once I got into IT I figured the best place to be at the top of my game and to know how things work on computers was to become a developer. Coding Dojo came to me by way of Facebook. I saw an ad and thought this is my opportunity and I just went for it. I wasn’t unhappy with my current job, I just believed that knowing how to code should be fundamental when working in IT. 

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

One answer should answer this. Three stacks!! My longer answer is that I felt a call to the challenge. My recruiter said think of it like Basic Training. In basic, they challenge you physically and push your limits. In Coding Dojo they are going to challenge you mentally. 

If you’ve read the about me section, by now you know I’m competitive so the challenge, whether mental or physical, seemed like something I needed to try because anything that’s going to be mentally tough is worth the effort and I know this from experience. 

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

I was excited because I knew I was going to get the opportunity to expand my limited set of coding skills. The prep work was great because before then, I hadn’t done anything with Javascript. However, learning the T-diagram in the beginning helped me to learn to watch the code execution so that I know what’s happening or what should be happening at every line. 

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

I ended up taking the Web Fundamentals test 2 times. In the first two weeks I was still trying to adjust to the pace and curriculum. My instructor was really helpful and responsive. I really enjoyed learning HTML and CSS and I was really thankful we didn’t have to do a lot of Javascript in the beginning. 

How did you overcome the obstacles or struggles you faced? 

Unfortunately for me, I don’t admit something is hard too early so you know I’ve reached a mental limit when I’m asking questions. Luckily, all of the instructors I had were enablers. They didn’t give away answers but they made the “struggle” a little less daunting. They were really great guides to figuring things out when the going got tough. 

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

Sooooo this one time at bootcamp, one morning after doing our daily algorithms, one student made a comment about having to do algorithms, and then at least 15-20 other students went on a rant about them. Learning complex algorithms was by far one of the most challenging aspects of the course, but I always thought I was the only one having a hard time. After the big rant sessions, it gave me the chuckles and my stress was reduced because I knew that I wasn’t the only one having a hard time. That ultimately encouraged me to ask more questions about how to approach algorithms. 

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

When I came to Coding Dojo, I wasn’t necessarily looking for a job. I already had one. My dilemma was trying to figure out how I was going to do both full-time (even though this is frowned upon). After Coding Dojo and my new found skills, I decided to stay in my current position and not pursue any new jobs, because working with Splunk, I already had the opportunity to implement a lot of what I learned in the bootcamp. Especially since Splunk deals a lot with the request/response cycle and the software has an in-depth API that allows you to administer the software through it’s API. When my employer learned of my recent accomplishment, I was offered the opportunity to take on an additional duty as a consultant where I would advise the company on how to integrate metrics and data dashboards built in Splunk with the company’s internal webpages.

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

The bootcamp taught me how to be more resourceful or in Coding Dojo words, “self-sufficient.” Since the course, I’ve become more confident when reading documentation to the point where I comprehend and can implement what the documentation is saying. For example, Python’s concurrent.futures and subprocess moduleswhich I knew what they did, but didn’t know how to implement them. 

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

I would say if you’re interested and you have the opportunity, just do it. It is very rewarding and you never know where the skill will take you. If you are just starting one, first off, good luck! Study hard, put in the time and don’t forget to let your mind rest. When the going gets tough just remember you aren’t the only one and that may just give you the extra push you need.

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

I want to start my own IT contracting company that provides IT services to administer software, and Software Engineering services that develops software. 

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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