From Theater Production to Production Engineer at Bungie | How Bellevue Graduate Hannah Preisinger Landed Her Dream Job

  • Owned a theater production company and worked in various roles at a local college
  • Didn’t have steady income or ample financial resources
  • Had minor previous experience coding
After Dojo:
  • Working three dream jobs at once, including Production Engineer at Bungie
  • Proved to herself she can learn challenging subjects quickly
  • Comfortable in high stress situations and environments
Program: Three Full-Stack Bootcamp in Seattle, WA

I just know that I’m more excited about my own future now than I ever have been in my life. Hey, thanks, Dojo. 🙂

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

I’m 24 years old, with a lifelong passion for theater (acting, directing, and more) that I turned into a full-fledged production company with a close friend several years ago. I’ve also done research in gravitational wave astronomy, may or may not have a sword collection, and love a good game of D&D.

Soon before joining the Dojo, I graduated from UW Bothell with a BA in Culture, Literature and the Arts and a minor in Consciousness Studies. During my time there I worked in their Office of Advancement and External Relations as a Web Assistant, as well as a TA in Cosmology (the one about space, not the one about makeup) for a short while. Other than that, I was running my theater company, but that was much more a labor of love than a proper job. There are plenty of previous odd jobs on my resume (barista, legal assistant, freelance video editor), but nothing that had really been “career” material.

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

I had an epiphany while eating dinner with a good friend of mine at Mox Boarding House in Bellevue. I knew that I wanted to continue pursuing theater professionally, but I didn’t want to turn it into a money-focused endeavor. Besides, it wasn’t exactly likely to provide a steady income. I was also, to put it bluntly, really sick of not having financial resources. So, I reasoned that I needed the most engaging, non-soul-sucking “day job” I could think of that would provide me a solid paycheck and still leave enough freedom to continue my creative ventures. After recalling the coding classes I took in high school and the current booming tech market in the Seattle area, I realized that going into some sort of tech job was a very wise idea. As it turned out, the friend I was having dinner with had just started attending a certain local coding bootcamp…Coding Dojo!

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

If I’m honest, the big fear for me was just getting the money to enroll. Definitely not a small amount, especially if I wasn’t going to have time for a job while attending. Thankfully I was able to secure a loan via the Dojo’s partnership with SkillsFund, which mercifully dealt with that problem.

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

Hearing from a trusted friend that this was the real deal. I consider myself very fortunate to have had an honest, personalized recommendation available for me. Obviously that won’t be available to everyone, so hey, for what it’s worth, take it from me – this is the real deal!! It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you put in the work it will spit you out the other side (exhausted but) totally ready to go apply for some awesome jobs!!

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

Oh, I was definitely a bit nervous, but I think that was mostly overshadowed by how excited I was and how stubbornly determined I was to overcome this new challenge. Having the pre-course work sent to me was actually a big help – being told ‘hey, if you can do this stuff by the time you show up for day one you’re Officially Doing Okay’ made me feel a lot more comfortable.

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

My first few weeks in the program were genuinely great! Web Fundamentals built on top of skills I’d already been fortunate enough to acquire in the past, which gave me some time to get mentally settled and adjust to my new everyday environment before getting launched into totally unfamiliar territory. I met dozens of new and interesting people, learned some new web-building tricks, and got to frantically scribble on windows like a crazy person!! It was quite good. 

Once things started getting into more unfamiliar stuff, I definitely struggled with the notion of casually asking for help when I needed it. Any of my friends who are reading this are all nodding and rolling their eyes. I’m naturally way too stubborn for my own good. But hey, I’m getting better! And honestly, I think my time at Dojo helped a lot with that. My instructors and TA’s were happy to help at any moment, and most of my cohort-mates were totally up for it as well! I was able to share some knowledge too, setting up a lovely little give-and-take of friendly advice.

How did you overcome the obstacles or struggles you faced?

I tried to get in the habit of either hardcore working or hardcore not working. If it was time to go play ping-pong, then by golly I was gonna play ping-pong and relax so hard. That meant when it was time to go back to the keyboard I was better able to put my headphones in and properly buckle down. Also snacks. I just embraced the notion of comfort food. Absolutely worth it.

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

Things I will never forget about the Dojo:

  1. Engaging in yelling, screaming, jumping-up-and-down rounds of Werewolf every Thursday, in which I brutally (fictitiously) murdered many of my classmates and one or two instructors.
  2. Joining an evening of D&D set up by one of our awesome instructors for anyone who was interested. I was one of two veteran players joined by many newbies in my group. My poor dragonborn had soup chucked at her head and rolled so many 1s, but she finally got to skewer a bandit very impressively to win the final fight of the evening. (Yes, I am a nerd. There are many nerds at the Dojo. It’s excellent.)
  3. I doodle dragons a lot. Have for years. After drawing one on a whiteboard after algorithms one of my first days, I realized I’d accidentally created a reputation for myself. One collaborative effort with a classmate (hi Nick!) remained proudly un-erased for at least a week. I stayed late the night before graduation to draw an enormous red dragon across an entire wall of whiteboards as my personal farewell. LONG LIVE DARGON THE DESTROYER.
  4. Walking peacefully through the roads of the wetland office complex to get a mocha from Café Dilettante. Oh, and speaking of wetlands…
  5. Turns out when there’s a lot of rain and your campus is located in wetlands, things can get… exciting. My graduation actually took place several hours late in a nearby hotel ballroom, because me and my classmates arrived that day – in full formal wear and high heels – to find that accessing the building was absolutely impossible by car. The only way to get in without wading through many feet of water was to approach from the farthest corner of the parking lot, balance precariously on the curbs (did I mention I was wearing heels?), and perform a couple acrobatic feats to reach the stairs. The entire cohort then stared out at our new ocean, watching and cheering as brave souls drove Jeeps through the mire or strapped plastic bags to their legs and just went for it on foot.Honestly, it was one of the best group bonding moments I’ve ever experienced.

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

By the time I’d finished all of my exams and was satisfied with my results, I felt like I’d gotten an official stamp of approval. “Yes, Hannah, you are able to Do The Stuff Well. Go forth and have employment.” There was, of course, the literal benefits of being able to list solid programming skills and projects on my resume, but more importantly, I’d proven to myself that not only could I do all that cool tech stuff, but I could learn it really quickly and in a pretty high-stress kind of way! All in all, I felt as good as I think I reasonably could have.

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

The job hunt was a long and winding road. I had decided to focus on the gaming industry, since I thought my creative background could be used to good effect alongside my new technical skills. I sent out a whole bunch of applications, heard back from a majority of them. Most were polite refusals. One or two were interviews that went nowhere. Eventually I felt like I was running out of positions to apply to and started reluctantly branching out into other industries, only to receive minimal responses there. 

Oh, and then a global pandemic happened. 

Suffice to say I was getting pretty discouraged when, lo and behold, I got an email about a job I had applied for months ago and nearly forgotten about – from none other than legendary gaming company, Bungie! 

An intensive but enjoyable interview process later, I was signed on as a Production Engineer,  a position that essentially means ‘you are the one your coworkers are going to ask questions about how all our proprietary technology works. Be able to answer them. Also please feel free and encouraged to identify weak points in our workflow and create solutions to improve them.’ Yeah, it’s a really cool job.

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

Considering a bootcamp? Have a really serious talk with yourself and make sure you’re ready to take on a lot of work in a really short amount of time. I saw many people struggle and fall behind and eventually drop out – this isn’t for everyone. But I really think it can be for anyone who puts their mind to it.

Already signed up? Heck yeah! Ask for help. Make friends. Play games. Be silly. Eat snacks. Have fun.

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

Well, I currently have my three dream jobs. Oh yeah, I also got a part-time gig as a Producer for a podcasting company out of London called Rusty Quill, who makes some of my favorite podcasts ever. I got that literally the day before I got the job from Bungie, which also happened to be my birthday. That was a really good couple of days. 

So, I’m pretty much content to see where things go from here! I’ll continue making theater with my friends, I’ll see what exciting stuff I can help create with Bungie, I’ll help Rusty Quill continue to be awesome… I don’t know! I’m not too concerned with specifics, to be honest. I just know that I’m more excited about my own future now than I ever have been in my life. Hey, thanks, Dojo. 🙂

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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