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Coding Dojo Alumni Success | Lauren Babb

From Care Specialist to Software Developer | How Online Alumni Lauren Babb Took A Leap to Change Her Career

  • Worked as a Care Specialist at an Orthopedic Surgeon’s office
  • Had a toxic and unfulfilling work environment, knew she had more to offer the world
  • Tinkered with coding years before, but needed guidance and structure to pursue her career change
After Dojo:
  • Works as a Software Developer at Simulation Dynamics, Inc.
  • Learned how to be adaptable, dependable, self-sufficient, and hard working
  • Dreams of progressing into game development, AI, and/or building her own software as an entrepreneur
Program: Online Part-Time Bootcamp

I think that bootcamp really taught me to believe in myself and my ability to change my own destiny. As cheesy as that sounds I do believe that Coding Dojo changed my life and not only did I learn to be adaptable, dependable, self-sufficient, and hard working I learned what it was like to have a lifestyle that I could really get behind.

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

I am 27 years old, I have a passion for learning all things new and exciting and some of my hobbies include, cooking, watching movies with my boyfriend, learning foreign languages, coding (of course!), and taking care of my two dachshunds Kiba and Topaz.

Prior to the bootcamp, I was working as a Care Specialist at an Orthopedic Surgeon’s office. 

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

I had tried coding once before, a few years before boot camp. My brother in law gifted me a Udemy course on HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I started working through the course and found it very interesting and fun but found out very soon how hard it was when CSS kicked my but. Without having any instructional resources to ask questions I did the only thing I thought I could do: I quit. Fast forward a few years and I am working at a job that I’m miserable at and I thought to myself, “It’s time I took matters into my own hands and do something to change my career.” 
I decided to take an aptitude test to see where I might find my niche and software engineering came up multiple times. I remembered how much fun I had with HTML and decided that along with my background in foreign languages that it would be a great career move for me. Plus, I would have the potential to work from home, have a better work life balance, be able to support myself, and be a happier person overall! 

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

The biggest fear that I had going into bootcamp was the fear of failure. Bootcamp is an investment and I was worried that I would not see a return on this investment. The potential was high but the loss was also high, if I didn’t succeed in this field I would have wasted a lot of money just to be back at square one. 
I confided a lot in my coworkers, my family and friends, who all told me that if this was something that I wanted to do that I should go for it! I was young and had my whole life ahead of me. I was told many times by my coworkers that I was too good for my current position and I could do so much more in life. I really thought about that and decided that they were right. I did have more to offer this world and I was going to take that leap of faith to change my life and build the life I wanted for myself, because it wasn’t going to change without me taking some sort of action.

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

I started with a simple Google search for coding boot camps. I specifically was looking for ones online as I intended to work and do it at the same time. A few popped up in my search and Coding Dojo was one of them. I looked through the coursework and to be honest couldn’t make heads or tails of it. So I decided to ask my brother in law who is a data mining specialist and started out as a web developer. 
I gave him the course info for two different bootcamps and asked him for his thoughts. He said they both looked good and it was really up to me (really helpful, I know…). I ultimately decided to go with Coding Dojo because they offered the most flexible schedule for me at the time and since my brother in law had given his blessing on the coursework I figured it was a win-win situation for me. 

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

I was very excited for the start of bootcamp. I was of course nervous, but the excitement of getting to learn something new and taking the first steps to changing my life were equally powerful. Since I come from a non computer science background, I didn’t really know where to start so I relied heavily on Coding Dojo’s pre-bootcamp prep to get me started. I read all the material and did as much algo practice as I could to get my feet wet and set myself up for success when bootcamp started.  

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

I will be honest, my first few weeks of bootcamp were a whirlwind. I was working full-time at a very stressful job with a very toxic environment and that greatly impacted my studies. I liked how flexible everything was and that I was able to do things on my own time, but struggled to find the time to actually complete assignments, as well as actually learn the content and retain it. The teachers were amazing and very helpful, I will say I didn’t fully understand all the resources that I had available to me at the start of the bootcamp but the few times I did reach out for help I was met with positivity and helpfulness no matter who I talked to: a TA, instructor, peers. It didn’t matter. All the help I received was amazing!

How did you overcome the obstacles or struggles you faced? 

One way I was able to overcome my struggles was I quit my job to spend all of my time on the bootcamp, which I realize isn’t an option for everyone. I was fortunate to have family that was very supportive of my new journey and they were willing to help me out financially so that I could quit my job and turn studying into my new full-time job. It was basically going back to school for me. 
Another thing that I found very helpful was reaching out on Discord for help. The TA’s and the instructors are amazing and wonderful. My advice to anyone struggling is to expand your network! Reach out to anyone and everyone, you never know who you might meet and how they can help you!

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

I made so many great friends throughout my time at Coding Dojo! From my very first stack I got to know a great group of people and although they did not go on to take other stacks with me, I stayed in touch with them throughout my time at Coding Dojo. We even have video meet ups from time to time to chat about tech and just to catch up in general! 
Some of my best memories from the Dojo were when I decided to put myself out there and actually interact with my fellow Ninjas and instructors. Don’t be a nobody! Speak up in class, schedule one on one’s with your instructors even if it’s just to chat about your journey! The connections I made at the Dojo are life-long and I value every single one of them that I made throughout my entire journey!

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

In terms of my skills, I won’t not lie: Imposter Syndrome was real. Even though I had learned a lot and grown so much personally and academically, I couldn’t help but have that little seed of doubt in my mind that I wasn’t going to be good enough. I’m sure a lot of people feel that way, but all I can say is trust the process, trust in your teachers that they have taught you well, and trust in yourself and everything you’ve learned. 
I had had one job potentially lined up before finishing bootcamp but unfortunately it did not pan out so I basically left bootcamp the way a lot of people do, without really knowing the next step. Job searching is a whole other story but all I can say is: network, network, network, and don’t give up! The right job is out there for you, you just have to look!

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

Job hunting for me was daunting, there were so many options out there and a lot of them that didn’t fit me. I must have sent out around 50 applications a day and then just waited for someone to bite. I ended up going with a company called Simulation Dynamics Inc and I actually got the interview through a cover letter. The hiring manager called me one day and said I didn’t have the most impressive resume but I had a good cover letter and he wanted to see if there was a reason for us to keep talking. We talked for about a half hour about my experience and where I wanted to go next. Before I knew it, I was being offered an intern position which later converted into a full-time position.

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

I think that bootcamp really taught me to believe in myself and my ability to change my own destiny. As cheesy as that sounds I do believe that Coding Dojo changed my life and not only did I learn to be adaptable, dependable, self-sufficient, and hard working, I learned what it was like to have a lifestyle that I could really get behind.

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

You really get what you put into it. It sounds dry and not very helpful but it’s the truth. The more time and effort you put into bootcamp the more you are going to get out of it. Also, don’t be afraid to make new friends along the way! It’s not all about coding, it’s about networking and getting to know people, you never know who might offer you a job one day. Stay humble and stay hungry! Humility can go a long way and a desire to learn is super desirable in this field. Shoot for the stars and never look back!

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

I’m not entirely certain where I want to go in life as of yet but I know I want to keep honing my skills and find my niche. I want to maybe get into game development or AI learning. I want to create amazing software for myself and maybe even sell it and become my own boss one day. Who knows, the possibilities are endless and I can’t wait to see where this road takes me! There’s only one way and that is up from here!

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.