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From Arbitrage to AI | How Michael G Followed His Passion to Reinvent His Career Path

Disclaimer: Coding Dojo cannot guarantee employment, salary, or career advancement. The experience of this alumnus/alumna may not be representative of all students.

  • Worked in online retail arbitrage (reselling) various goods and in digital marketing
  • The pandemic impacted his digital marketing agency so began to explore other options
  • Loved solving technical problems but had no experience coding
After Dojo:
  • Works as a Solutions Engineer in the AI field
  • Developed a love of learning and networking in the tech industry
  • Aspires to continue growing his skill set by earning AWS certifications, as well as getting a better grasp on cloud and edge computing

Program: Software Development Online Full-Time

Graduation Date: December 2022


“It felt great. Knowing that all the work I put in to change careers, while it being a scary endeavor, was all worth it. I could’ve taken the easy road and gone back to running my marketing agency. But I bet on myself and I was dedicated not only to learning the craft but to myself.”

Tell us a little about yourself! Age, hobbies, passions, where you grew up, where you live now, and any other fun facts!

I’m 33 years old, born, raised and still living in Miami, FL. I love to play basketball, the art of coffee and anything where I can take my dogs to. I’m currently, with my girlfriend, in the process of building out a van that we could travel and work out of now that we both work remotely. Fun fact: I start most of my days with a 5 minute plunge in 36 degree water.

What were you doing professionally before bootcamp?

The 18 months before bootcamp I was doing online retail arbitrage (reselling). I was using bots and automation software to buy things like graphics cards or collectible shoes/trading cards – to resell locally or on eBay. Before that, I ran my own small marketing agency where I was the salesperson, SEO guy, WordPress designer, writer, etc.

Tell us why you enrolled in Coding Dojo? Were you unhappy with your current role? Yearning for a change in career path?

After the pandemic, my marketing agency took a big hit. I lost a majority of my clients. That’s where the reselling came into play. Through that I met a few people on Discord that were already software engineers and it was interesting to see the projects they’d build for our community. When things started getting better, the reselling obviously took a downturn. So I had the option of going back to marketing, which I feel I was good at but it wasn’t what made me happy. My favorite part about it was the time I’d spend solving technical problems. I’ve always wanted to learn how to code but meeting the guys in the reselling community who did it for a living ultimately drove me to enroll at Coding Dojo. My girlfriend had completed a UX design bootcamp and before her doing that, I didn’t even realize bootcamps were an option.

Why did you choose Coding Dojo over other bootcamps?

One of the main reasons I chose Coding Dojo was because of the Python stack. That and the fact that it covered more material. I wanted to learn how to learn and I figured I’d get a good idea of which stack I preferred. To me it wasn’t about going deep into one stack without first trying out a few. Also, I had two other bootcamps I was looking at and one was 9 weeks long and the other was 12. I wanted to invest more time into this and thought 14 weeks was the sweet spot.

What were your thoughts going into bootcamp? Were you nervous? Excited? All of the above?

I couldn’t wait to get started. Some parts were tough but getting over those humps and solving the problems would always cause a spike in good feelings. I had previously attempted to learn Python on my own and had even taken a free intro to CS course but I knew I wanted to be in an environment where I had support and accountability.

Did you face any obstacles in bootcamp? If so, how did you overcome them?

I had a lot of help from great teachers and TA’s — Shawn, Winter, Spencer, Joe, Nichole, Ciso, Max, Ruben, Christian. During those late nights it was great having a group of cohort-mates you can reach out to. I loved being a helping hand and loved that I could ask for one if needed.

What was it like during your first few weeks in bootcamp? What did you enjoy? What did you struggle with?

I loved building things. I loved seeing my progress. I loved taking assignments further than necessary and putting my own touch on them. I learn by doing – and even more when I get to start customizing stuff to be how I want it. You got to have fun with it.

What advice would you share with others considering bootcamp? What about those currently in bootcamp?

Commit to it, and commit to yourself. Put in the time and put in the extra time. You honestly get out what you put into it. I know we all have lives we have to get to after class and work, but take some time some days and meet the people going through this same experience with you. The closer knit your group is, the easier this experience will be.

Do you have any fun memories to share about your time in bootcamp?

After watching another cohort’s graduation, a few of my own cohort mates and I stayed up catching up on work and ultimately playing poker together – late into the night, lots of laughs. I was lucky to have a great group of people around me that made class fun. Some jokes here and there.

What was your favorite stack, project, or module to learn? Why?

My favorite stack was one I almost didn’t pick. I loved learning C#. Even though error pages on ASP.NET aren’t the greatest – I loved the strict nature of C# itself. It’s also where I worked on my first group project with another cohort-mate working on a Selenium script which automated applying to easy apply jobs on LinkedIn.

As graduation approached, how confident were you in your new skill set?

I knew there was so much more to learn. I came into this with one thing on my mind. To learn how to learn to code. One skill I honed in bootcamp that I’ll take with me forever is how great I got at debugging. Whether it was my code or friends. Sometimes you have to get creative to solve a problem.

Aside from credentials, what else did you leave bootcamp with? (soft skills, motivation, confidence, etc.)

I left with a yearning to continue my education. I wanted to go back and redo courses I had either finished or didn’t finish in the past. I wanted to improve on my projects because I was rapidly improving and wanted to incorporate that into things I had worked on. I left wanting to connect with more people in tech, reaching out to people on LinkedIn for coffee zoom chats or going out to tech networking events.

How did the job hunt go? Where did you end up working?

I landed a Solutions Engineer job at – a virtual DevOps assistant using generative AI to create workflows and conversation AI to trigger those workflows with natural language on somewhere people already work all the time, Slack. I leveraged my final project (automating linkedin easy apply applications) and actually, the bot applied for this position. It was a great ice breaker to mention at an AI company that I had a bot apply to the job for me. I had started the job hunt 5 weeks before bootcamp ended and ramped up as soon as I passed my last belt exam, applying to almost 1,000 jobs in 10 days (thank you bot). Kubiya gave me a chance with an assessment to see if I could use different DevOps tools like Jenkins, Kubernetes, Grafana, etc. And while I didn’t have the previous experience, they seemed to like me enough to open a different position to bring me on board.

What did it feel like to receive your first job offer? Or to get that first paycheck in tech?

It felt great. Knowing that all the work I put in to change careers, while it being a scary endeavor, was all worth it. I could’ve taken the easy road and gone back to running my marketing agency. But I bet on myself and I was dedicated not only to learning the craft but to myself. Now almost 2 months in, I’ve learned so much and continue to learn. I’m writing Python code daily, YAML workflows daily, integrating with new APIs on the regular. I’m picking up more orchestration knowledge. Just today, for a POC, I went the extra step and learned how to deploy a Redis instance within an OpenFaaS namespace in my local kubernetes cluster, to improve our prospects end user experience. With a Redis instance I could now map their directory tree and offer them a seamless experience by allowing the end user to search for files within their entire directory structure, through Slack!

What are your goals and dreams for the future? Career or otherwise.

I was extremely excited for the opportunity to join a company in the AI space. I honestly see a lot of potential in the space and it is still very early. I can see, in the marketing field, using AI to serve dynamic content based on user intent and help drive engagement. There’s so many applications it can be used for. More short term, I want to start collecting a few AWS certs and get a better grasp on cloud and edge computing.

If you are interested in pursuing a new career path, Coding Dojo bootcamp offers accelerated learning programs designed to help you learn the skills you want. We offer both part-time and full-time online coding programs, as well as programs training you on Data Science and Cybersecurity. We also offer financing options, scholarships, and other tuition assistance programs for those who qualify.

If you want to invest in yourself, there is no time like the present! If you’re interested, use this link to schedule a 15-minute exploratory session with one of our Admissions Advisors today.

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