Q&A with Sayer Lagase: After High School, Coding Dojo’s Gap Year

High schoolers spend their senior year planning the next steps in their future; whether through a traditional route, like applying for colleges, or a non-traditional route by narrowing down a field that piques their interest and entering the workforce. It’s a time of opportunity: where linking together building blocks acquired through life-long education becomes a pivotal moment. And honing in on “who you are meant to be,” and what you want, can amount to huge pressure.

Spending this time wisely is important, and practical experience can help alleviate some of the uncertainty the future may hold in terms of career opportunity and salary potential. Coding Dojo’s Gap Year Program is designed to give a hands-on experience for youth interested in a career in tech, and set them up for success: on a national scale, 94%* of our alumni land a job in 180 days after graduating, with an average salary of $76,000 per year.

By accelerating job opportunities fresh out of bootcamp graduation, or by enhancing skills prior to a rigorous 4-year education in Computer Science, setting life up for success only takes 14-weeks at our award-winning bootcamp. We sat down with Sayer Lagase, a Gap Year student who recently graduated from the Dojo to discuss her experience. While it may not be the norm to take a year off after high school to figure this out, after talking with Lagase it’s clear that it very well ought to be an option for all exiting high schoolers.

Here’s what Lagase had to say about our Gap Year Program, and where it leads her. 


What made you decide to participate in the Coding Dojo Gap year program?

Lagase: I’ve always been surrounded by technology my whole life, and after graduating from high school I was unsure about the path I wanted to take. Trying to choose a career path is hard!
I wanted to explore my options and get the most out of what I’d be learning. After hearing about Coding Dojo, I knew it would be perfect for what I needed without having to commit to college. It covered all the bases I was looking for.
I’m the kind of person that likes to know how all the pieces fit together and why. Full stack web development has given me an insight into many sides to programming and what each part can offer.

What was your time in the Dojo like? 

Lagase: As someone that had never coded a day in their life, it’s daunting to look at the code for the first time. It takes a lot of time and dedication (and frustration) to try to wrap your head around it all. The course itself is a lot of hard work, that definitely will pay off in the end.
Going to the on-site program helped me realize what I can learn through others, to break out of my comfort zone, and to truly collaborate with my classmates to figure something out.

Would you recommend this experience to others that were considering doing the Coding Dojo bootcamp for a Gap Year?

Lagase: I easily spent 60-70 hours every week at the Dojo, so it can be easy to slow down and fall behind if you’re not careful. But spending that much time with your cohort, everyone is constantly being challenged. We all feel the same way, and we all came here to learn.
It was a great motivator for me. Not only did everyone in my class become family, I learned so much more than I ever thought I could in 14 weeks. It makes me feel proud of what I could do if I truly want to.

After a few short months, Lagase was able to take her years of studying in high school, and turn those skills it into a Full-Stack Developer certification from Coding Dojo. So whether she chooses to enter a 4-year university to gain a Computer Science degree, or start the job hunt right away, she’ll be at the top of any game with practical knowledge of software engineering, web development, and three full stacks under her belt. Barely on her way out of high-school, and she’s a full-stack developer, with a career in tech at her fingertips.

So maybe your students, or your child, is looking to study Computer Science in college. Or maybe you are planning what’s next, and you’re ready to try your hand at building programs, applications, platforms, and websites. And even still, maybe it’s just not the time to decide “who” and “what you want to be,” just yet and hands-on experience in a bootcamp such as Coding Dojo’s could help hone in that idea for you. Why wait?

Click here for more information about Coding Dojo’ Gap Year program.

*Published in February 2018, this is based upon a survey that was sent to alumni who graduated between January 2015 and October 2017. Out of the respondents, 94% are employed full time in the field. 75% of alumni find jobs within three months.


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