From Airplane Engines to Engineering Networks | How Bellevue Graduate Richard Lee Upgraded His Career in the Cloud

Pre-Dojo:
  • Worked as an Aircraft Engine Mechanic in the U.S. Army
  • Was enrolled in college to become a dietician
  • Desired a financially-secure career after his service
After Dojo:
  • Works as a Cloud Network Engineer at Microsoft
  • Loves to code and plans to automate many of his tasks with Python & Powershell
  • Dreams of becoming an architect that can plan, test and build entire networks using the most current technology available
Program: Three Full Stack bootcamp in Seattle, WA
Testimonial:

The first few weeks at Coding Dojo really solidified that this would be my career from now on. I felt like everything just clicked and I had a passion to learn more.

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

I am a 34 year old veteran. I enjoy snowboarding, powerlifting and camping with my wife and two daughters.

Prior to Coding Dojo, I was an aircraft engine mechanic in the U.S. Army.

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

I recently separated from the military and was going to college to become a dietician. I still had four years left, and working as a dietician would have been more of a passion project than a financially sound career. One of my friends told me about his position as a software engineer and told me about Coding Dojo, a coding bootcamp he attended. He mentioned that I would be very good at coding. I looked into it and began the pre-course algorithms, and got hooked! Not only was it financially better, but I found that time just disappeared when I sat down to solve technical problems. I enjoyed it so much, the 70-90 hours/week really felt like a normal work week.

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

I did have a friend that graduated from Coding Dojo with a very good Software Engineering position, but I still looked up the other bootcamps in the area. What really sealed the deal, was the three different programming languages Coding Dojo taught. I thought, more languages, would mean more job opportunities.

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

I was very excited to begin Coding Dojo. I really just worked on the pre-course work and watched a lot of YouTube videos on Software Engineering, coding bootcamps, and technical interviews.

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

The first few weeks at Coding Dojo really solidified that this would be my career from now on. I felt like everything just clicked and I had a passion to learn more. There was just not enough time in the day to learn everything I wanted to learn. Besides Coding Dojo, I bought a couple udemy courses and worked to complete those as well. I really enjoyed learning to code and was extremely happy I found this new field.

How did you overcome the obstacles or struggles you faced? 

Coming from the military, I think it gave me a good mindset to learn new things. When I did meet an obstacle, I had many friends in the class and I was very open to asking for help, if I gave it my best and could not solve it. My goal in asking for help was to never ask the same type of question twice. I would learn from problems I could not solve, and work to make sure I can always solve it next time.

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

I made a couple of very good friends at the Dojo. It has been almost a year since I graduated and I still talk to them weekly and go out for pho when we are all free.

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

So I kept feeling like the more I learn the less I know. Mainly because as you learn, you learn that there is so much more that you had no idea even existed. This did give me imposter syndrome and caused me to do a lot of studying outside of class to ensure I was ready. In the end, I do think being nervous and working harder was valuable in getting the offer I received. 

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

So the job hunt was very rough because Covid19 pandemic shut down hiring at many companies two months before I graduated. During this time, I chose to attend an additional program that focused on preparing service members for technical opportunities at Microsoft. After both programs, I did land a job at Microsoft as a Cloud Network Engineer.

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

I will say that Coding Dojo is the main reason I love to code. I did choose to attend an additional training program after Coding Dojo, but the technical skills and the way everything is presented at Coding Dojo was incomparable. I do not know if I would have loved to code as much as I do, if I attended the 2nd program before Coding Dojo.

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

My advice would be to study algorithms and basic interview soft skills/questions, both technical and non technical. Until the software industry changes the hiring process, those two things are all they really focus on. Having projects to showcase your skills will also be required to get the interview, but once you are at the interview, algorithms and soft skills are what will get you the offer. Be able to use the STAR method to answer “Tell me about a time when…” type questions. Also, know the basics of computer science, like what OOP is, and it’s four pillars. Finally for the algorithms, you need to talk about every step and why you are doing that step the entire time you are solving the algorithm. Do it this way every time you solve an algorithm.

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

My goal is to automate all tasks at my current work. Although cloud networking is not software development, I still use Python and PowerShell to automate tasks. Automation is like solving algorithms with an immediate benefit for your whole team if you get it right. I have not created any automation yet, but I am currently learning to create them. Long term goals would be to become an architect that can plan, test and build entire networks using the most current technology available.

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.

dojo guide

Looking for a Career in Web Development?

Read our quick-start guide to becoming a Developer

  • Includes exclusive insight from a seasoned Web Developer
  • Uncovers the top career misconceptions holding you back
  • Highlights the must-have qualities all employers require
  • 89,615 downloads to date

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *