From B2B Marketing to Building Robots | How Suzanne Allen Gained Confidence & a New Career

Pre-Dojo:
  • Wanted to be challenged & have upward career mobility
  • Worried a bootcamp wouldn’t provide enough credibility to get a job
  • Worked as a Project Manager
After Dojo:
  • Has confidence to figure anything out
  • Dreams of leading her own team
  • Works as a Customer Success Engineer at a robotics lab
Program: Three full-stack bootcamp in Oakland, CA
Testimonial:

Our Career Services Manager was super helpful. He talked us all the way through the resume, preparation, application, and interview process over the weeks. That really helped.

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

I’m 28 years old. I like to do things outdoors like bike, hike, and enjoy national parks. I’ve also recently taken up water colors. I play the piano and the violin. Probably more than anything, I like to create and appreciate beautiful things.

Prior to the bootcamp, I worked as a project manager for a web design and development agency for a few years, then as a project manager for a B2B tech marketing agency. From there I headed into the bootcamp.

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

I wanted a career that met the following criteria:

  1. I wanted to be challenged and forced to learn new things
  2. I wanted to be able to move upward in the company
  3. I wanted to have skills and be the one people go to for answers. I wanted my time to be billable. I didn’t want to be overhead.
  4. I wanted to be able to work remotely or part time

My career as a project manager had none of those things, so I sought out a career that did, and coding fit the bill.

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

I was worried that a bootcamp wouldn’t give me enough credibility to get a job. I was also worried that I wouldn’t know enough going in and I would be behind. I read lots of reviews and articles about how successful people are after bootcamps, and I spoke to several people who had gone to bootcamps. So their advice and insight was really helpful.

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

I made a pros and cons sheet of a lot of different bootcamps in the Bay Area. I looked at location, cost, curriculum, pre-reqs, and so forth. I chose Coding Dojo because for me it was the best fit in all of those areas. Best outcomes and curriculum for the cost, best location, no hard pre-reqs. I also liked that there was an open house and I could go and see what it was like and what it was all about.

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

I was super excited and nervous. The open house was really helpful. I did all of the pre-course work and did some online courses/tutorials on HTML, CSS, and Javascript. I had no previous coding experience, so I was trying to figure out what was going on as much as possible. I think the pre-course work was really helpful, as well as the set expectations of how much time would be required.

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

I loved it. I loved how much I was learning and the material that was being taught. It was a lot of time, and falling behind is stressful. But it was a doable workload. 

I also liked making friendships and spending time coding near people. Our cohort was fun. It is so valuable doing it with people, as opposed to alone at home.

How did you overcome the obstacles or struggles you faced?

I had a really great support system at home. One of the things I had been told by the admissions person was to make sure I had great support. So I talked to my husband and he really helped me through. Another great resource was the teachers and TAs. They were able to help me through when I couldn’t figure out a problem.

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

We did make good friends at the bootcamp. I liked sports day. We’d take some time and relax. Also, during our project presentations, we started dressing in the theme of our projects. One team made a campground reservation website, and dressed in camping gear. Another team made a web application for managing ski lodges, and they dressed in ski gear. So it was a lot of fun.

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

I had a lot of apprehension about not being qualified because I didn’t have a degree in computer science. But our Career Services Manager was super helpful. He talked us all the way through the resume, preparation, application, and interview process over the weeks. That really helped. And it was nice to see how it was progressing with others as well. It was nice that we were all in it together.

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

I definitely got the confidence I needed to know I could figure anything out. Coding is a lot about figuring things out. Nobody knows it all. I learned that I can research and find the answers to my problems. Before I wouldn’t have even known how to do that.

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

The job hunt was, as always, hard. I sent out a lot of applications and networked with lots of people, including lots of strangers. It was through reaching out to people in companies that I was applying for, that I found a job. The man I reached out to said he couldn’t help me get a job at his company, but that his friend was looking to hire a recent graduate. And he connected me. That’s how I got my job. 

I now work as a Customer Success Engineer at a robotics lab. It’s a really neat job and I’m surrounded by a lot of very complex tech. It’s a startup, so I was the 6th hire. Everybody else had PhD’s or Master’s degrees. I am learning so much from being there.

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

If you want to do it, it’s awesome. But you have to be willing to be all in. You can’t just hope that the program will spoon feed you everything you need to know, and then you’ll magically have a job. You have to put in lots of late nights and early mornings. You have to work equally hard to find a job. If you want to be able to compete with people who have 4-year degrees, you have to work harder than they did. I think successful bootcamp grads are fighters.

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

I want to lead a team. I want to be seen as a leader, not only for my soft skills, but also for my technical and practical knowledge.

If you are interested in learning how to code so you can make your dreams a reality, Coding Dojo 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.

Whether you’re unsatisfied with your career, or just 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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