Allison Anzalone: From Vet Tech To Computer Scientist

Allison Anzalone began her career in biology – getting a Bachelors and working as a Vet Tech and a Patient Care Technician in a hospital over 9 years. Then, at the age of 31, she enrolled in a Flatiron School Software Engineering program.

Reading Time 4 mins

Allison Anzalone graduated from Missouri State University in 2012 with a degree in biology and a dream of becoming a Veterinarian. Fast forward 9 years, she’d been rejected from vet school, worked 6 years as a vet tech, and transitioned into the medical field.

“I was working at Mercy Hospital as an Orthopedic Patient Care Technician,” Anzalone explained when we sat down with her in mid-2022. “I got patients ready for surgery, and after surgery before they went home.” 

While not unhappy with her position, Anazlone recalled knowing that it wasn’t the right fit. “I worked in a lab, I worked with patients, and thought to myself, I don’t know if this is right for me. I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to do computer science.”

Pursuing Her Computer Science Dream

The decision to pursue a new field was a long time coming for Anazolne and was delayed by her pre-existing student loans from a Bachelor’s degree and her hesitance to take on more debt. “I first started out getting interested in Software development about three years ago and I wanted to go back to school but didn’t have the finances to do … I didn’t want to take out more student loans.”

While researching alternative education options, a friend introduced her to the world of bootcamps for career changers. “I didn’t know about bootcamps until one of my friends that works as a software developer said to look into Flatiron [School]. She recommended Flatiron [School] to me because her company has hired a lot of software developers from there.”

After researching Flatiron School, she cites two specific points for why she decided to enroll. “What got me with Flatiron [School] is their job placements percentages [and] reading about other student’s journies. I just had to jump in and do it.”

Her Experience With Bootcamp

On her experience with starting the bootcamp, Anazolne particularly recalls the challenge of the program and her doubts about her path. “Throughout the program, it was challenging. Definitely, parts, where I wanted to give up like I, don’t know what I’m doing, why am I doing this? Is this the right decision?”

She also highlights the impact of being in the medical field at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to balance her studies. “My hospital got shut down with COVID, [I was] doing 4-day a week, 12-hour shifts in the ER and doing Flatiron at the same time.”

For Anzalone, the support she received throughout the program was vital to her success. “From day 1 I felt supported in my cohort … It was so cooperative and immersive. We would work together in groups and learn how to collaborate on projects together.”

Looking back at her experience, she remembers hard work and relief after coming out on the other side of the program. “Giving it my all and getting involved and working as hard as I’ve ever worked on something before helped me get the most out of the program. And then afterward, finishing it was like oh gosh I did it!”

Her Job Search & Career Coach Support

Allison Anazolne graduated on January 24, 2022, with a Certificate in Software Engineering. She jumped right into the job search, aided by her dedicated Career Coach.

“The support I felt after the program was amazing… I loved having my career advisor. My career advisor was my biggest supporter and the person I relied on the most through my career [search] process.”

Flatiron School graduates receive up to 180 days of career coaching to help them find their first job after graduation. But, as Anazolne found out, it can often take far less time to land an opportunity in the field. “When I finished [the program], I started applying for things and I got interviews in week one and I was like ‘oh, this is too fast!’ … But it was nice to see people wanted to interview me.”

After her first few interviews, any doubts about how her bootcamp education would be received were quickly relieved as well. “I was a little worried about not going through the traditional route with a computer science degree vs. a bootcamp, but in the interview process, they knew […] about Flatiron. They knew I had the training I needed to do the job.”

Anzalone fielded several offers, eventually accepting a role in Development Operations that she thought would be a great fit for her extroverted personality. “I am a big people person, I love talking to people. With DevOps, you get to do development, but you also get to work with other teams on their projects. I like that I get to work with so many different people.”

Her Biggest Takeaway From The Program

Allison is now working as an Associate DevOps Engineer at Northwestern Mutual, a financial services provider. 

Her experience at Flatiron School, she says, turned her into a confident, lifelong learner. “Being able to learn this new skill, and going from day one to where I am now, I’m not scared of learning something new anymore. I’m confident that if I want to learn something new, I can do it.” 

Ready to take charge of your future? Apply Now to join other career changers like Allison in a program that sets you apart from the competition. 

Not ready to apply? Try out our Free Software Engineering Prep. Or, review the Software Engineering Course Syllabus that will set you up for success and launch you into a new and fulfilling career.

Read more stories about successful career changes on the Flatiron School blog.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of October 21, 2022. Current policies, offerings, procedures, and programs may differ.

About Anna Van Deusen

Anna Van Deusen is the Marketing Content Manager at Flatiron School. When not writing about tech and Flatiron School students, she can be found hanging out with her dogs on a beach…

More articles by Anna Van Deusen