Mary Umoh was on a journey that may be familiar to many students. She graduated college with a biology degree and was following her parent’s career path and not her own. It didn’t work out and she spent the next four years working as an admissions advisor at a technical networking school. She was unhappy with her current role and decided to make a career change. Here’s how Mary went from an admissions advisor to a software engineer after graduating from the Online Software Engineering Bootcamp at Flatiron School.

What was your first step in your career journey?

I had no technical experience prior Flatiron School. My boyfriend and I wanted to have this side gig building websites. Neither of us knew how to build them. There was this free course titled “Build 14 websites in six weeks. Become a software developer.” It sounded like one of this commercials, but that was our plan. We were really pumped up to start.

It was primarily HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. We started together. I finished it, but he quit after two weeks.

I was having a really fun time sitting at my dining room table making circles and squares, assigning them colors, and putting image tags on a page. I would sit for hours doing this. I had a moment where I thought, “I wonder if people do this every day,” because I just didn’t know about it. I didn’t have any exposure to it and I didn’t have friends in the field.

How did you choose your next step?

All I knew was I liked doing it and got lost while doing it. That’s when I began searching. It then became a choice to go back to school for a computer science degree. Do I have another 4 years in me? But, that’s when I discovered bootcamps.

How did you choose the right bootcamp for you?

I met with a few of them. Some of the bootcamps were more concerned about tuition. I didn’t like the energy. When I met with the admissions team at Flatiron School, it was the total opposite.

Even though the 75 hours of prework was a struggle for me, I was nearing the end and having such difficulty with Tic-Tac-Toe. I said to myself, “If I get through this, it’s the sign that I made the right choice.” If I get through this, they care about me understanding this before dedicating my time and money to this.

How did you overcome challenges while learning how to code at Flatiron School?

I was on the brink of quitting because I just could not get Tic-Tac-Toe. I thought that maybe this isn’t for me. But, Corinna,  an online instructor, encouraged me to keep going. She gave me some resources and I realized I was only 5% away from getting the right answer.

As you worked through each section, the challenges became more difficult. But, there was a ton of support. Due to that support system, it’s a vital reason why students are successful in the program because we lean on each other. Everyone’s there for one another. All the staff were there for you. You can ask a question at any time. All the other students were there for you.

What was it like working with Career Services?

I had numerous meetings with Betsy, my career coach. She was very encouraging. We did mock interviews and technical interviews. After working with Career Services, I was introduced to my current company. I graduated in November, received an offer in December, and started in January.

Do you feel prepared in your day-to-day responsibilities?

A lot of the issues going through the program, such as debugging, you face that in the real world. Learning those skills and just how to tackle a problem and look at it closer are definitely helping me on a day-to-day basis.

What was your biggest takeaway from Flatiron School?

The biggest takeaway has been to believe in myself and know I can do it. I remember breaking down during Thoughtful Thursday and afterwards Avi got on a call with me. He gave me words of encouragement and it helped me a great deal.

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