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.
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.