At Flatiron School, our success is our students’ success _— when students get jobs, we achieve our mission of enabling the pursuit of a better life through education. But, students’ stories don’t end after they graduate. In this series, we chat with Flatiron School’s alumni community about their journey into coding, and how that journey transformed their life.
Garry C. was selling software as a service (SaaS) for seven years before Flatiron School. There was something thrilling about working with tech companies, but with the excitement came the “sales rollercoaster,” according to Garry. He wanted off the ride and wanted a job that was both exciting and stable. He knew he didn’t want to commit to a traditional college experience to gain the skills he needed for a new career. He wanted to experience life, after all.
Garry found his answer in Flatiron School and he valued the emphasis on community. He wanted that support and was driven to help make an impact on the lives of other students.Garry’s path has been intertwined with Flatiron School ever since he graduated. He was selected to be a Technical Coaching Fellow (TCF), the equivalent of a teacher’s aide, and is now employed as a full-time software developer at Flatiron School.
Below, Garry, a Flatiron School New York graduate, discusses how he became a software developer because he saw tech’s potential to change lives.
Sell, sell, sell
Garry enjoyed working with tech companies and selling their software. But, that excitement of chasing sales soon wears off. There needs to be a sense of stability instead of worrying about hitting targets the following month, according to Garry.
He realized he needed to change careers. Garry knew going back to college was not an option. “I’ve had the opportunity to experience college already and was now making a shift to a second career, so I wanted a more pointed experience,” said Garry. “Having more time to experience life seemed much more valuable, especially when thinking about the next chapter.”
Coding made sense to Garry because he saw its potential. “Coding is the future. Children in elementary schools are now learning to coding. I wanted to ensure that my career change would be something that was sustainable,” said Garry.
After doing some research, Garry discovered the potential of coding bootcamps. The education would take weeks, not years, and he could start the next phase of his journey relatively quickly. Garry also wanted support as he searched for his next opportunity. He chose Flatiron School because of its verified outcomes report and its commitment to students.
Key takeaway → Identify the priorities that matter to you the most in your career. An exciting job can wear on you. If you’re feeling exhausted, maybe it’s time to start thinking about a new career.
A sense of security
Garry appreciated Flatiron School’s free Coding Bootcamp Prep. The online program gives you a 75+ hour bootcamp experience based on Flatiron School’s curriculum and Learn.co platform. “The free bootcamp prep told me they were very confident in the education they could provide,” said Garry. “And, they truly wanted to impact as many lives as possible.”
Two other factors helped Garry choose Flatiron School. Garry was familiar with tech, was an early adopter, and knew how software could solve problems. But, he didn’t have a programming background. Garry needed a bootcamp that was rigorous enough to give him the skills he needed to succeed in a new career and accessible enough so he could learn without feeling overwhelmed. He said Flatiron School was a good fit because of the curriculum and teaching style. “As a beginner, I had various ways to learn the material, whether it was through labs or lectures, or reading materials.”
Flatiron School’s commitment to its students sealed the deal for Garry. “What ultimately sold me was the community aspect of the school, campus, and the team,” said Garry. “Flatiron School seemed focused on using the community to support education, to get you to always learn from others, and to actually to get you to love learning.”
Confident in his decision, Garry enrolled in the immersive Software Engineering bootcamp at Flatiron School’s New York campus.
Key takeaway → Choose a bootcamp that feels right to you. Read reviews, identify your needs, and evaluate your next steps.
The Flatiron School experience
A successful career transition was important and Garry said he was particularly impressed with Career Services. He knew he had a support system that could help him overcome any challenges and now he had a coach whose only priority was ensuring Garry found a job he loved. “Having a partner to jump in with me for my job search, salary negotiations, and creating a personal brand was super comforting and helpful,” said Garry.
As Garry was working with his coach and deciding on his next move, he also applied to become a TCF at Flatiron School. It was a chance to help even more people change their careers and lives in the process. He was selected to be a TCF and he calls that moment the highlight of his career after graduating from Flatiron School. Furthering the sense of community, Garry started a diversity initiative to create a “space of inclusion” for more students.
Garry still needed to make the leap to a full-time role and he had clear idea of what he wanted in his next job. Based on what drew him to Flatiron School and to the role of a TCF, Garry wanted to make an impact in his new career. A great work-life balance along with a good salary were also important considerations for him. Not surprisingly, Garry was offered a role with Flatiron School to work on the Learn.co platform and ensure that the software stays updated as Flatiron School expands across disciplines and internationally.
For anyone looking to follow in Garry’s path, he recommends enrolling in the online Coding Bootcamp Prep. “There were many times I did not understand the concept the lesson was introducing. I struggled and stepped away at times,” said Garry. “It’s essential that you continue to push forward when moments like that arise.”