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How One Alum Became a Full-Stack Developer — and Learned a Lot About Himself in the Process

By Flatiron SchoolJanuary 30, 2019

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.

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A little perseverance goes a long way toward unlocking your future. Ali A. was working as an operations manager at a food delivery startup before joining Flatiron School. Ali had a few jobs, but never had what he would consider a career. What he wanted was a career where innovation was at the heart of his work and he was involved in forward-thinking projects that challenged him.Ali turned to programming and the tech industry to find just that. Even though he didn’t have any technical experience, he knew he could accomplish his goals with the support of a strong community. He already knew how to work across teams from his previous jobs. Now, it was time to develop the hard skills he would need to become a software engineer.He chose Flatiron School after researching coding bootcamps in London. Ali said the curriculum, along with its commitment to students, would help him toward a better future. Less than a month after graduating from Flatiron School, Ali is now a full-stack developer at a food tech startup.

Below, Ali, a Flatiron School London graduate, discusses how he was able to gain the skills to begin his future. If you want something, hard work and perseverance can lead to great reward.

Developing technical skills

While Ali knew what he wanted his next step to be, he needed to build a strong foundation first. “I didn’t have a technical background and all of my experience was in operations,” recalled Ali. He spent his career up to this point managing teams and people. Before attending Flatiron School, Ali completed the online Coding Bootcamp Prep.The free prep course would help prepare him for a full-time, immersive experience. “The more work you put in with the pre-work, the more you get out of it,” said Ali.Even though Ali was looking to gain technical skills, he discovered something new about himself. Personal development would be an important thread throughout his bootcamp experience. He wasn’t just changing careers. He was changing as a person. From the way he thought about things to how he handled setbacks, Ali was learning as much about himself as he was learning code. “The whole learning journey changed how I think,” said Ali.

Key takeaway → Consider your personal development as you switch careers. While you’re learning new skills, you’re also shaping yourself.

The Flatiron School experience

Ali chose Flatiron School to gain the technical skills necessary to find a career in tech. In the process, he discovered a community. “There was no part of my time at the Flatiron School that I thought I was alone on this journey,” said Ali. He had support as soon as he entered the campus. “At no point did I think 'I can't do this' and that is because I was surrounded by amazing people,” recalled Ali.Flatiron School’s rigorous curriculum was also appealing to Ali. He wanted a versatile career and didn’t want to be limited based on the skills he learned at a bootcamp. There were programs that offered just front-end or back-end courses, but he wanted to learn full-stack. “I thought Flatiron School’s curriculum would better equip me for my job search,” explained Ali. Even when he experienced a setback, Ali knew he could overcome that challenge. Sure, he was disappointed, but he turned that feeling into an opportunity to grow. He would come back reinvigorated after thinking about it over the weekend. “I realized that I had an opportunity to learn more and come out on the other side with more experience, and even more time to try out more things,“ said Ali. “The time I spent there and the situations I had to adapt to helped me learn more about myself, personally.” Before graduating, Ali attended a Career Day set up by the Flatiron School London's business development team. He met a representative from his current employer at the event.

Key takeaway → Find a coding bootcamp that works best for you. Everyone has different needs, so take that into consideration while you conduct your research. Do you a company with verified outcomes? Are you looking for a specific language? What skills do you want to acquire?

Life as a developer

Ali is now a full-stack developer at a food tech startup. He’s the only developer on the team, so he has a lot of responsibility. However, he says he feels confident because he can rely on the skills he learned at Flatiron School. If there’s a new problem that needs to be addressed, he knows where to start finding answers. Better yet, Ali feels like he belongs in the tech industry. He feels comfortable at his company and confident that he can continue his career in the tech industry. Ali recalls how, in his second week at the company, he worked with a consultant who had a Master’s degree in computer science to rebuild an app. “The process of rebuilding the app was just like how we built our projects on campus: wireframes, architecture, bare-bone components,” said Ali. “I was set up for success!”Ali’s also sharing his experiences with others as a mentor. He’s currently helping someone to start their own career as a software engineer.

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