Jon Brundage Jr.: TV Production to Software Engineering
“My biggest takeaway from Flatiron School was that I am capable of learning new tricks.”
Jon Brundage Jr., a June 2021 Software Engineering graduate from Flatiron School, rethought his initial career choice during the COVID pandemic.
He shares his journey from TV Production to Software Engineering below.
Pre-Pandemic Career Path
Jon Brundage Jr. began his career with a degree in Media Studies and spent more than a decade in the field. But, like many others in the media, the 2020 pandemic threw a wrench in his plans.
“I came from a twelve-year career in freelance television production working as a director of photography and camera operator,” Jon said when we interviewed him earlier this year. “When the pandemic hit, I had a lot of downtime to reassess what I was contributing to the world.”
While the world stood still, Jon used his time to take a tally of his current occupation. Through that contemplation, he came to the conclusion that it was time to pivot paths.
“[TV] Production is fun, but it is very physically demanding and requires a lot of time on the road. My wife was also pregnant with our son, and I knew I did not want to be a parent who was always away,” he explained. “So, between wanting to be more meaningful and intentional with my career and wanting more balance between life and work, I decided to make a change.”
Pivoting To Tech
Having decided to make a switch, Jon quickly settled on Software Engineering, citing the field’s versatility and demand.
“I knew that software engineering would open a lot of doors to explore my next role,” he said.
“There are so many different types of companies and organizations that [need Software Engineers] and I was very attracted to the idea that my skills could be transferable to a wide swath of industries and employers.”
But, as a husband and soon-to-be father, Jon didn’t want to take the traditional 4-year degree route. To get to his goals faster, he started looking into bootcamps.
“I asked some friends and family who worked in tech where I should go. Flatiron School [was mentioned by] my best friend who has been a software engineer for years, as well as my brother who is an accomplished graphic designer,” he said. “After some initial research, I knew it was the right choice for me to have a solid foundation to start a new career.”
Jon enrolled in Flatiron School’s Software Engineering Live program in March 2021, an accelerated, intensive course. Students in the program study full-time – 8 hours a day, Monday to Friday – for 15 weeks. Learning new Software Engineering skills at the break-neck pace, Jon said, was difficult to adjust to at first.
“The most challenging part of the program was the gear switching,” he explained. “You spend two weeks learning something new, practice and test on it for another week, and then start all over. By the third phase I was used to it, but it’s overwhelming for the first few weeks.”
What pulled Jon through the beginning difficulties of the course was the phase one instructor that helped him adapt to the material.
Jon graduated from Flatiron School in June 2021 and jumped straight into the job search, focusing primarily on making connections.
“I put a lot of energy into networking. I asked friends and friends of friends if they knew any Software Engineers and if they’d have time to chat over coffee or Zoom,” he recalled. “I’ve always thought face-to-face networking is the biggest bang for your buck in job hunting, to this day.”
His original perception of Software Engineering being an in-demand skillset ultimately turned out to be true when a recruiter reached out to him with an opportunity.
“I was extremely lucky in my job hunt. My current company actually found me and, after a few interviews, they brought me on as a part-time contractor. After a few months, I became full-time staff.”
Working In The Field
When we spoke with Jon in June 2023, he’d been working as a Creative Technologist at Schema Design for just under two years. His experience working in the field, he said, has been overwhelmingly positive.
“I am thoroughly enjoying my new career. I work for a design firm and my role is fairly client-facing, which has a good amount of overlap of soft skills from my previous career,” he said. “My projects and stacks change every few weeks or months, so I’ve gotten my hands on a ton of technologies in the last year and a half. I’m learning new skills every day and constantly asking myself ‘How can I do this better?’.”
His position has also allowed him to expand his development skillset – building on the foundation he developed while at Flatiron School.
“My company specializes in data visualizations so from the start of my job, I’ve learned some really cool frameworks and libraries. I’ve built sites in React, Vue, and Svelte, and some pretty cool interactive experiences with d3 and Three.js. [I rebuilt] the company website from scratch a few months back in NUXT3, which I find to be an amazing framework. It offers universal rendering so you get the flexibility of single-page applications, while also the performance and SEO of a static site. You can check it out at SchemaDesign.com.”
Reflecting On His Journey
Looking back on where he began three years ago, Jon emphasizes the importance of believing that you can actually make a change.
“My biggest takeaway from Flatiron School was that I am capable of learning new tricks. I’d been in my former career for over a decade and worried that I wouldn’t be able to adapt to a new setting,” he recalled. “It took a while to believe in myself and get over impostor syndrome, but eventually, you do eventually feel like a real Software Engineer.”
His advice for current and future Software Engineering students is to lean into the uncomfortable nature of change.
“Learn to be comfortable with not knowing. So much of software engineering is getting a problem or task you haven’t solved before and figuring out how to tackle it. Be confident in your ability to learn new skills, and know that this feeling of not knowing exactly what you’re doing means you’re on the right track. It isn’t forever and you will see tangible growth in even a few months from where you’re at right now.”
Ready For A Change, Just Like Jon Brundage Jr.?
Apply Now to join other career changers like Jon Brundage Jr. 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 can help 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 28 July 2023. Current policies, offerings, procedures, and programs may differ. For up-to-date information visit FlatironSchool.com.
Posted by Anna Johnson / July 28, 2023
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