Seth Blanchard: From Social Worker To Software Engineer

After spending 15 years as a social worker, the pandemic motivated Seth Blanchard to try something he’d always wanted to at Flatiron School – software engineering. Since graduating from the program, Seth is working as an Associate Customer Solutions Engineer.

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Seth Blanchard, an August 2021 Software Engineering Flatiron School graduate, spent almost two decades as a self-employed social worker before the pandemic put a hold on the industry. 

He shares his journey from social worker to software engineer below.

What is your background and why did you choose to attend Flatiron?

I have a background in Social Work and spent the bulk of the last 15 years working for myself.  

I contracted with various local social services agencies within central VA and the focus of my efforts was working with families to locate employment, housing, benefits, transportation, daycare, etc.  

Being self-employed in this industry while COVID was happening caused many of my large contracts to vanish.  

I have always had an affinity for building things and had gravitated toward software development. When work slowed, it was a great time to make a change.  

I chose Flatiron because it seemed to have a good reputation. I hoped to get the development skills and [the certificate] which I felt would increase my chance of success in a total career switch. 

How do you like working as an engineer?

I am working with mainframes, particularly the IBMz and process automation, which is not something I had anticipated. The work is quite different from current trends in software development, but I have enjoyed the challenges.

How does the reality of working as a software engineer contrast to what you thought it would be like?

I enjoy working at Rocket and value their emphasis on work/life balance as well as advancement. There are so many opportunities.

Walk me through a “day in the life” of your job.

I spend most of my day using customer-side requirements to build process automation “robots” which navigate through the mainframe and accomplish tasks.  

When not directly coding, I am working with the analysts to better understand, and properly implement the requirement logic.

Any advice for current Flatiron School students?

Start the informal job search earlier than you think you should. That part can take a while and having a certification isn’t necessarily an automatic door-opener. You will have to do a great deal of work to differentiate yourself.

Inspired by Seth Blanchard’s career change?

Ready to take charge of your future? Apply Now to join other career changers like Seth Blanchard 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 in 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 16 December 2022. For updated information visit https://flatironschool.com/.

Posted by Anna Johnson  /  December 22, 2022