Kirsten Ruge, 33, had a bachelor’s degree in ecology and was struggling to establish a career. She worked as a cab driver and at a restaurant. As a drummer in the Minneapolis band Kloud, she also taught music lessons to girls.

Kirsten decided to pursue a tech career because she wanted a job with a stable income and benefits like paid time off. She was able to apply to The Software Guild thanks to a scholarship from the Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis. The coding bootcamp’s “track record was proven, but it was still hard to convince my parents,” Kirsten said. “The scholarship made it possible.”

Kirsten appreciated the learning environment of the 12-week full-time Java bootcamp in Minneapolis. “It was more fun to be downtown than at home pulling your hair out,” she said.

Kirsten received her first job offer about a month after she graduated in December 2016. “I got three job offers in one week,” she said. She picked RedBrick Health — a company that works with health and wellness software to track health data of employees, track large amounts of health-related data and provide incentives for clients — because she liked the atmosphere. “It only took three days from the initial contact to being hired,” she said.

Kirsten is an automation engineer, working with a small team on day-to-day operations, ensuring accuracy of files and data, and creating automation for the process. One challenge was switching to using Python instead of Java, but The Software Guild prepared her well to transition to the new language.

“The number of hours you spend coding at The Software Guild every day is really what prepared me,” Kirsten said. “It taught me to do things on my own, and just because you don’t know how to do something doesn’t mean you can’t figure it out. Just keep trying, and you will get it.”

The Software Guild changed Kirsten’s life. She has what she wanted — a career in an in-demand field. Her income nearly doubled, and she has paid vacation at her job. “Now I am buying a house,” she said. “It is a huge difference in life quality. A college degree doesn’t guarantee this kind of life.”

Plus, she can “have a life outside of work” and dedicate time to her band. “I am able to have PTO when I am on the road for the band,” she said.

Jobs are plentiful in software development. Even though Kirsten is off the job market, she said she still gets calls about opportunities daily. “The chances of ending up somewhere better than you are now are very high. I would say that if you work hard at The Software Guild, you will get a job and it will be worth it,” she said. “The Software Guild gives you very well-rounded skills. I will probably never have to apply for a job again.”

Coding bootcamps such as The Software Guild offer an outcomes-focused, intensive learning environment for those interested in programming careers.