Brittney Scaccia, 29, spent three years working in software quality assurance at Trustwave in Chicago, Illinois, making sure that code written by developers worked correctly. As the problems she was working on grew more technical and required more coding knowledge, Brittney started to think that programming was something she could do with some training. She said to herself, “Why don’t I just take a couple of months and cram it in so I can hit the floor running?”
The Software Guild was one of the few coding bootcamps Brittney found that teaches Java, which was the language she wanted to learn. She told her bosses at Trustwave that she’d be taking a three-month leave of absence, with the intention of taking a position on the engineering and development team when she returned.
Challenges … and Rewards
Initially, Brittney found The Software Guild’s object oriented programming module quite challenging. “You couldn’t go and just get started,” she said. “You really had to think beforehand.”
Every week was a new challenge, but gradually she got to the point where she’d look back at challenges from previous weeks and wonder why she ever thought those concepts were difficult. “The first time it works, it’s kind of miraculous,” she said. “You work so hard on something, and then you can say, ‘Oh my God, I figured it out!’”
Work Hard, Play Hard
Brittney enjoyed learning from her instructors. The Software Guild’s curriculum was challenging, but she always felt she had the tools and help she needed. “Everybody was super helpful and had so much experience, so I felt comfortable asking them anything,” she said.
In particular, Brittney enjoyed The Software Guild’s weekly game nights and how they encouraged students to socialize with each other instead of isolating themselves. While there were some friendly rivalries between students in the Java and .NET/C# program tracks, everyone helped each other through the bootcamp. “It was like college all stuffed into three months,” she said. “You come out with the best friends and knowing more than when you started.”
New Career Prospects
Brittney was already familiar with some of the basics of software development from the QA side, but knowing how the code worked made all the difference. She learned how to build and compile software, how to communicate problems in ways that programmers understand and how to work in collaborative teams of programmers. She was even able to teach some of the people working in automation how to use Git.
Now, Brittney is able to pick and choose her projects, and she gets to see code she develops go live at Trustwave. “I look forward to being able to point at something on the internet and say, ‘I made that work.’ That’s why I got into this,” she said.