"It is an investment for your future, and it has already paid off. In one year, I have already made up the difference from what I was making in my old career."

Graduate Spotlight

Laura Williams, 34, had a different kind of full-time job during her .NET/C# cohort in Louisville. “My son is 3. I would work through lunch so I could be home in the evening and then would do some work after he was in bed,” she said. “It was taking a leap of faith that I would find a job quickly after graduating.”

Laura’s first day as a professional software developer was two weeks after completing her cohort. The only experience Laura had with coding was her own investigation into some basic HTML and JavaScript. She has a PhD in quantitative psychology from Vanderbilt University, but when she moved to Louisville, she had a hard time finding research jobs in her field.

A Supportive Environment

“I wanted to refocus my career without having to get a new degree,” she said. “The fact that the bootcamp was much shorter term really appealed to me.” In the bootcamp, Laura was surprised how much she worked with other people.

“At grad school, I got used to figuring things out on my own without relying on other people,” she said. “At the Guild, if you didn’t get something right, you could nudge the person next to you and say, ‘Hey, do you get this?’ Nobody was trying to outdo each other.” Laura also appreciated that she and her peers were treated like grown-ups; they weren’t spoon-fed information.

“Everybody was looking for a better opportunity,” she said. “Everyone was there to learn, not just to get through as a requirement.”

A New Career

Even after graduating, Laura still remains active in Guild activities and said she hangs around on Slack. “Since the Guild, I have added on a couple new languages that I am at least proficient in,” she said.

As a software developer at Composable Systems in the Nulu neighborhood of Louisville, she works on projects for various clients, both local and far away. “It is very full stack, and there is a lot of variety,” she said. “I can be tweaking front-end design or updating the database. I have been exposed to a lot of things already.”

The office in Nulu is a consulting firm located in a converted firehouse. “We have office dogs,” Laura said. “I’ll be in the middle of something and then feel a dog near my elbow wanting to play fetch!”

Community Leadership

Laura was part of a panel for a Code PaLOUsa hackathon in Louisville. Her panel discussed the transition from doing a coding bootcamp to being a working software developer.

“We’ve all encountered a lot of curiosity and occasional confusion about what you actually do in a bootcamp and why you would choose one,” Laura said. “So, we [had] a panel with topics including what bootcamps do and don’t cover, how we each chose to go to TSG, and what our previous careers and life experiences bring to our current jobs as devs.”

Comparing her academic research experience to soft skills training at the Guild, Laura said her familiarity with project management has helped her as a junior developer when interacting with people.

“The Guild prepared me so thoroughly for getting a development job. We had direct resources like the instructors and TAs,” she said. “It is an investment for your future, and it has already paid off. In one year, I have already made up the difference from what I was making in my old career. It is investing the money in yourself.”