Stan was a lab assistant who moved to the HR department while pursuing his marketing degree. But he soon realized that marketing wasn’t for him, and decided to switch gears to learn code at LearningFuze web development bootcamp in Orange County, California. Stan is now a web developer at YoloCare and loving it. Find out why LearningFuze “was the best, most intense, and most fun learning experience” he’s ever had, and how he’s now giving back by mentoring new LearningFuze students in his spare time.
What was your educational or career path before you attended LearningFuze?
My path before LearningFuze was somewhat of a mess because I didn't really have a career. I’m originally from Singapore and moved to the US at 17. I had been in California for about four years or so, and had been doing different office and restaurant jobs. I also worked at Quest Diagnostics as a lab assistant and the HR department while getting my degree in marketing all the while looking for my passion.
I did try a job or two in marketing, and concluded it wasn’t really for me. I'd always really liked working with computers, so I did some research into bootcamps and specifically LearningFuze.
What made you want to learn to code after getting a marketing degree?
I've always been very computer oriented, and in my marketing roles, I had the opportunity to set up Wordpress sites. Many were crummy sites with very limited capabilities but my interest was piqued and wanted to be able to do greater things around building applications and websites.
In doing my research, I thought to myself, "Okay, I want to do this and I'm not really doing anything right now." I had quit my job at Quest and had gone to Peru to do some traveling. During that time, I made the decision to apply to LearningFuze and after working through the application process a week later I was in the program!
One of the things that helped me make the decision was that one of my friends at the time, had attended a coding bootcamp. She kept saying, "This is awesome. I'm making a lot of money. I can work remotely. I can vacation all the time. I’m coding in Hawaii!" It just made me realize, "Oh, yeah. I want to do that."
Did you research any other bootcamps besides LearningFuze?
I looked at other bootcamps, but the amount of good press on the internet for LearningFuze far outweighed other options.
Did you use any online resources to teach yourself web development before you attended LearningFuze?
I used Codecademy and Treehouse, and pretty much anything that I could find. Sometimes it made more sense to watch additional videos on You Tube about a certain concept.
What was your LearningFuze admission process like?
LearningFuze encourages you to go over the recommended study material, and they also provided practice problems to answer and I got most of them right. Then I was interviewed by the founder and staff to see if I was really capable of keeping up with the pace of the program. I guess they thought I was capable because I was admitted a week later.
Could you walk me through a typical day at LearningFuze?
I would wake up really early and get there at 7:30am, way earlier than the 10am class start time which was recommended by the lead instructor. I was a part of the morning bunch where we would do practice problems to get the day started. The learning would be nonstop until about 7:00pm or 8:00pm at night. The experience was pretty intense, especially during lessons that were a bit overwhelming. Because the learning is nonstop and LearningFuze is throwing new material at you, you’re completely immersed in it.
There were some breaks throughout the day where you could go outside and play badminton to clear your mind. Usually, those breaks allowed you to figure out the solution to the problem you were working on. Then it would be time to get back to coding.
Describe the instructors at LearningFuze.
We had two instructors, Dan, the lead instructor, and then there was Eric, one of the senior developers who also provided instruction. Dan was a warm and caring teacher so I really gravitated towards him. There were also other LearningFuze junior developers that assisted during the course of the day. A large portion of the instruction was done by Dan, and he's really excellent at it! This was the best and most fun learning experience I’ve ever had. It blew everything else out the water. If I could just learn at LearningFuze forever, I would do that.
What was your LearningFuze cohort like?
Our cohort was a really good group of people and we're still great friends. There were about 25 people, including about five women, and we had a hodgepodge of backgrounds. One guy turned 21 during the cohort, so the students took him out and did a little “celebration” on his birthday. That was fun!
LearningFuze conducts a small personality test pre-cohort when you're still doing prep work from home. We were told the majority of the cohort were really more introverted except for me and a couple of other people. We were the party starters and the dynamic worked well.
While you were at LearningFuze, was your favorite project that you worked on?
At the beginning, when you don’t really know what you’re doing, there's a big feeling of togetherness throughout the cohort. Everyone felt that, "oh, I don't really know what I'm doing. How do you do that?" So you would try and help each other. Towards the end, you have real, complex team projects where it's six of you on a team, and you're each doing your part. So this was a different kind of togetherness. I liked the whole experience and every project. There was no real favorite.
Did LearningFuze help you with job search preparation?
Yes, LearningFuze had mock interviews on whiteboards where you'd actually answer technical questions on the whiteboard, which was terrifying. Instructors would purposely make the questions difficult but it was great preparation for when you’d have to do a real technical question in an interview.
LearningFuze also worked to get your LinkedIn looking good, and our resumes and portfolios had to be submitted for review. They also brought in a guy who helped us with job placement. I trusted the process and listened to him because he’s helped a lot of other bootcamp grads find jobs.
What are you up to now that you’ve finished at LearningFuze?
I'm now a Web Developer for YoloCare and decided to go with a smaller company where we make websites for nursing homes. We have a lot of different clients and I also maintain and manage the servers and the websites. Whatever the support team can't do on the backend of WordPress, I also do.
Congrats! Tell me what the interview and hiring process was like for your new role.
It seemed like I was putting in a bunch of resumes, and for about a month, I wasn’t hearing anything back. It was kind of depressing because then I thought “Did I do the right thing? Did I make the right choice? Oh man, that was a lot of money.” Then everyone started asking me for an interview at the same time.
So the week I met with YoloCare, I had an interview with other companies every single day, so that felt great. I had applied to YoloCare the night before, and the very next morning I got an email asking if I could be there in an hour. Fortunately, I was available so I went. Everybody was super nice and super chill. Almost immediately, I felt that I wanted to work there. It seemed like the stars aligned and everything clicked.
What's a typical day like for you as a web developer at YoloCare?
I’ve been at YoloCare for about three months. The company is really flexible because when there is less to do, it's okay for me to study “stuff”, like topics I'm interested in because ultimately it will help the company. The more I know, the more I can do. So I love that about this job.
What was the ramp up period like for when you first started as a web developer?
I was so terrified. There’s one other developer on the team and he was on a surfing trip in Mexico when I first started. When I came in, I didn't know how everything was set up. Tickets would start coming in and it was pretty much, "yeah, fix this, fix that." It took some initial adjusting and at first I kept thinking, "oh, they're going to fire me!" And then he came back from his trip and he showed me how things were done at the company and I was set.
Are you utilizing the same languages that you were taught at LearningFuze in your current role?
Oh, yeah. One of my favorite parts of the job is coding on the server side in PHP. It’s great because I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do.
What would be your biggest challenge on your journey to learning web development?
I honestly think the hardest part is polishing your portfolio after you're done with the bootcamp. You're not always at the facility anymore so it’s important to stay focused, never stop learning and to stay motivated.
Are you still connected to the LearningFuze community?
Yes, I was there just yesterday helping out. I like being there because it's fun and it’s a good environment. LearningFuze gave me a lot, so I like to go back and help others with their problems and projects. I can sit down and talk them through by asking questions like, "Why is this working like that? What exactly are you trying to do? Have you really identified the problem?" and then they get to work, it feels great.
What advice do you have for people who are considering attending a coding bootcamp?
Just do it. I am 100% glad I did it because my life is so much better.