Alumni Spotlight

From Dietitian to Software Engineer with The Software Guild

Jess Feldman

Written By Jess Feldman

Last updated on February 18, 2021

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When Miranda decided to pivot from clinical dietitian into software engineering, she was drawn to The Software Guild because of their reputation in Louisville. Miranda explains how The Software Guild’s remote Java bootcamp made it possible to make a career-change while working full-time. Plus, Miranda shares how The Software Guild’s career services team gave her the support she needed to land her first software engineering role after graduating!

What inspired you to pivot into tech in 2020?

I graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor's degree in dietetics, and then I worked for five years as a clinical dietitian. I focused on nutrition support, which included doing tube-feeding calculations. I always enjoyed the math and science side of the job, and I wanted to use my background in STEM to move into the tech industry and away from a hands-on medical career.

There are so many coding bootcamps out there — what stood out about The Software Guild?

It was a no-brainer choice for me! I knew people who went through The Software Guild's bootcamp, and I had heard of their good reputation and job placement services. When they had a campus in Louisville, I was able to meet the instructors. Plus, the ability to work full-time while learning programming was a major factor in my decision.

What was the Software Guild application and interview process like for you?

There was a phone-screen and an aptitude test with logic questions. They wanted to know that I had the personality and mindset for the work, but they did not make me pass a technical course or test. There were no coding requirements to get into the bootcamp at all. 

To prepare for Software Guild, I went through their Introduction to Web Development course. It taught HTML, CSS, and some JavaScript. In this prep course, we made our own restaurant website!

How did you pay for The Software Guild tuition

The Software Guild offered financing, but I received a Women in Tech Award that took $2,000 off of my tuition. Also, The Software Guild separates the online bootcamp into four courses, so students pay for each section separately. Dividing the bootcamp up into sections broke the price into manageable chunks for me, and I preferred paying little by little instead of one lump sum upfront. 

What was a typical day like in The Software Guild’s Java bootcamp? 

The learning style is independent, so I went through the courses and projects on my own. There were weekly meetings with my instructor, and we would go over whatever project I was working on. Software Guild’s Slack channels were also really helpful, especially when I got stuck or needed support. There is an open office hours channel and a general channel. If I ever had an issue, instructors would jump on a Zoom call to assist me. I also liked that women were very represented in the online learning space. 

What did The Software Guild’s Java bootcamp curriculum cover?

It's a full stack course. Other than learning Java, we worked on the Spring framework, MySQL databases, JavaScript, and Bootstrap for the front end.

Did the online teaching style match your learning style?

It was a good mix of reading material, videos, and virtual meetings with my instructor. During our video chats, we would go over the curriculum, which also helped the information to stick. Knowing the language we were learning was important to learning how to keep up with the conversation and follow the lesson. 

What kinds of projects did you build at Software Guild?

Many of the projects were fun! In one project called Superhero Sighting, I had to keep track of what locations I saw the superhero, and I used an integration with the Google Maps API and maintained everything in a MySQL database. Our final capstone project was building a company blog site. On the website, we had to be able to edit blog posts, upload photos, and keep track of data. To build it, I used Spring framework, Java, JavaScript, and Bootstrap. I presented my capstone project to my instructor once it was finished.

Do you have any tips for new bootcampers at The Software Guild?

Try to absorb as much as you can and get the most out of the experience. It would be easy to skip assignments and just do the graded ones, but it's important to take every opportunity to practice. Don't skip out on anything. Put your head down and work hard for a few months. It will be worth it!

How did you successfully juggle working a job while enrolled in the bootcamp? 

Balancing a full-time job and courses can be both exhausting and frustrating, so it takes good time management to juggle both a job and bootcamp. I would work eight hours a day, come home, relax for an hour, then get on the computer and begin learning through the Software Guild. If you are working and completing the bootcamp simultaneously, try hard to maintain healthy habits, like getting enough sleep and exercise, so you can stay on top of both. 

How did The Software Guild prepare you for the job hunt? 

My career services coach, Kipp Graham was great! We had regular phone calls to discuss my career goals, and Kipp looked over my resume, cover letters, and portfolio site. The career services team gave me mock interviews and mock technical interviews to prepare for my job interviews.

What kinds of tech roles did you feel qualified to apply for after graduating from The Software Guild?

I felt qualified to apply for developer opportunities that were entry-level, junior-level, or just for someone who was willing to learn. Completing The Software Guild’s online bootcamp made me familiar with remote learning and communication, so I felt comfortable applying for remote developer positions. 

Do you have any advice for other women who are considering a career change into software engineering?

Don’t let software engineering intimidate you. I left a female-dominated field and worried about a dramatic change in work culture when I entered tech, but I didn’t let it stop me. Every woman deserves the chance to be in tech, just like every man does. 

Congratulations on your new job as a software engineer at Walker Information! How did you land the job?

Walker Information is an experience management services firm that has a partnership with Qualtrics to build surveys for companies. I saw the job posted on Indeed, and I applied directly on their website. There was a phone-screening and a technical interview, where I had to solve a JavaScript problem. The Walker Information rep told me 5 days prior to my technical interview that I would be doing a JavaScript problem, so I studied a lot before the interview! Although I wasn’t able to complete the JavaScript problem in the time I was given, I told the interviewer what I would have done if I had more time. Soon after, I got the job offer!

What team do you work on now at Walker Information? What are you working on? 

I'm part of the engineering services team. We have a solutions architect on our team, database analysts, and a couple of software engineers. Right now, I am building the customer surveys for the Technology Services team, so I use JavaScript. Soon, I will be working on API integrations and managing data from those surveys.

Did you need to learn any new technologies for your job at Walker Information?

I have to learn the Qualtrics platform, which anyone who jumped into this role would need to learn since it is software specific to Walker Information. I am using what I learned from The Software Guild, too. I've already pulled up some of my Software Guild courses and read back through them as a refresher.

Looking back, was enrolling at The Software Guild worth it for you?

I actually made the decision to change my career before COVID-19, but especially with the pandemic, I am happy to work from home now. I feel valued in my job as a software engineer and I have room to grow. There are more opportunities for me now and many avenues to choose from.

Find out more and read The Software Guild reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with The Software Guild.

About The Author

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman is an accomplished writer and the Content Manager at Course Report, the leading platform for career changers who are exploring coding bootcamps. With a background in writing, teaching, and social media management, Jess plays a pivotal role in helping Course Report readers make informed decisions about their educational journey.

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