Alumni Spotlight

From Musician to WebXR Developer after Coding Temple

Jess Feldman

Written By Jess Feldman

Liz Eggleston

Edited By Liz Eggleston

Last updated on May 30, 2024

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Asheville-based musician Lee Dyer’s coding journey began by building his own songwriting website. When his self-taught technical skills hit a ceiling, he realized he needed structured guidance and support, so he enrolled in the part-time Software Engineering Bootcamp at Coding Temple. Lee shares how Coding Temple’s tech stack, educational support, and career services team helped ensure he had what it took to land his first tech role as a WebXR Developer at a local software development company!

What inspired you to get into software development in 2024?

I’m a musician, and I was running a Wix social media page for songwriters to encourage each other to write a song each month, but my website wasn't doing all of the things that I wanted it to do. After digging into the Wix platform, I realized I needed to learn how to code to build the type of dynamic site I wanted. The deeper I got into my self-teaching and the more advanced it got, the more I discovered I loved learning about code! 

There are so many coding bootcamps now — Why did you choose Coding Temple?

The first reason I chose Coding Temple was for its tech stack. I knew basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and I wanted to learn React. A coder friend looked at the Coding Temple curriculum and affirmed that it covers everything needed to get started in tech. 

I also liked that Coding Temple has a job guarantee. This gave me the confidence that I would be supported in the job hunt and that Coding Temple has integrity in their education. I never wanted my money back — I really wanted a program that would come through and help me get a tech job!

Did you feel like you had to know basic coding to apply to Coding Temple?

They're very clear that you don't need to know how to code, but I highly recommend learning as much as you can before entering the bootcamp. By knowing some code, you'll feel like you're learning faster because you already know the gist of it. I recommend becoming familiar with HTML, CSS, and a little bit of JavaScript. Learn how these languages work together to create a basic web page. Since the curriculum builds on itself, I felt confident in how I was learning since it reinforced what I’d taught myself, but in a structured and scaffolded way. 

Did you do the part-time or full-time bootcamp at Coding Temple?

I was in the part-time Software Development Bootcamp at Coding Temple, which covers the same material as the full-time program but over a longer period of time. I'm glad I did the part-time bootcamp because I had enough time in class to learn and then apply that knowledge to my own projects to push me forward. I was working at a restaurant in the morning and then attended the bootcamp Monday through Thursday for around three hours each day. 

For those with less experience with coding and who need more time to ask questions, the full-time bootcamp might be a better fit. 

What kinds of projects did you work on in the bootcamp?

To graduate, we needed to complete a capstone project, but for your portfolio, it’s helpful to have more than one project. Flask and React were the two big frameworks that we learned, so I built a Flask app while I was working on my React app, which meant I ended up with two projects. I did my capstone on the same songwriting website that got me into tech, but this time I built it in React! 

Overall, it was helpful to have a sense of a desired outcome for these projects when I started the bootcamp. This helped give me direction so I didn’t have to spend time coming up with project ideas during the bootcamp. 

What were your instructors like? Did their teaching style match how you learn?

Our instructors wanted students to ask questions. They always had the answer or could find the answer very quickly for us. They didn't feel like stuffy old college professors; they definitely knew what they were doing and were easy to relate to.

Since this is an online bootcamp, did you feel connected to the larger Coding Temple community?

Absolutely! I did connect with my peers while I was in class, but more so when I was job hunting and alumni were helping each other with job postings and other resources. Now I'm connected to the massive Alumni Slack community, so people are always posting hackathon ideas and collaborating — I talk to Coding Temple alumni daily now!

I also regularly communicate with a few instructors. When I’m feeling frustrated with my job hunt, they help get me out of a rut.

How did Coding Temple prepare you for the tech job hunt

After graduating, I was assigned to a career coach who supported me in my post-graduation job search with mock interviews and other tools and resources. Career services start after you're done learning, which I personally found a little jarring to transition from learning the coding curriculum to working on career services, but the experience itself has been amazing and the people are awesome. 

I've learned so much from every meeting I've attended. It's been an exceptional post-graduation experience with Coding Temple. They also host workshops to dive deeper into topics to support our ongoing learning. 

Which tech roles did you feel qualified to apply for after graduating?

One of the first pieces of career advice I got from Coding Temple was to apply to everything and anything, so I took that to heart. I will apply to senior roles that require 13 years of experience in programs that didn't exist 13 years ago. They say it's a numbers game and you have to apply to hundreds of jobs, which is hard to do if you're being picky about what you're applying for. I applied to jobs whether or not I was qualified. 

Oddly enough, one of the companies that got back to me was for a C programmer position even though I didn’t know that language and it wasn’t listed on my resume. The jobs that I applied for that had the exact skills I had didn’t reach out. You never know! 

Now you’re a WebXR Developer at the software development company, Aktïga! How did you get the job? 

The way I got the job was by reaching out to people on LinkedIn, specifically to people in Asheville who had some connection with music. I met the CEO of Aktïga for an informational session. I wasn't trying to apply for a job; I was just trying to network with locals to pick their brains. We met for coffee and talked about music and he told me about his company and pretty much hired me on the spot. I didn’t realize it was actually an interview! 

What is your advice to coding bootcamp graduates looking for their first developer role

What worked for my job search was reaching out to real people and building connections that way. You don't ask them for a job, you just ask to talk to them. It’s easy to ask ten people to meet for an informational interview, something I learned from my career coach! Even if that connection doesn’t lead to a job, it’s still invigorating to talk to someone higher up in the field you’re pursuing. 

Was Aktïga interested in your bootcamp experience or project portfolio?

We did talk about the bootcamp. Aktïga was interested in what languages I knew and how Coding Temple taught me the essentials. They also wanted to hear how I’m still learning on my own. I think being local was huge, on top of just being a nice and genuine person. Recruiters recommend being coachable, especially as someone just starting out in a new tech career.

What kinds of projects are you working on now at Aktïga? 

I'm working on an agenda-keeper app to help consolidate meetings and keep meetings organized. We’re building it for our company since one-hour meetings often turn into two-hour meetings because we get sidetracked, but we’re also hoping to get investors. 

We also focus on 3D and VR work. As soon as  I started at Aktïga, I began working on some of the hardest stuff I've ever done in my life! I worked on 3D design and graphics using Blender and succeeded in building out my own custom teleportation component. It was really intense and exciting! 

So far, are you using what you learned at Coding Temple now on the job? 

All the time. Coding Temple teaches the fundamentals of React and I use React daily. We use TypeScript, and Coding Temple covered the basics of that. Coding Temple taught me what you need to know to make an app work, and it’s nice to have my bootcamp notes to go back to when I need refreshers. 

Are you using AI tools on the job, too?

I do! It makes things faster, especially with the 3D work. I use ChatGPT to get the basics of a component and I’ll make it work with Typescript. Aktïga also hooked me up with Github Copilot and it’s a game-changer! Sometimes I want to turn it off when it autocompletes a filter and I want to test myself to remember the syntax, but overall it speeds things up so much.

At this point in your tech career, was Coding Temple worth it for you? 

Absolutely. For me, going to Coding Temple gave me the tools, confidence, and determination I needed to succeed. 

The biggest thing I got out of it was the confidence that I knew enough to do what I needed to do. I'm the kind of person who needs motivation to keep me on the path. This has been the hardest thing I've ever done in my life and the fear of failure pushed me forward. I absolutely love this work. 

What is your advice for making the most of the Coding Temple experience? Anything you wish you knew before day one of the bootcamp?

You have to be willing to put up with the stress of a bootcamp. I wouldn't recommend a bootcamp to everyone because the work never ends and you have to be resilient, self-motivated, and persevere. The hustle continues beyond the bootcamp and it’s a rollercoaster that wouldn’t be a good fit for certain people.

I also recommend people try to figure out what area of coding they want to do once they start the bootcamp and get experience.

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

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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