Alumni Spotlight

From Project Manager to Software Engineer after Coding Temple

Jess Feldman

Written By Jess Feldman

Last updated on June 2, 2021

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Renata was bored with her project management job and ready for a change, but wasn’t sure she could return to college for a Computer Science degree. After thorough research, Renata decided to enroll in Coding Temple’s online software engineering bootcamp. Renata shares what she learned in the Coding Temple curriculum (including some data analytics) and how the rigorous career services helped her land a new job as a Software Engineer at benefitbay. 

What inspired you to pivot into software engineering? 

I have a degree in Chinese for International Business, but once I completed school in France, I moved to Florida and my degree was useless. I went through many different jobs, including working as a project manager for a coffee company. I was bored and I wanted something more. 

At first, I thought about just going back to school for a Computer Science degree, but because I'm from the Czech Republic and my bachelor's degree is from France, it was nearly impossible for me to enroll in college here. I started looking into how I could become a software engineer, and that's what led me to considering a coding bootcamp.

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

I knew nothing about coding when I started to research coding bootcamps — I didn't even know there were different coding languages! When I began my research, I wanted to figure out the best programming language to learn, and then I narrowed it down to the best-rated coding bootcamps. I went on Course Report and saw that Coding Temple was highly rated, and that convinced me to enroll.

What was the Coding Temple application process like for you? 

To get into the bootcamp, I completed about three weeks of prep work. I took my time with the prep work because I wanted it to look good and it helped me not to go into the bootcamp blindly. The prep work had me use HTML and CSS to create a one-page template, and I used Python to create and solve certain essential functions.

Did you receive any scholarships from Coding Temple? 

I received Coding Temple’s Women in Tech $500 tuition discount and I applied for financing for the remaining tuition. I started bootcamp in October 2020, and I made my first payment for the bootcamp after I graduated and landed a job at the end of April 2021. 

What was a typical day or week like at Coding Temple? 

In the morning, we would start working on that day’s lesson. We broke for lunch, and then finished that day’s lesson. We were assigned homework, and Coding Temple expected homework to be done by the next day. I would usually ask our instructor for extra resources for whatever we were studying from because I liked to continue practicing in my own time. 

What did you learn in the bootcamp?

The curriculum covered Python, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and we worked a lot with Flask and React. There was also a significant portion on data, databases, and SQL. One quarter of the curriculum was for people who were interested in web development or app development, and the other part was geared towards data, data structures, and data analysis. 

Since this was an online bootcamp, how did you collaborate with your instructors and classmates?

I used to work from home even before COVID, so I was used to a remote learning style. If we had any questions during the bootcamp, there were always at least one or two teachers assisting us. You could schedule meetings with them and discuss whatever difficulties you were having. 

We had several Slack groups where we could connect with our peers, as well as alumni who went through the course years prior. These channels were helpful when I would meet with a group of close co-students to discuss our difficulties and support each other’s job searches. 

What kinds of projects did you work on at Coding Temple?

For our homework projects, we created a website and different games with Python. We worked on an online store project with the back and front end. We also completed a few data analytics projects where we worked on SQL databases.

How did Coding Temple prepare you for the job hunt? 

When I started at Coding Temple, I didn't even have a LinkedIn account but their career services helped me build all of that. Marlene Tang, the Alumni Director and Career Coach at Coding Temple, was the most excellent help for me during the job search because she gave me great tools for the process.

Coding Temple had us practice algorithms and prepare for all of those questions that come up during technical interviews. We had mock interviews throughout the classes. Coding Temple also hosted different speakers, such as career coaches, bootcamp alumni, software engineers, and data analysts.

What kinds of jobs did you feel qualified to apply for after graduating from Coding Temple?

I applied for junior developer positions. I am qualified for full stack positions, but initially I wanted to work in the front end. It's funny because now in my actual job I do more back end development.

Congrats on your new software engineering job at benefitbay! How did you land the job? 

Marlene at Coding Temple encouraged me to network, so I started networking a lot, which often meant cold messaging people on LinkedIn. I connected with benefitbay’s CEO, which was a brand new startup, and he told me they were looking for software engineers. I interviewed with the CEO and with the Director of Engineering, and that was it! They hired me, intending to train me. Since they develop in Ruby on Rails rather than Python, they bought me a Ruby on Rails course to get me up to speed.

What types of projects are you working on?

My current role is software engineer, and I’m part of a small team with the Director of Engineering, a devops engineer, and three other senior engineers. I'm still in the learning process, and many different projects are going on at benefitbay. Sometimes I’m working on a front end project; sometimes it's a back end project. I also work on quality testing to make sure that everything is the way it's meant to be. 

What are the benefits of working at a startup as a Software Engineer?

Because we are a start-up, I get to do anything and everything! We are a small team, so we are close. I can go to any of the engineers and ask them questions, and they will never tell me that they're too busy or don't have time for me. We all know each other, and we're all very close. In general, the start-up landscape is fascinating. It's this brand new thing, and you get to be part of all of it.

Looking back, was Coding Temple worth it for you? 

Absolutely. I use everything that I learned at Coding Temple, even the things I thought I wouldn't use, from HTML to Ruby on Rails, which is very similar to Python. I had to do graphs the other day, which is the data analytics facet that I thought I'd never use!

But it's not just about the coding languages that I learned at the bootcamp — Coding Temple taught me about the whole process. They guided me through the interview process, and it made a difference to always have people behind me helping me learn and look for a job. One big thing that I learned at Coding Temple was how to present myself and how to believe in myself. Coding Temple was worth it, from beginning to end.

What do you wish you knew before enrolling in Coding Temple?

Learning how to code is hard for everybody. You will feel stupid, but you are not. You are just learning, and the learning is so extensive. I have a friend who reached out to me and asked about coding bootcamp. He is now enrolled at a bootcamp in Florida, and he asked me, "Why do I feel so dumb?" I told him it's because he's learning a brand new thing. It can be intense! 

Learning how to code is a lot of work, but it is worth it. Remember that you don't have to feel like you know everything right now. 

Find out more and read Coding Temple 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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