Alumni Spotlight

How Amy Made the Jump from Tourism to Software Engineering

Jess Feldman

Written By Jess Feldman

Last updated on May 30, 2024

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After a decade working in travel & tourism, the COVID pandemic sparked Amy to rethink her future. Between her longtime interest in tech and a friend who recommended a bootcamp, Amy considered her options to learn coding and enrolled in The Jump’s Part-Time, Full Stack Bootcamp. Equipped with frameworks and tools like React and Docker, Amy is now a Junior Front End Software Engineer with Intelligence Fusion! Amy shares how she juggled parenting, working full-time, and The Jump, and her tips for other working parents considering a pivot into tech. 

What inspired you to pivot into software engineering in 2021?

For 10 years, I was Head of Marketing & Business Development for a small travel & tourism company that does coach tours around Scotland. Though I loved my job, the COVID lockdown made me reconsider if it was something I wanted to do for the next 10 years. And I realized that it wasn't.

I've always been interested in tech and I had a friend who had joined a tech bootcamp that changed their life. I was inspired to consider it for myself and see what my options were. I began teaching myself coding basics with freeCodeCamp and Udemy, and I realized I loved coding! I loved problem-solving, doing something different, and being in tech. There was nothing better for me — I was hooked. Uncovering a solution to a challenge was such a great feeling and I became confident that this was what I wanted to do with my life. 

What set The Jump apart from other coding bootcamps? 

I spoke to a few coding bootcamps to discuss the intensity of a 12-week, full-time bootcamp. I couldn't see how that schedule would fit in with my family-life, since my child was two-years-old at the time and it felt problematic to remove myself entirely from my family to focus on my career. 

When I found out about The Jump through an Instagram ad, my interest was piqued. I spoke with The Jump’s cofounder, Robert Sherry, and he answered all my questions without pressuring me to make a decision. There was no hard sell; he just tried to help and I really appreciated that. The Jump offered a part-time program that began in a week, so I decided to take the plunge!

Did you have to complete any prework?

Robert assured me that I just had to just show up and they would teach me everything in the bootcamp, but I still did some free coding courses in the meantime because I wanted to feel very prepared.

Do you recommend incoming students have some coding knowledge before day one of the bootcamp?

If you have a job, child, or a busy social life, I recommend getting some kind of coding foundation before you attend a bootcamp so you know the basics of what they're talking about.

If you have a lot of free time, you could just show up and do it all at the bootcamp. At The Jump, they are so supportive and able to answer any questions. For me, I was grateful to have had some prior knowledge going in.

What was a typical day like in The Jump’s online, part-time full stack bootcamp

The Jump’s online, part-time full stack bootcamp met two nights a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) from 6:30pm-9:30pm. I would finish my day job, have dinner with my family, and go straight into the course. Sometimes it could be hard work to train for three hours after a full day of work because it was a lot of information. However, we did enjoy a 10-min break every hour to relax, stretch, get a drink, and start again. There was also always homework, such as a small project to build or some reading. I was coding every day for six months.  

Did the online teaching style match how you personally learn?

I'm quite a visual learner, so the slides were helpful. Our instructors would send the slides before the lesson so we could look it over before class. There was always someone there if you needed help. Russell, my course instructor, was always on Slack and would reply quickly to any questions. 

How did you juggle this part-time bootcamp with being a mom of a 2-year-old and working full-time?

It was a big schedule, but I had the support of my fantastic husband who helped me so much. Going in with these responsibilities, I knew I had to be structured with my time. To make it work, I separated time with my family, working, and studying on my own in the evening. When my son went to bed, that's when I had to study. Others in my cohort might have had free time on the weekends, but for me, if I wasn't in the online classroom, I was studying every evening. 

It was a lot to do in six months, but I knew it would end. I was so passionate about what I was doing and really enjoyed the bootcamp. If I hadn't enjoyed the bootcamp, it would have been awful and I would have dropped out, but it was fun! It was hard work, but my instructor was so supportive. It was nice building something and chatting with people about it — I appreciated the challenge.

What did you learn in the bootcamp curriculum?

We started with HTML and CSS, then moved into JavaScript. Then we covered React and learned Node.js for the back end together with SQL and NoSQL for databases (Postgres and MongoDB). After learning the back end, we did DevOps work and learned Docker.

What is the online community like at The Jump? Were you able to connect with your cohort?

I am a sociable person and like being around people. It was a bit jarring to learn online because you really don't know anyone — they're just faces on a screen but after not much time at all you start to get to know people. The Jump get you to set up a WhatsApp group that they’re not part of so that you can have your own shared experience and build a community together - we would message each other daily to check in, offer support and even share tips and advice!

We also paired off each week for pair programming, and that helped us get to know everyone. It could have been cliquey in-person because maybe we wouldn't have chatted with everyone, but because it was online, it was easier to connect with each person in the group. We took turns getting to know each other for a full week which was quite nice. 

One of the most enjoyable moments at the bootcamp was taking part in an 8-hour hackathon. It was something that I was nervous about at first, since we hadn’t all coded together as a group and we were under a time constraint, but it was so much fun! Working together as a group really helped me understand how other people code — We helped each other throughout the hackathon and even had a few slices of pizza to celebrate our win!

At the end of the bootcamp, the Jump arranged a lovely get-together in London to celebrate how far we’ve come. It was great to finally meet everyone face-to-face and make lasting friendships. We all keep in touch and check in with each other, too.

What kinds of projects did you work on at The Jump?

Each stage in the curriculum had an accompanying project. During the HTML portion, we built a simple HTML website, then during the CSS segment, we added that to the HTML project. 

When it came into JavaScript and React, we did one big project. I worked on a web app for my then-employer. When we studied the back end, we applied it to that JavaScript project.

Sometimes other bootcamps have small projects that are less impressive. What we built at The Jump were practical projects that we could use when meeting with potential employers to show what we can do.

How did The Jump prepare you for the job hunt? 

The Jump helped me a lot with all the different stages I went through when changing careers. They showed me the best places to look for job opportunities, what recruitment tech to use and what I should be looking for. They reformatted my CV and went through my portfolio with a fine tooth comb making sure everything looked good. They knew what employers would be looking for and offered honest feedback. 

They also offered mock interviews to everyone on the cohort and I took them up on the offer. I thought one of my practice interviews went horribly! I was nearly in tears by the end of it but the whole team was there to support me and help me improve. When I got my job offer, they helped me with the acceptance and resignation process. They checked in with me every step of the way, offering support and guidance. It could’ve been a really daunting process, but they really helped me every step of the way. 

What kinds of tech jobs did you feel prepared to apply for?

I was more comfortable with entry-level front end developer roles, since we spent so much time on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and React, but I applied for full stack roles as well.

How long did it take you to land a job after bootcamp graduation?

I graduated and then spent a couple months perfecting my portfolio. But from the time I sent out my CV, it took me two weeks to find a job!

Congrats on your job as a Junior Front End Software Engineer at Intelligence Fusion! How did you land the job?

Intelligence Fusion is a threat intelligence software, so going from working in tourism to threat intelligence is quite a leap for me! I posted my portfolio on a job website called Otta, where someone from Intelligence Fusion found me and reached out. We had an interview where  Intelligence Fusion wanted to see what I had learned at The Jump and what I was more confident with. Then I got the job!

What kinds of projects are you working on now at Intelligence Fusion?

I work on the front end developer team where we develop client facing bespoke security software using React and Typescript. Every day I'll be working on different tasks, creating or refactoring existing components, it's a fun and challenging role, I'm really enjoying it!

Are you using everything that you learned at The Jump?

I started in November and I've already learned so much at Intelligence Fusion! I've used a lot of what The Jump taught me, such as React and Docker, which I use daily. On top of that, I had to learn things like styled components, Typescript, and different ways of doing things on the job.  There were things that I knew I'd be using but didn't expect to be a big part of my day, such as using the terminal and Git ended up being a huge part of the day.

Overall, being in a bootcamp teaches you how to learn quickly. If I didn't know it before, I know I'm going to have to know it tomorrow, so I have to study right now to keep up to speed. . 

What’s your advice to recent bootcamp grads on landing their first software engineering jobs?

Get your CV out there and keep applying to jobs even when it gets tough. If you haven't heard from the company, follow up! It might be that they haven't gotten around to picking candidates yet. If you actually follow up, they're probably likely to get in touch. If you're not suitable, at least you'll get some feedback and you'll know why, and that'll definitely help.

To stay sane, keep believing in yourself! It can be really disheartening when you don't hear back from people, but just keep on.

At this point in your tech career, was enrolling at The Jump worth it for you?

100%, yes. I wouldn't have been able to do this learning by myself because life would have gotten in the way and I'm quite an unstructured person at the best of times, so having that accountability was a huge factor in me changing careers. I wouldn't have changed careers without actually going to The Jump. 

I’m so happy I chose to go with a family-run coding bootcamp that genuinely cares about your progression on the course, your success, and even go to the trouble to check in with you after you’ve graduated to see how you’re doing. I never felt like “just a number” at the Jump — I always felt like someone who they genuinely cared about and wanted to succeed.

Do you have any advice for other working parents who are considering a career change into tech this year? Anything you wish you knew before day one of the bootcamp?

I would 100% recommend tech for parents. Working in tech at this moment in time offers job security. Before this, I was in the office from 8am-6pm, taking my work home with me. Now I work at home, so I can take my child to nursery and back and not have to worry about going into an office. It's a nice environment to be a parent in. Everyone is more relaxed and people trust you'll get the work done. You don't have to be in the office or do the commute. It's such a nicer way of working and I love it.

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

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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