After two years working as a nurse at a hospital, Andrea Tran was dealing with burnout and reassessing her career. She enrolled in the online Web Development Bootcamp at DigitalCrafts and dedicated her time to developing her skills to make a career path pivot into software engineering. Now Andrea, a Junior Software Engineer at Solstice, a green tech startup, shares how the technical foundation, bootcamp structure, and career support at DigitalCrafts made her career change possible.
What inspired you to make a career pivot from working as a registered nurse to becoming a software engineer?
I started my nursing career at the beginning of the pandemic, and I was burned out. I felt I had three options: I could continue my job, I could go back to school, or I could choose a new career. I was doing research and came across coding. I did a couple of YouTube tutorials and thought it was something I could do without getting tired of it. I thought it was enjoyable, so I decided to take a chance on myself and go to a coding bootcamp.
Are there any transferable skills between nursing and software engineering?
There’s more overlap than people would expect. You have to wear many hats as a nurse which also happens in a startup. You need the ability to manage multiple systems at once and prioritize what gets done and that applies to software engineering as well.
There are so many coding bootcamps — Why did you choose DigitalCrafts?
I had a couple of friends find success after completing the DigitalCrafts bootcamp. When I asked about their experiences, they enthusiastically recommended that I go.
Did you have to complete any pre-work for the bootcamp?
There was a DigitalCrafts pre-course that covered basic information like HTML and CSS.
Did you receive any scholarships from DigitalCrafts?
I got the You Belong in Tech scholarship from DigitalCrafts, which is for women and minorities in tech. There wasn’t a separate application to complete for the scholarship. I just had to check an extra box on my initial application.
What was a typical day like in the Web Development Bootcamp at DigitalCrafts?
There are a lot of forms a day could take during the bootcamp. During the first half of lecture days, we’d sign on, do a warm-up exercise, and listen to a short lecture. The second half would be dedicated to putting what we just learned into practice. We also had weeks that were dedicated to building projects. Project weeks were run in an Agile style with a short meeting in the morning and the rest of the day was free time.
What did you study in the Web Development Bootcamp curriculum?
We learned a PERN stack, which includes Postgres, Express, React, and Node. My cohort had some extra time, so we also covered Typescript.
Did the teaching style at DigitalCrafts match how you learn?
I don’t have a preference for how I learn. Our instructors were software engineers, and I appreciated that they wouldn’t lecture for too long because you learn best by doing.
How did you connect with your cohort and instructors in this online bootcamp?
You do get to know people throughout the course. It’s 17 weeks, and if you’re working together for that long, you gradually become friends. We had a Slack channel, and we spent a lot of time in breakout rooms together.
We became a small community even after graduation, and we have a Discord channel now. We continue to update each other and support each other through the job search process.
What kind of projects did you work on at DigitalCrafts?
We made a lot of projects! We had projects due at the end of every unit to measure our competency with the material in addition to the projects we made as exercises after lectures. Outside of the requirements for each project, we had a lot of creative freedom over what to make. I would say my most notable projects were my skincare e-commerce website and my capstone project which was a Pictionary game with real-time video and text chat.
Did you present your capstone project at a demo day?
Yes, that was a requirement for graduation. We presented our projects to our cohort and anyone else who was invited to the DigitalCrafts Slack channel. DigitalCrafts also hosts a Demo Day event where we could present to the general public.
How did DigitalCrafts help you prepare for the tech job hunt?
Career support starts at the beginning of the bootcamp. We completed a career services portfolio and resume before we graduated. There were also lectures for job search prep.
After graduation, we have access to the Slack channel where they’re always posting jobs. I could always contact a career services member there.
Which tech roles did you feel qualified for after graduating?
I wanted an entry-level position because nursing taught me that mentorship is important. When you’re new at something, there’s a lot of doubt when you enter a new role. You get imposter syndrome, and it’s important to have a support system to help you onboard and continue to grow. It’s also important for your employer to have a pathway for junior engineers. I didn’t want a job where they only give me an idea of how things operate and just tell me to get to work.
You’re now a Junior Software Engineer at Solstice! What was the interview process like for you?
Solstice is a startup where the goal is to make access to clean energy more equitable. We acquire and manage clients for solar garden developers. I found the role from a LinkedIn application. I think the interview process went smoothly, and I’m sure the material I learned from DigitalCrafts helped prepare for it.
What kind of projects are you working on now?
Right now, I’m working on the platform team. We build and maintain the main application. It’s basically tools for the customer, developer, and our customer service team to help manage the customer base.
At this point in your new tech career, do you feel like DigitalCrafts was worth it for you?
What is your advice for making the most out of the DigitalCrafts experience?
With coding bootcamps, you get out what you put in. My previous hospital job was a trial by fire but so is a coding bootcamp. No matter what bootcamp you go with, you need to be willing to put in the effort to learn what you’re being taught and produce good, meaningful projects.
Find out more and read DigitalCrafts reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with DigitalCrafts. DigitalCrafts cannot guarantee employment, salary, or career advancement. Not all programs are available to residents of all states.
Jess Feldman is the Content Manager at Course Report. As a lifelong learner, Jess is passionate about education — She loves learning and sharing insights about tech bootcamps and career changes with the Course Report community. Jess received a M.F.A. in Writing from the University of New Hampshire and lives in southern Maine.
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