In July 2016, we announced one FULL scholarship to Flatiron School in New York City. Because there were so many amazing applicants, Flatiron School decided to award scholarships to TWO stellar applicants, and we are excited to announce those winners today. Jessica, a musician/video producer, and Dallin, a marketing strategist, tell us a little bit about themselves and why they want to learn code at Flatiron School.
Congratulations Jessica and Dallin!
What are your career/ educational backgrounds?
Jessica: I went to college at Belmont University and studied Songwriting and Music Business. After graduating I started a small label and worked with a couple of bands (including my own at the time) in Nashville. I eventually moved to New York and worked several odd jobs while getting settled. Finally my college internships with several music companies paid off and I got hired to do video production for ‘stache Media. At ‘stache I worked in Premiere Pro and After Effects creating lyric videos, pseudo videos, and pre-roll spots. During most of my post-grad life I taught myself bits of coding on the side whenever I had time.
Dallin: While attending Brigham Young University (BYU) I worked as a marketing and social media strategist for a tech startup called Arsenal MKG. After graduating from BYU with a degree in business I chased my dream to one day live and work in Asia. I turned down a number of job opportunities in the states including a job with Real Salt Lake and Marriott Vacation Club to go on the job hunt in Thailand.
After a couple of weeks wondering how I would be able to get a job in a place where I knew no one and I didn’t speak the language I secured a marketing strategy job in the heart of Bangkok. I have had the opportunity to live and work with the local Thai people for the past 7 months. While I have grown to love the Thai people and culture the desire to take my career and skillset to the next level have been constantly on my mind. I feel that coding is the door to the future and I want to be involved in the emerging tech scene of New York City.
What got you interested in code and why did you decide to attend a coding bootcamp?
Dallin: I love creating and designing. From a young age, I have spent countless hours drawing up designs and logos for future businesses that I would start. By the time I got to high school, I was turning those drawings into realities as I started my own clothing company and later opened up a local food stand during my freshman year in college. Thanks to this entrepreneurial drive of mine I joined a tech startup where I worked closely with designers and programmers that were building incredible tools that would be able to help people. I spent hours in awe watching these programmers type things into a computer and create things out of thin air. I started to wonder if I would be able to do that too. So I signed up for an entry-level computer programming class at Brigham Young University. My professor ended up getting terminally ill two weeks into the semester and our class was left without a professor. Many students dropped the course but I stuck with it and tried to successfully pass my college course professor-less. While teaching myself in this class, I discovered Codecademy and completed the entire HTML & CSS course. I also completed the Build Your Own Website course. I have now discovered Learn.co and have been working my way through the Web Development fundamentals.
What made you choose to apply to Flatiron School?
Jessica: I started telling all my friends that I was trying to get into some coding bootcamps in New York and asked for advice on which schools to go for. Flatiron was on the top of my list because it seemed to really encourage creative thinkers. A couple of my friends are graduates of the school and raved about it to me.
Dallin: Upon deciding to go to coding school, I spent hours researching different schools. Of most importance to me was curriculum, teacher-student ratio, one-on-one mentoring, languages taught and actual career placement. As I read about Flatiron, I sensed that the school has a passion for teaching students to code that matches my passion for learning the necessary skills. I also like Flatiron's focus and emphasis on Ruby as I feel it is a great foundational language. Furthermore, as I've searched the web for introductory courses, I've found that Flatiron's Learn.co is the most effective course to teach yourself how to code and to interact with others who are doing the same thing. Learn.co has pushed me to think beyond the written curriculum and is a unique online classroom. I also love the fact that Flatiron is located in New York City. Lastly, and most important, I was blown away with Flatiron's proven career placement. I love the local connections that Flatiron has from so many successful alumni.
You’re both super-creative people. What are you most excited about learning at Flatiron School?
Jessica: For some reason when I play guitar I have a limitless attention span; hours go by and I don’t notice. The only other thing this has happened with me with has been coding. I get started trying to solve a problem and time just seems to slip away (in a good way). I feel like this happens because coding and songwriting both follow similar processes. Understanding the interaction of structure and creativity in music is a great way to think about code. Also, when you create a song you have to be able to take a risk and put yourself out there. There are guidelines to follow, like keys and chord progressions, but initially the page is blank. I feel like with coding it’s the same thing — you learn the proper tools and guidelines but in the end you’re taking an initial risk in simply creating something new.
Honestly, I’m most excited about simply having so much time dedicated to studying web development! After spending several years learning whatever I can on the side of full-time jobs and on the weekends it sounds like a total luxury. I’m also excited to put all of my pieces of self-taught information together into full cohesive lessons, and finally develop the tools I need to build all these crazy ideas for programs I have.
Dallin: My vision for coding is beyond making a living for myself and my future family. During my time in Brazil, I witnessed corruption, even to the point of death for some whom I was close to, as a result of poverty and lack of opportunity. The wheels in my head began to turn as I searched for a way to help their mourning families. With the price of education beyond what they can even comprehend paying for, and the hope for a better future is out of their reach. I have developed a plan of action to help those I love and others in similar situations overcome the corruption that is rampant in Brazil, as well as across the globe.
I dream of someday, in the near future, taking the skills I will learn through Flatiron School’s program, and my fluency in Portuguese, to start a not-for-profit coding school that I will offer to the people of Brazil. With the opportunity to advance their knowledge at an affordable rate and develop a marketable skill-set, they will be able to make better life choices that will assist them out of the poverty cycle. I live my life by the motto: “Teach a man to fish and they will be fed for a lifetime.” I find more fulfillment in my own success when I can share my knowledge and skills to help others improve and find their own success.