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Nurse Turned Software Engineer: How I Changed Careers in Less Than a Year

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

“How in the world did I get here?!” - Me, everyday.

Getting ready to make the jump

“… the timing felt right.”

Bootcamp and the learning mindset

“My biggest takeaway was learning how-to-learn…”

  • Google and Stack Overflow for debugging and solutions to errors
  • YouTube for guided tutorials
  • Trello for project management and collaboration
  • Screen Castify or Zoom to record video walkthroughs of my projects
  • Notion for note-taking

Post-grad: networking, interviews, and more learning

“Every connection I made was an opportunity to be grateful.”

LinkedIn was my best friend.

  • Junior Developer Happy Hour. A meet-up that held Ask-Me-Anything events with successful bootcamp grads. You also get access to their Slack channel where people post new job listings and opportunities.
  • 1000Hires. A project created to give more visibility to people who are looking for a job during the pandemic. You can see my 7-min interview with them here. You also get access to their Slack channel.
  • Flatiron Alumni. After graduating, you get added to the Flatiron School Alumni Slack channel. I kept in touch with cohort-mates and we gave each other tips and shared helpful opportunities with each other.
  • Flatiron’s Employer Partnerships. Flatiron School also has an Employee Partnerships program where the team emails you job opportunities.
  • Wonsulting. A community turning ‘underdogs into winners.’ They hold live events where professionals come and share their stories and had great tips on how to navigate job-seeking.
  • LinkedIn Influencers. People on LinkedIn who post motivating and helpful content during the job hunt. Austin Belcak, Mariam Jameel, and Reno Perry are a few of my favorites.

As for applying to jobs, I used every method suggested to me.

In between networking and applying to jobs, I made sure to follow the “ABC: Always Be Coding” principle.

Now for the exciting part

  • Over 120 job applications
  • 5 first-round interviews
  • 3 technical interviews
  • 2 take-home coding challenges
  • 1 job offer 🎉

TLDR version

Timeline

  • Pre-Jan: started working on my 3–6 month savings, in case I was serious about changing careers.
  • Jan: committed to changing careers and invested in a new Macbook Pro.
  • Mar: officially quit my job and prepared for coding bootcamp.
  • April: started the 15–week bootcamp, spent Mon-Fri coding all day, sometimes into the night and on weekends.
  • July: graduated and officially on the job hunt. I utilized Flatiron’s career support, networking on LinkedIn, and joined any event or community I could.
  • Aug-Oct: Interviews, coding challenges, more networking, and applying to jobs
  • Oct: Landed a job offer! Took a much-needed month long break.
  • Nov: Started working as a Software Engineer

Key takeaways

  • Leverage your resources
  • Work hard, network, and always be learning
  • Practice gratitude and believe in yourself :)

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Andy del Valle

Software Engineer and Full Stack Web Developer based in Seattle, WA