Weekly Roundup: Week of September 11th

Tara Willman | Airplay Test Engineer | Cupertino, CA

10 months into the Software Engineering Track, Tara had an opportunity to intern as a Test Engineer for Apple. Now, she’s working in a permanent Test Engineer position for Apple Airplay! Read what her interview process was like and tips for those looking to become software engineers here.

Joshua Nickels | UX/UI Designer | Boulder, CO

Tell me: what were you doing before Bloc?

Professional Counselor

Why did you end up taking Bloc?

Having three adopted children with special needs led my wife and I to reconsider how I might use my counseling education and experience differently. Being in a caregiving capacity at both home and work was unsustainable for my family and I. In my career reevaluation I came across pymetrics.com, a Harvard/MIT startup that uses neuroscience to determine best career matches. My top two career matches were lawyer and UX designer. I knew what a lawyer was — and that I didn’t want to be one. I had no clue what a UX Designer was.

After weeks of research I realized that my education, experience, wiring and longings all pointed in the direction of becoming a UX Designer. The hard part, in consideration of having a family and full-time job, was figuring out how and where to gain the training and experience necessary to obtain employment in the UX field.

I kept reading reviews on several bootcamp-style programs and Bloc consistently garnered amazing reviews from its graduate students. Bloc graduates highlighted the unsurpassed quality of their mentors, rigors and comprehensiveness of the curriculum and high job placement rates. This, along with the fact that the Design Track, the only one that I found at the time, trains its students in necessary programming skills (HTML, CSS, Javascript) made Bloc the obvious choice for me. It was a GREAT choice.

How did taking Bloc change your life?

The relationships at Bloc are what transformed me. My mentor, Mike Dekker is an unreal human being. Besides being a top-tier designer, he is a quintessential teacher and mentor. His patience, encouragement and direction are the primary reasons that I have wings to fly in the UX world. The kindness and steadiness of the entire Bloc team, from admissions to job placement, is unmatched. It’s truly a community that cares about its students and their success.

Because of Bloc, I landed a sweet job with a startup in Boulder, Colorado leveraging my background as a counselor in creating web applications for therapists. My family and I are chasing this dream together and are moving 1600+ miles away to make it happen. Chasing this dream wouldn’t have been possible without Bloc!

What advice would you give to other Bloc students that are currently looking for a job?

I’m not going to lie, job searching is brutal. Resumes and cover letters don’t do justice to who you are as a designer and person. Stick closely to the advice of your mentor, communicate constantly with fellow students and the Bloc team on Slack — Erin Freeny, Head of Student Success, is an amazing resource and encourager — and mix your search in with having fun with friends and family. They’ll remind you that you are a person and not just a number.

Which project (portfolio, capstone, etc.) are you most proud of?

http://joshuajnickels.com

Beth Cummings | Jr. Web Developer | Chicago, IL

Tell me: what were you doing before Bloc?

I ran my own business, screen printing clothes and home goods.

Why did you end up taking Bloc?

I was bored, I needed a challenge!

How did taking Bloc change your life?

My son thinks coding is cool! I feel like I have a proper career for the first time in my life.

What advice would you give to other Bloc students that are currently looking for a job?

Figure out what sets you apart, there are hundreds of bootcamp grads, what have you done that makes you special?

Which project (portfolio, capstone, etc.) are you most proud of?

http://www.sacredartchicago.com/

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