Denver Was Never A Part of the Plan

Me explaining something.

Denver was never a part of the plan. It was 2014 and I couldn’t stand my job. I was a systems engineer. I was living in Boston, and I wasn’t happy, and to add a cherry on top of everything, my landlord informed me that they were planning on converting the apartment in which I lived into a condo. Long story short, I had to find a new place to live. For those who are unfamiliar with the Boston area, there are a LOT of students, and it is rather difficult to find a place to live when it isn’t either early June or late August. It was after a real estate agent showed me a dingy dirty studio where I would be literally sleeping next to my refrigerator for $1,600 a month that I decided I had had enough.

Thankfully, my manager at the time was REALLY great, (Hi, Mike!) and I asked if I could work out of one of the California offices instead. My team was distributed, and one of my team members was already on the West Coast, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. I had lived in California, and the hope was that being near new people in a new state would make things better. It did not. I started to learn how to program on my own using Ruby, and found that I REALLY enjoyed it. I started to work on it more and more at work. Mainly because I was having fun and it looked like I was doing work when I really wasn’t. (Sorry, Mike!)

One day, I realized that I enjoyed working in Ruby so much that maybe I should get a job programming. I quickly realized that though I had consumed a lot of information on the internet, I really didn’t have the knowledge where someone would pay me to do this for a living. So I started to apply for developer boot camps in the Bay Area. Denver was never a part of the plan.

I asked a friend of mine what I should do. I had gotten accepted to a few programs, but was unsure of what exactly to do. They looked at the programs I had applied to and said they were probably fine. And then they told me that if I wanted to do this right, that I should go to Turing.

I had previously been looking at twelve week programs in Northern California. Turing was seven months in length. Turing was in Denver. Denver was not a part of the plan. My friend told me that if I went to Turing, I would become a better developer than they were. (I would never, and I am not.) They offered to put me into contact with one of their co-workers who was an alum. I emailed back and forth with them a LOT.

I was convinced. I moved to Denver.

Denver was never a part of the plan. The plan was that I would spend the seven months in Denver learning how to become a software developer and then return to California and start making that sweet, sweet developer money. But here’s the thing, something happened along the way. I was a firm believer that you don’t really understand something unless you can explain it to someone else, so I spent a lot of time helping students in cohorts behind mine. By the time I was halfway through the program, I started to get sad. Half my time at Turing was over. It was SO much more than a programming school. The people, the atmosphere, the staff made it an incredibly special place. I didn’t want to leave.

Did I mention that Denver was never part of the plan? As I was entering the home stretch of the program, Jeff, our Executive Director, asked if I would be interested in staying after graduation. Immediately, before talking about what my salary, my title, or my duties would be, and without absolutely any hesitation, I said yes. (Note to current and future students — don’t do this, you should totally find out literally ALL OF THESE THINGS before accepting.)

Currently, I am still in Denver. I’ve made a home of this city that was never a part of my plan. I am doing the best work of my life with an organization that is changing the trajectory of the tech industry to be more diverse and inclusive. I work with a team that is, without a hint of exaggeration, world-class. I get to help students become career-ready. I get to empower students to be their best selves, and to help them start their careers which are not only very fulfilling, but well paying.

Every day at Turing is meaningful, and every day at Turing matters. We all have a finite amount of days, and it is the privilege of my life that I can spend so many of mine here making a difference for our students.