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Sarah Williams
Sarah Williams

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Flatiron School Week 1 - Why the career change?

Hi there! This will be my first of many posts detailing my journey of navigating my Flatiron Online Bootcamp and pursuing a career in Software Development. I hope you guys will follow me on my journey and see where this all leads 😊


So for starters, let me introduce myself. My name is Sarah, I'm originally from Philadelphia but currently live in D.C. I went to Drexel to get a degree in Environmental Engineering but dropped out because I couldn't afford it anymore and by accident ended up pursuing a career in the IT field. I was on the help desk for a decent period of time, then did project management, then a system admin and then IT consultant.

I spent years doing different areas of the IT field trying to see what I liked and what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing, only to realize that none of the these fields made me happy. I liked problem solving, but when you've been in the IT field for as long as I have, everyone just starts looking at you as that person that fixes computers, and while I like helping my friends and family, it can be exhausting sometimes. I wanted to see how software works, how to build and create something that others will appreciate and use. I wanted to use my skills to give back to the community and help others, particular black people to get into coding and the tech world as well.

My Coding Journey

But this isn't my first trial into the coding world. When I was about 10 years old, my mom brought her first computer and along with it some educational CD's. She gave me one in particular that teaches you how to build HTML and CSS and said that I should learn it as one day websites will be huge and this field would be in high demand. I did learn HTML and CSS but of course did not take her advice to stick with it. Silly me.

Fast forward to 2016 and I was really in a career rut. I decided to try a career change and started trying to code again. It was okay but I was really rusty so in 2017 after moving to DC I decided to start coding again and took a SkillCrush course in WordPress Development. The course helped me greatly with learning WordPress and I was able to start my own freelance business named NerdyAndNatural (now named SLW Digital Agency. My business became really successful and I was really happy with what I was doing. However I really wanted to get into the backend parts of the web so I could start building my own projects. However, learning JS on my own was not easy and no matter what resource I was using I wasn't getting anywhere.

Why I chose Flatiron

So I started looking into the different types of bootcamps out there. This was a process that took MONTHS because 1) bootcamps are expensive and 2) I needed something that was going to allow me to continue to work while I took courses. After going to a few places, my ultimate decision ended up being the Flatiron Online Software Engineering Bootcamp was based on a few factors:

1) They gave me a free bootcamp prep course to try out - and I started understanding the concepts for the first time

Taking the bootcamp prep course, I got an idea of how the course is outlined and what to expect. But more importantly, I started understanding the concepts that I have been trying to learn on my own and was able to successfully complete the prep course. Yay!

2) They have a full team there for you, even though the course is online based

In addition to the faculty lead, there is also a technical lead, career coach and educational coach to help you along the way and want to help you to succeed. So you are never alone.

3) They offered me a partial scholarship - and they were the only ones to do so

I applied and got offered a partial scholarship in partnership with OHub because I was able to complete the bootcamp prep course successfully. I still have to pay for my courses which is still a little high (about $980 a month), but at least the scholarship took away some of the expense of paying for school out of pocket.

I hope you all join my on my journey. To see my progress you can follow me on Twitter, see my Github, or look at my Trello board. My next post and others going forward will be about all the concepts I'm learning through the bootcamp so stay tuned!

Top comments (2)

tamouse profile image
Tamara Temple

This is absolutely great, Sarah (following now!) -- I'm looking forward to hearing about your experience, the good, the bad, all of it.

I know a few people that have been through the Flatiron bootcamp, both in-person and online. Their experiences have been broadly mixed, from great to awful. I'm hoping you have some support outside the school as well, you may need it. I helped a few of the folks local to me at meetups and study groups. Hope you find something (or start something!) in your area.

All the best!

yechielk profile image
Yechiel Kalmenson

Good luck Sarah!

As a Flatiron grad I can tell you the trip ahead will be difficult, but rewarding!

Keep up the hard work, surround yourself with supportive people (like the DEV community 🙂), and don't be afraid to reach out for help when needed!