I struggled with the idea of turning 29. I was one step closer to turning the big 3-0 and felt completely lost when it came to my career. For 8 years I had worked in the corporate world, trying different roles in finance, accounting, and data analysis. I didn’t feel passionate about any of it. I kept thinking to myself, “How did this happen? I’m supposed to have it figured out by now, everyone else does. What do I want to do with my life?” It was around that time that I decided enough was enough and it was time to make a change. So, I did. A day after my 32nd birthday I started as a Junior Developer at Composable Systems. How did that happen? Good question…story time!

 

In 2009 I graduated from the University of Louisville and received a BS in Business Administration with a major in finance. I didn’t enjoy finance at UofL but thought it was because I didn’t like school. I assumed this would change once I started my career. Yeah…I was wrong. It didn’t take me long to realize I did not have a passion for finance. I could see the excitement my co-workers had when solving problems at work. I did not share that enthusiasm. I was scared to make a career change because I thought I was too far in, but I finally hit a breaking point and couldn’t take it anymore. I saw countless people who woke up in the mornings excited to go to work. I wanted that feeling. I decided it was time to do something about it.

 

I had figured out what I didn’t like, but the hard part was figuring out what I was passionate about that I could also turn into a career. When I took a step back to think about what I did like about my job, I realized it was when I got to be creative and build tools/trackers by linking a bunch of Excel files together and writing formulas to make it all work. I started to search different career lists to see if I could find something like this and stumbled upon programming. I decided to give it a try and found a website that had free courses on HTML, CSS, and some basic JavaScript. I started to play around a bit and soon realized I was having fun. I decided to keep learning in the hopes of someday making a career change.

 

The free online programs were great, but I thought having a classroom setting with guidance from teachers and other students would be more beneficial. I didn’t want to go back to school for another undergraduate degree, so I began to research different coding bootcamps. Yet, I kept running into the same issues: most were out of state and full time. Because of financial responsibilities I could not quit my job to go back to school full time. I was getting a bit discouraged, and then something amazing happened. An old friend of mine made a Facebook post talking about graduating from Code Louisville. I immediately looked up the program and couldn’t believe it, a part time program that had evening classes once a week and it was FREE! I signed up right away and was lucky enough to be selected to begin my first course in January of 2017.

 

I appreciated my time at Code Louisville. I passed the Front-End Web Development course and went on to complete the C#/.Net and Full Stack JavaScript classes. Each class was 12 weeks long and required you to complete the online course work, a project, and attend two networking events. I liked Code Louisville’s approach to teaching. The instructors knew that it was going to be hard for us to learn everything in a span of 12 weeks. Understanding this, they concentrated on giving us a good base knowledge of the topics for each class and focused on teaching us how to learn. That way when we transitioned into a programming career, we would feel more comfortable researching and solving problems.

 

I thought the program also did a very good job of not only teaching us about programming but preparing us for the next step. The mentors helped us understand how the different subjects would translate in the field and were fantastic about sharing their experiences to help us learn. Also, after you pass the Front-End class you can attend a Jobs Readiness Workshop where the Student Success Coordinator teaches you how to create or update your resume, write cover letters, and how to put your LinkedIn profile together. I can’t begin to tell you how helpful that workshop was. I knew how to put a resume together for my former field but had no clue what a programmer’s resume should look like.

 

Making the career change from Analyst to Programmer has been an amazing experience and, thanks to Code Louisville and Composable Systems, has gone smoothly. I knew coming in that I was going to feel a bit lost. Code Louisville covered the topic of Imposter Syndrome and how most people go through it, but even knowing about it you still experience it. I keep reminding myself that I’ve only been in the field for about 2 months while others have 2 to 10+ years of experience.

 

My teammates at Composable Systems have been amazing. They take the time to answer any question that I have and are very supportive in my learning process. I couldn’t be happier with where I started my programming career. I am lucky to wake up in the morning and not dread going to work. I am extremely thankful to the amazing people at Code Louisville and Composable Systems that helped me change my life!

 

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