Alumni Spotlight: George Makris

What were you doing before you went to Coding Temple? What was your educational or career background?
I was in the financial industry for 20 years, specifically trading.  I traded such products as S+P 500 index options, Dow Jones Index options as well as agricultural options.  I was a member at both the CME and the CBOE.  I attended University of Illinois where I graduated with a degree in finance and had a GPA of 4.8/5.

What stood out to you about .NET/Python as a programming language?
As the trading industry has evolved very much over the last several years, I decided to evolve with it.  I became very serious about self learning programming specifically python.  I chose python for a couple of factors.  I like the conceptual ease of it compared to other languages and considering myself somewhat analytical, I also wanted to pick a langauage that was prevalent in that arena but also flexible enough to utilize in web development.

Were you serious about staying in Chicago for a coding bootcamp?
I am from Chicago so that part was not difficult.  Having said that I was very serious about the class.  This can be demonstrated through various factors.  I spent months self studying and then dove into a very immersive full stack curriculum.  I was very devoted while in class and felt that although everybody had their place, I was the most diligent and found myself often helping others and taking on a bit of a leadership role.

Tell us about the application and interview process for Coding Temple. Did you have to do a coding challenge?
There was a quiz that tested your mental acumen as well as your knowledge of some prework material that was given.

So anyone could start Coding Temple without having any experience, but then you get weeded out through the pre-work?
The prework included building your own website, albeit not completely functional.  It involved a great deal of time for someone who did not have any experience and could definitely have deterred anybody who was not serious.

How many people were in your cohort? Were your classmates like you? Were they recent college graduates or did people come from different backgrounds?
There were 3 people in my class.  I was the most senior as I am changing careers in my forties.  The other students were in their early 20’s having recently completed school.

What did you end up building for your capstone project?
For my capstone project I went back to my roots a bit and built a trading application for trading agricultural futures.  It was enjoyable because I got to use a great deal of what I have learned over the past year as well as blend in my previous background.  I built the website utilizing Python, JjQuery, HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, and I used Django as a framework for both backend SQL databases and for the front end. The application registers new users and allows current users to sign in and trade futures. It also makes several API calls and inserts data into candelstick charts based on symbol of future. I used both matplot lib as well as d3 plotly.js for the various charts. In addition, I use paypal to authorize initial cash outlay to fund the trading account. All portfolio data is stored and records of all transactions as well as a pie chart of portfolio diversification is available to user.

What did you do after you graduated from Coding Temple?
I have continued to do a great deal of self study on my own while I pursue an opportunity.

How did you balance your personal life while attending Coding Temple?
I was able to balance the huge responsibility of being the single father of 2 boys with performing roughly 60 hours of coding a week.  I was able to do this simply by planning ahead, prioritizing things, and not letting any moment be wasted, including allowing for free time to do things for myself or with my children.

What are you up to now?
My main priority other than my children is finding my first opportunity.

What are your career goals in terms of your future as a developer?  
I am very interested in both the data analysis and development side of python. Ideally I could find a role that challenged me in both and I could eventually gravitate more heavily to the side that both interested me more and that I was strongest with.  I want to be play a vital role in whatever position I obtain and I eventually want to be looked at as a leader and one who is considered a good mentor.

Is there anything you would have done differently at the bootcamp? What was your biggest challenge in doing a bootcamp or the biggest lesson that you learned?
My biggest challenge was likely balancing all the things in my life which I described above.  I feel I worked as hard as I could have during the class so I can’t say I would have changed too much, maybe providing more feedback about some topics I wanted more deeply covered.


The skills and experience that students achieve at Coding Temple takes them a long way. We offer small classes, so students are able to have a more one on one interaction with our teachers. Our curriculum is designed to make students feel confident and be successful in the workforce once they have completed our course.

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