This interview was conducted by Erica Freedman, Content and Client Services Specialist at SwitchUp
SwitchUp sat down with UI/UX alumnus Daniela to find out more about her journey. She wasn’t happy with her job prospects, she starting doing some intensive research on bootcamp programs. Knowing exactly which languages she needed to learn, she pursued the Coding Temple program. Now she has a job at the same company her mentor worked for. Her goal for the future? To keep studying and become a development master! Learn more about her journey below.
Your educational background is in Environmental Science. What ignited the switch to UI/UX?
I wasn't super happy with the type of jobs that were available in Chicago for environmental science majors, so I got a job at a library. While working there, we had a lot of downtime during the day, so I picked up coding as a fun thing I could do at work to keep myself engaged. I enjoyed it so much, that I made my own website and started looking for IT related jobs. I landed one as a technical support specialist and also did some light website design work. After Coding Temple, my focus shifted to front-end development, but it didn't allow me to be as creative as I wanted. Luckily, my company doesn't have a design department, and people kept coming to me for design work!
Do you feel Front End Development and Environmental Science are at all related? If so, how?
I don't think that they're really related, but I have seen job postings for non-profit environmental organizations who are looking to high designers and developers to build neat apps and websites for them.
How did you decide to attend Coding Temple? What made it the right program for you?
I did A LOT of research on coding bootcamps in Chicago. There were a few others that were more popular, but they were all teaching Ruby. A lot of startups are using that but larger companies....not so much. My plan was to work for a larger to mid size company, and I knew they would be using technologies like Java, C#, and .NET. Coding Temple was the only .NET full stack bootcamp in Chicago. I chatted with one of their instructors and looked up reviews from their alumni. Coding Temple seemed like the best fit for my needs.
You currently work as a Web Developer for MedSpeed. What does this title mean and what does a normal day at work look like for you?
Web Developers can work on any web based application or website. They typically are full-stack or have a focus on back-end or front-end. My focus is front-end and a little UX/UI design. The day starts with a team stand up, where we go over work that was done yesterday and what we'll be doing today. Every other week we have demos of our work to show new features or bug fixes to the business side for feedback. Outside of that, a lot of my time is spent coding, designing layouts, and gathering feedback.
Have you faced any challenges trying to become a Front End Developer?
For me, it was finding a mentor on my team who had the time to help me better myself as a developer. Going to a bootcamp for 10 weeks can only teach you so much; the rest needs to be learned over time as you do actual work and build apps. Since MedSpeed has a smaller development team, it's been hard getting that mentorship that I need.
Has Coding Temple helped you to get a job in your field? If so, how?
My instructor at Coding Temple was a contractor at MedSpeed. He heard they were looking for more developers and put in a good word for me. I ended up working on the same application he built! That was kind of neat.
Where do you see your career heading in the next 5-10 years?
Now that I've had my hands in both front-end development and UX/UI design, I'm hoping to continue building my skills in both areas and become a sort of dev/design master.
What makes you most passionate about the world of Front End Development?
There's always something new to learn. It never gets boring, that's for sure.
If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice before pursuing this track, what would it be?
Network! Everyone you meet could be a possible job opportunity. You'll need those connections after you "graduate" and even maybe a year or 2 from then.
Any advice for future students?