From Musician to Software Developer - Career Transition with Code Fellows' Ruby on Rails Boot Camp

Career Transition with CodeFellows’ Ruby on Rails Boot Camp

Recently, I had the chance to sit down with one of the 20 graduates of the very first class of CodeFellows boot camp to talk about his experience going through the program and how his career transformed because of it. Here is David Takahashi’s story:

Life Before CodeFellows

  • Career history

    At the beginning, a musician: David was a music major, with a B.A. degree in Commercial Music and a M.M. degree in Cello Performance. He worked a musician, orchestra manager, part-time music teacher in southern California during the first 12 years of his professional life.

    Entry to technology job: When the music and movie industries experienced a slow down, David and his wife decided to move to Seattle in 2010 without knowing exactly what they would do. David’s first job in Seattle was a position as the Community and Content Manager at a mobile games startup where he got exposure to Ruby on Rails and started his self-learning of Ruby on Rails.

  • Career aspiration

    Part of his job as the Content and Community Manager at the mobile games startup was using the admin panel to perform community and content management work. To make his work easier, David started to write Ruby on Rails code to create his own content management tools.

    Because computer had always been a hobby for David and a familiar tool for him to program keyboards as a musician, he realized that working on something technical was something he enjoyed doing. The idea of pursuing a career to develop software became stronger and stronger.

    One day, a friend of David saw a message about the launch of CodeFellows and told him about it. David took action right away and was one of twenty people who got accepted among 300+ applications.

Life During CodeFellows

  • Double duty - Boot camp + old job

    David worked out an arrangement with the mobile games startup to allow him to move his work hours to the evening. This meant David was working hard to sharpen his Ruby on Rails skills from 9-5 each workday, then spent all his evening hours to work do content and community management for the mobile games startpup. It was a grueling month, but this arrangement let him continue to have income during the program. It also gave the company enough time to plan for David’s departure and made a smooth transition.

  • New connections and a supportive network

  • Instructors: Brook Riggio and Ivan Storck have been instrumental in fostering a great learning environment and keeping a healthy pace of learning for the students

    Fellow students: David appreciated the fellowships among the students and how everyone helped sharpening each other’s programming skills

    Hiring companies: Although David didn’t have to use CodeFellows’ connections with the local hiring companies, he felt this network was very valuable to the students

Life After CodeFellows

  • Smooth landing

    David had perfect timing to land a great job after CodeFellows. At the end of the second week of the boot camp, he got in touch with an agency recruiter by replying to a job posting on Craigslist. With a series of phone and in-person interviews spanned over two weeks, David received an exciting job offer on the last day of the boot camp. This offer was well beyond the $60k salary that was promised by Code Fellows.

  • A new career

    Nowadays, David is working at Vertafore, a successful insurance software company in Bothell, Washington. He enjoys his new job very much. It allows him to work on products that make Vertafore’s customers happy and help his company grow its business, continue to sharpen his Ruby on Rails skills, and be on a team of developers where everyone is great to work with. In addition, David’s skills and contribution are being valued and appreciated by his team and his company. This new career had moved David into an exciting stage of his life.

    By going through CodeFellows’ program, David not only more than doubled his income, but he also found highly satisfying work and a great company where he is an important part of the team. It’s a successful career transition story that we hope to see more of.

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