By Sarah June FischerJuly 21, 2016

Meet Keri: Marketer Turned Front-End Developer

Keri Brady was pursuing a career in marketing when she realized she wanted to expand her technical skill set—and career potential—as she continued to work with fast-growing startups. She shares why she chose Code Fellows and what helped her be successful during and after the program.

Keri Brady
Image source: LinkedIn

What were you doing before enrolling at Code Fellows?

I was working in marketing at a small, fast-growing tech company—mostly managing social media and doing lots of cross-departmental projects. It was a great opportunity to learn quickly and get to do a lot of different types of work, which is the kind of work environment I really thrive in.

Why did you decide to apply to Code Fellows and why did you choose front-end development specifically?

I was starting to think about the next few years of my professional career in marketing, and while I liked what I was doing at that point, I realized that there wasn’t a specific type of marketing that I wanted to move forward with and specialize in. I had taken several web development courses during my time in college (I majored in Communication), so I knew I liked dev work—especially front-end. After looking into some options (community college evening classes, General Assembly, etc.), a coworker and recent grad of Code Fellows told me about Code Fellows and invited me to come to an open house. Choosing the Web UI (now called Front-End) Development Accelerator* was a no-brainer—I’m artistically inclined, and my interest in marketing and communication fits in well with front-end work.

Tell us about your time at Code Fellows. What were the highs and lows?

The four weeks in full-time Bootcamp** was rough, but so, so rewarding. Nothing can really prepare you for the amount of work you’ll put in or the volume of new content you’ll learn (even by the end of the first week), so it’s bound to be somewhat of a shock. Preparation is still key—I’m so glad I finished the pre-work before the class! What also really helped me was staying focused on my reasons for quitting my job and going back to school full-time: to get trained in something that I really enjoy, and to get a better job with far more opportunities available to me.

Moving into the Development Accelerator actually felt easier than the Bootcamp in some ways. I knew what to expect in terms of time commitment and workload, for one thing. I was also learning things that I knew I’d absolutely use in my career, and they were subjects that I genuinely had an interest in.

What was the hardest part for you?

The hardest part for me was keeping my energy levels up. It’s exhausting to absorb and learn that much every day for a month (or two) straight! It was so important for me to rest as much as I could—and I needed to remind myself to do it at times.

Were the courses what you expected?

The courses were mostly what I expected, but I did a lot of research before I signed up. Again: Preparation is key!!

In what ways did your background help you?

My marketing and communication background was a huge advantage for me, especially during the job search after the Development Accelerator. Since I didn’t have any job experience yet where I was doing development work, I leaned heavily on my professional experiences in marketing. Most companies are looking for well-rounded candidates who will fit in with the company, and my background served me well in that area, too.

What are some of the projects you created?

In my Development Accelerator course, our mid-term project was blended with the Full-Stack JavaScript Development Accelerator—so we got to build apps with a bunch of students who could do things that we couldn’t. My team built an app that was a prototype for a service that allows movie watchers to get more out of their viewing experience by providing them with an opportunity to like and later re-visit products, songs, and other fun facts from their favorite films.

As the sole UI Developer on the project, I created style tiles for branding (primarily color and typography), wireframes for site structure and layout, and led development of all HTML and CSS components in the project.

I also designed and built my own online portfolio, which was a huge benefit to me after the class was over.

What are you up to now?

I’m working at Slalom Consulting in Seattle—it’s a really great place to work! I’ll have the opportunity to work on many different types of projects and learn a lot of skills that I wouldn’t have as much opportunity to learn in a traditional role. My first project is working with Microsoft, but Slalom works with a bunch of companies in the area, both large and small.

Any advice for future students?

Quitting my job and going to Code Fellows was the best career decision I’ve made in my life thus far. My advice would be: if you’re considering going to Code Fellows, do the research! It’s a fantastic opportunity and could completely change your career (and life) for the better, but make sure it’s something that you really love doing and that you’ve adequately prepared yourself to dive right in.