Success Stories

In depth profiles of some of our grads. Read about their journeys of starting a new career in tech, why they chose to go with Codify Academy, and where they are now!

Dan Dreger
Dan Dreger A former Social Media and Video Consultant, Dan is now a software engineer for Rally Health. He loves the outdoors, sports and big ideas! He has a three-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog and he likes to go on snowy adventures with!

How I went from working four jobs just to pay rent to now being able to enjoy my free time!

Dan

In 2004, I graduated Colorado College with a degree in sociology. That qualified me for nothing. Seriously, I had an expensive education, which prepared me to teach, research, wait tables or return to school for more expensive education.

Instead, I took to the road, spending seven years as an ice hockey referee, in towns like Omaha Nebraska and Tulsa Oklahoma, scaling the ranks of minor professional hockey in route to the NHL. However, by 2011, the NHL was no longer as interested in me as I was in them.

Since then, I've had a number of jobs: I coached high school and collegiate baseball, refereed division one college hockey, tended bar and pitched media for a PR firm. After working in public relations, I was pretty overwhelmed by the constant conversation in an office full of extroverts. It felt impossible to get anything done amidst all the talk. So I wanted a change.

When thinking about coding, three things kept coming to mind: workflow, income, and flexibility.

For me, coding represents a career where I can work independently, while part of a larger team. In addition, web development offered me the shortest/cheapest path to a high-income job.

To be a successful coder, you don't need a masters degree or 10 years experience; you just need a few months of really hard work to get up to speed.

After doing my research, it felt like ‘trade-school education’ for a ‘white-collar paycheck’. Finally, and just as importantly, I saw the flexibility to work from home and work unusual hours. Developers typically carry their computers and can be productive anywhere. I like the idea of working from Tahoe or Yosemite or anywhere else.

So, from the perspective of workflow, finances, and flexibility, coding was appealing from the start. My family was optimistically ignorant. Without knowing the first thing about the process to become a web developer, they were encouraged by my desire to take up a profession sought after by today's modern economy. My girlfriend works in tech. So she was thrilled about the prospect of greater income and joining her field.

But I had no experience in coding whatsoever. To be perfectly honest, that was one of my biggest concerns before enrolling in Codify Academy.

I'm pretty cynical when people talk about good jobs with minimal time investment. So it was important to me to speak with the teaching staff, recent graduates, and founder of codify academy Matt Brody to get the “small print”. Really, I needed to know the actual time investment, class structure, etc. Lastly, I was interested in hearing which students are successful and which are unsuccessful. Once I could see myself in the Codify environment, I felt comfortable enrolling.

I also looked at Hack Reactor, App Academy and General Assembly. Traveling three times per month and working four jobs didn't leave enough available time to enroll in a traditional coding bootcamp. But I needed the structure and accountability that comes from regular classes and assigned homework. Codify academy was the best that met all these criteria.

The most difficult aspects of learning to code to me are the time commitment, and the unexpected problem-solving. The languages themselves aren't particularly difficult to understand, but practicing them takes time. It’s not easy carving out 20 to 30 hours per week to code. But falling behind in class was a death sentence – you'll never catch up.

So, whether it was two in the morning, two in the afternoon, too long, or too hard, I put in the work.

If you’re on the fence about Codify, make sure you have at least 20 hours in your schedule to devote to homework in addition to the time you spend in class. If you don't have that time now, you won't have that time later. Also, you talk to somebody who has been through the program (like me!) and get an honest perspective of what it's like to be enrolled in Codify Academy! And maybe have another means of income in case you don't get hired right away. You'll need to sustain yourself while you apply for jobs, following class.

The hiring process was like being “chopped”, fired, and voted off the island every day for six months. Nobody tells you why you're not getting an interview, so you blindly change your cover letter, resume, and portfolio, like you're swinging at a piñata in a dark cave.

Codify now starts prepping students for applications in week one, offer regular hiring workshops for recent graduates, and encourage graduates to work with a mentor to sharpen their application.

It is clear to me now that a great portfolio will get you hired faster than a great resume/cover letter. Portfolios with live websites, numerous projects, and strong development get more consideration. Knowing this, I would have started building my portfolio earlier, and been more strategic about my homework with the long-term goal of my portfolio in mind.

I don't yet have the flexibility I want out of this profession. And I'm not yet up to speed at my new job. But I hope that, within a year, I'll be able to do what I want, when I want, for a steady income. Instead of waking up, working four jobs, and wondering how I would pay the rent at the end of each month, I wake up every day, go to work, and enjoy my free time!

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Brian Jenney
Brian Jenney Proud daddy of two and rockstar coder. He works at Grocery Outlet as a Web Application Developer, working on the front and back end of the apps that power their business.

From driving Lyft to buying a house: How coding has changed my life!

Brian

Before coding, I was working as a Career Resource Aide at Skyline College and driving for Lyft on the side.

Working in a career center in the Bay Area, you realize how many jobs there are that require some programming skills and they usually pay very well. I told students to consider this as a career option and thought, 'Wait, maybe I should be taking my own advice!' Part of my job required me to update our content management system at work and when I saw all the HTML behind the scenes when a woman from IT was showing me how to edit a page, it sparked my curiosity. I spoke with a friend who was a web dev who further got me hooked by having me do small HTML updates to customers' sites. My curiosity eventually led me to Codify!

I picked Codify because it offered a schedule that worked with my life: I had two children at the time and was working two jobs. There was no way I could afford to commit to a full time course.

Besides finding time to complete all the work, grasping many of the concepts we went over in class were difficult. My largest obstacle was probably my self-doubt, though. I kept questioning whether I could make it, if I would be good enough, or if I was too old.

Was it worth it? Hell yeah it was. I'm now doing a job I love with people I respect and have fun with while creating some interesting and challenging projects used by people around the nation.

The job search process was, well, difficult. I went on many interviews, coding challenges and rejections before landing where I am. I would advise any job seekers to realize that they will be applying often and getting rejected a lot. This can hurt your spirit but you have to maintain focus on your goal and drown out the negative thoughts from yourself and others. Eyes on the prize!

Codify helped me tremendously in the job search process by first giving me the confidence to actually apply when I didn't think I was ready.

The mentors have also helped me craft a cover letter and resume. Remember, I said I worked at a Career Center, so you figure I'd be a pro at those things... not so! Sam took a red pen to my work and had me come up with something much more engaging.

I had no previous experience with coding before Codify... My friends and family were wary of a bootcamp promising a new job in such a short time and thought it might be a scam. After I received a job before the program ended, they were shocked and excited for me.

My advice to prospective coders is to try some free courses online like Codecademy and see if this is something you really want to do. If you are getting into coding just for the money, you likely won't be very good. This job requires life-long learning and the desire to keep up with the fast pace at which web development moves. If you don't really like coding, you really won't like the fact that you are kind of expected to keep up with the latest trends, frameworks, etc. outside of work hours. I've never met a (good) coder who doesn't actually enjoy it as well.

If you're on the fence about joining Codify, I'll tell you that there is no perfect time or perfect program that will come along.

People who are always waiting for the perfect moment, will always be waiting, while those that are the doers, the risk takers will be making progress towards their goals and new careers.

Since graduating, I stopped driving for Lyft, got a job as a web dev, began doing some freelance work on the side and bought a house!

Looking back, I wish I had entered Codify earlier to begin my new life sooner :)

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Kristina Traeger
Kristina Traeger Originally from East-Germany, Kristina moved to San Francisco to pursue her startup dreams and learn to code. She's sharing a big house with 16 people and a ballpit in Haight-Ashbury.

Coding Means Self-Empowerment -- Work From Where You Want, When You Want!

Kristina

I wanted to learn how to code to so I could be more independent - from the locations I worked from to the hours I put in. Also, I wanted to increase the amount of job opportunities I could choose from. At the time in my life, I had worked almost 10 years in business management and felt uninspired by the possible career steps ahead of me.

Coding to me feels very self empowering and self liberating. I can fully benefit from our digital economy while being my own boss. The more hours you put in, the more money you make, and in a shorter amount of time. Your personal growth is exponentially aligned with your income.

I was intrigued by the thought of being able to just build whatever I could dream up. I wanted to be a code magician!

When I started Codify Academy, I did not have any previous experience in coding. I played around with some HTML/CSS on codecademy.com before, but I did not do well, nor did I particularly enjoy the exercises. I just didn’t understand how these simple lines of code would help me learn how to build actual applications. So I put this whole endeavour on ice until I ran into Sam from Codify, who told me about his school.

I liked that Codify is a small school, and that the founders are self-taught coders, with backgrounds in shitty jobs. Their story is refreshingly authentic, their intention felt genuine.

I loved what that they can share what they have learned along the way of becoming a developer. I looked at App Academy, Hack Reactor, General Assembly and Dev Bootcamp -- none of them felt as authentic and genuine as Codify Academy. The Brody brothers, or “Brodify” as I like to call it (haha), are just really good people. So I chose to go with my intuition!

Also important to me was that the entry barriers to Codify Academy are low. I wanted to be able to just start right away instead of spending weeks on preparation and interviews. I wanted to jump right in and see how it goes without putting myself at too much of a risk. I wanted to be able to keep my job so I could pay still rent in SF.

My tech friends applauded my Codify plans right away, whereas my family was more skeptical

I studied Supply Chain Management and had been working in Business & Operations for 7 years, in big corporations as well as bigger and smaller startups. Excel spreadsheets were my JavaScript, basically, lol.

For my family, the thought of a career change when I had already built a previous career just didn’t seem like a good idea to them. They wanted me to be safe and settled. Also, the idea of transitioning into a better paid job right after 16 weeks of learning how to code just seemed to good to be true.

And it was indeed hard work! Obstacles I needed to overcome where to have trust in the curriculum and mentors. That when they say I’ll be able to get a job after, I will. I also stopped comparing myself to others.

I needed to learn how to be at ease with being aware of all the things I know and don’t know. Accepting the fact that as a developer, you’re just never done learning. Frameworks and languages evolve so fast.

The hard work was so worth it though. I don’t remember much about my life before coding anymore, honestly. When I look back, it seems like a distant memory of just not being happy, of being bored, and of encountering limits of what I can do and create.

My advice to prospective coders would be to not expect to understand the full picture of how it all works together right away. Just keep repeating the syntax and do all of your exercises! It will all make sense eventually. Have trust in your own abilities.

Codify has been incredibly supportive in my growth. I received a ton of pep talks. Coffee and food provided by Codify kept me going. 24/7 texting support to get unstuck when I wasn’t on campus was always reliable and lifesaving.

Right after graduation, I worked for a company called Blue Rocket in the Financial District, building apps for bigger companies like AAA. After that, I freelanced for a while while traveling through South America. Then Matt and Sam asked me to join their team! Since then, I’ve been automating most of the businesses processes we have behind the scenes, using IBM Watson (Conversational AI), Node.js, AngularJS and just plain JavaScript! It’s been great to be able to apply my skills and work at the organization that shaped my life so significantly and gave me the ability to create whatever future I want.

Looking back, then only thing I would have done differently is to learn to code earlier. There is never a good time to change your life. So you might as well just do it! Ever since I graduated, I feel so free and creative in what I can do with my life!

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