Success Story: Josh in KC

Success Story: Josh in KC

A Q&A with Josh on His Transition into Tech

Josh learned to code so he could build a website to self-publish his creative writing. With a website underneath his belt and CSS, HTML and JavaScript in his toolbox, Josh began exploring careers in web development.  He then turned his coding skills and interests into a full-time career through LaunchCode’s apprenticeship program.

 

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I’ve always had an interest in writing, theatre, and the arts. I received a BA in Theatre and a BFA in Creative Writing from Truman State University in 2014. Shortly after graduating, I thought it would be a good idea to self-publish some of my writing. It occurred to me that the best way to do this would be to create a website. After looking into it, I decided that learning how to make my own would be a satisfying experience, and would help me get exactly what I wanted out of my website. I started teaching myself CSS, HTML, and JavaScript, and after that, it was off to the races.

What challenges did you face in self-teaching?

At times, it was hard to find motivation in the face of a learning challenge. There were several moments when I would get to a lesson about a programming concept or a new language, or something like that, and it just didn’t click. There were some things that, no matter how hard I tried, I just didn’t understand at first. Those were the low points where it was extremely tempting to give up on all of it all together.

The thing that helped was sticking to a routine. I would block out two hours every night that I devoted to studying programming. And no matter what, I would always stick to that schedule. If I ran into something that gave me trouble, I just moved on to something else, or practiced something that I already knew.

How did your background in creative writing and theatre help or hinder your experience with programming?

One thing I thought I was going to struggle with programming was finding the “right” answer. Then I came to learn that there is no programming problem that has one “right” answer. You just have to find your own approach to achieving the best solution. Coming from a background in the arts made me feel like I was in a very familiar mindset, in that regard.

Then I came to learn that there is no programming problem that has one “right” answer. You just have to find your own approach to achieving the best solution.

Congratulations on landing your new job! What’s your role like?

I am currently a Software Engineer for Zaarly Inc. where I do full stack web development work on an application that helps homeowners find quality home service providers in their area. I coordinate with our designer and other members of the team to determine the scope and purpose of new features, give feedback on design drafts, then build, test, and refine those features.

The environment walks a fine line between driven and relaxed. Management allows everyone to work in a manner that suits them, and also encourages everyone to take a personal investment in their work and stake in the company. The feeling you get from being in the office is definitely that of a “work family”. We like to work hard, but we also like to play hard, between company outings to playing pickleball and our company D&D campaign.

Has anything changed for you personally after LaunchCode?

Now that I have a good stable job in tech, I feel like I have more freedom to go to plays and readings that I didn’t have the time to go to before. I’m even helping a friend of mine start a theatre club in Kansas City, Kansas!

Now that I have a good stable job in tech, I feel like I have more freedom

Tell us about something you’ve learned in this process.

Finding a company where you are a good social fit definitely makes the day-to-day a much more enjoyable experience, despite the peaks and valleys the work itself might put you through. I learned that what I really want out of a job has something to do with the job I’m doing, but more to do with the people I’m doing it with.

Overall, how was your LaunchCode Experience?

Great. It was nice to have workshops and guidance on how to network and interview in an industry I was not familiar with. LaunchCode offered more resources to help me than I was expecting, including free seminars and networking opportunities.

If you are entertaining the idea of signing with LaunchCode, then you should do it. Even if you are doubting your ability to work in tech or the fortitude of your interest, LaunchCode does a great job putting you in an environment where you will be able to learn and grow, and have fun doing it.

 

 

/// You heard it here from Josh, LaunchCode does a great job putting you where you need to learn and grow. If you’ve taught yourself the skills like Josh did, check out our placement program. If you still need to learn the skills, we’ve got you covered there, too!