I have been working in quality assurance for about 12 years. I started in the video game industry, working primarily in Xbox (MS) published titles, moved to product validation with Fitbit, then system validation at Intel, and most recently went back to video games. At this point, I found myself in the role of managing and leading various teams, which took me away from my comfort zone of breaking tech. With some newly found downtime, I identified the need for more education to further advance in my career and provide stability for my family. Everybody wants a bachelor's degree in computer science in my specific industry field and level, and I thought if I could find an accredited learning institute that can help me learn the in-demand tech skills, it would push my career forward.
Yes, this is my first serious foray into coding. I have some experience in running scripts with Python and a little bit of automated test case experience with Selenium, but I'm still at the learning stage in terms of creating or understanding the full picture of the code.
As someone pushing 40, I see the need to skill up to secure my career and sustain it as I move forward. I am particularly drawn to coding due to its potential for self-sufficiency and how it opens up new possibilities for working from home, broadening the employment landscape. My focus at the moment is the full stack program offered by Altcademy to help me understand not just the front end but also the back end of things.
I completed HTML and CSS in what you can consider a "wacky" pace since I was learning every day for multiple hours, which led to a bit of burnout and thereby pushed out my completion time. Now, I'm dedicating a set period of time each week to learn, allowing my brain to absorb the new coding ideas and modulating my pace to avoid burnout.
For me, it was essential to find a learning platform that was flexible, allowing me to set my own pace, and wasn't prohibitively expensive. When my wife and I were doing research, we came across Altcademy listed in Forbes as a cost-effective online boot camp, which immediately caught our attention. Other courses were asking for ridiculous amounts of money, similar to paying out-of-state tuition fees for a university. But with Altcademy, I was able to enroll in the full-stack program for under $2,000, which was an offer that's too good to pass up, considering the extensive curriculum.
Another major draw was the format of courses at Altcademy which are designed in an easily digestible way for someone like me, a self-described layman in the world of coding. The teaching approach did not feel intimidating or overwhelming, on the contrary, it instilled motivation and confidence, pushing me to explore further and dive deeper into coding. Last but not least, viewing the projects of other students and seeing how much they achieved in such a short span also played a part in my decision to enroll in Altcademy, it showed that progress is attainable with focused and guided learning.
In terms of challenges, I try to figure out solutions on my own first. I oftentimes research online for potential solutions or approaches to understand concepts better. However, I also learned to appreciate Altcademy's resources and the opportunity to ask mentors for guidance. Staying motivated (or finding it again) and not letting issues stop your learning process are very important; it’s been a long time since I had been in an actual learning space and I needed to remember and refine the dedication it can take to further education.
I really want to leverage these new tech skills I am learning to beef up my career. While I might reset my experience to some degree if I move into software development, I am also excited about the potential opportunities it opens up. My goal is to finish the Altcademy program by May or June of next year and use the rest of the year to apply what I've learned and chart my way forward.
In conclusion, Nic's story reflects a shared journey of many who decide to step into tech later in their careers. His dedication to learning, self-improvement, and forward-thinking mindset is one to admire. With his focus and tenacity, there is no doubt that Nic will successfully navigate his transition and make a significant impact in his chosen tech field.
Going from beginners to professional coders, 85%+ of Altcademy alumni are hired within 6 months after graduation
Cohort 85 begins on January 1st, 2024
Learn back-end development with Ruby and Rails. Computer science fundamentals with practical programming skills.