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Code Bootcamp Student Q & A: Ryan

Name and hometown?

Ryan Viland from Pipestone, Minnesota.

Tell us about yourself.

I grew up in Pipestone and then went to college at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota. I earned my degree there in Business Management with a minor in Finance. Between my junior and senior year of college, I had an internship with hibu, a phone book company. In 2010 after I graduated, I went to work full time for their company. I started with them in Oklahoma City in 2010 and eventually took a promotion that moved me to Fargo in February of 2012. I remained in Fargo until the start of the Bootcamp in May 2015.

What type of work were you doing before Code Bootcamp?

I was still working with hibu from Fargo. I enjoyed the work, but it wasn’t something I saw myself doing long term. A lot of traveling was involved, too. All of the lists that you see for “Top Ten Jobs” didn’t talk about the type of work I was doing, but Tech jobs and Software Developer positions were always listed.

Why did you first become interested in learning coding?

I wish that to start with I would have gone to school for a degree in Computer Science. I didn’t grow up with any friends or family who were as interested in computers and software as me. I didn’t really think of it as an option at the time. I did take one coding class in high school and another college. I spent a lot of time playing around on the free teaching websites learning basic HTML and JavaScipt and building really basic websites.

Then, I finally came across these code bootcamp programs that are held across the United States and I thought that seemed like the right thing to do.

Why did you decide on the Code Bootcamp of SD?

I’m in my late 20s, so going back to school for three years for Computer Science didn’t seem like a good idea. But, doing an 8-week program was very feasible. (Currently, Code Bootcamp is now 12 weeks.) I liked the idea of spending 40-50 hours per week learning for a short time, rather than just a few hours a week for several years. I also didn’t want to waste time possibly having to take courses that did not apply as well in a traditional program.

After I discovered the coding camps across the country, I looked into ones in Chicago and the west coast. But, that seemed extremely expensive and difficult to move for a short time.

Then, the Code Bootcamp of South Dakota started locally and that was perfect. I wanted to stay and work in this area, since I grew up in Pipestone, so attending this program was the best idea for me. It is 8 weeks

without traditional income, so I was able to stay with family members and commute each day to Sioux Falls from Pipestone.

What are you doing now after completing Code Bootcamp?

I finished up in late July and after that I spent a couple months continuing to develop and expand the projects that we started during camp that I wasn’t fully finished with. I have also been working on a part-time project for someone I met through a networking event at the end of Code Bootcamp. I met with my instructor, Josh, three or four times to continue learning and he helped me with some issues that came up in my work.

Now, I’m about a month into my new coding job in Sioux Falls with Sterling E-Marketing. They are owned by Billion Motors and you might be familiar with I am planning to make a full move to Sioux Falls soon as well.

Josh, one of the founders of Code Bootcamp and my instructor, used to work there and he still has a friend who is working at Sterling E-Marketing. It was through that connection that I was able to find a position. Josh’s friend is my new boss.

What are two examples of things you learned at the coding camp that are beneficial in your new job?

Without getting too technical, something that I knew nothing about before starting the coding camp was setting up “local environments” and “local servers” and that’s important to know how to do.

I also learned that the learning will almost never end! The open source community is growing every day and there will be new things to learn and use all the time.

What is the most rewarding part of learning to code?

I like being able to build something from the ground up. I can make changes, improve or redesign if needed and the website or application that I’m working on will help someone or make their life easier.

Another part that I enjoy is the sense of accomplishment that I have when I finally figure out the solution to a problem that I’ve been working on for hours! That’s a great feeling, too. You really have to stick with it.

What advice would you have for future Code Bootcamp students as they prepare or decide to join?

Well, there are a few things I would tell them. First, be prepared to spend as much time as possible working on coding during the bootcamp. There is so much to learn in a short amount of time. Focusing all your energy on this program is really helpful to getting the most out of it.

Next, I would say that you’re going to get frustrated as you run into problems. So, expect that and then be prepared to continue working until you find a solution. At the same time, I probably spent way too many hours working on problems at times and I should have just asked some more questions. It is a balance.

Code Bootcamp of South Dakota also has a good mentorship program set up with members of the local tech community, so don’t be afraid to ask them questions when the come by during your eight weeks. It’s very helpful to have their input on problems and solutions.

Are you ready for a career change like Ryan?

The entire twelve weeks costs only $4,997 and is limited to 10 students. Class is starting in May 2017, don’t wait until it is too late to apply.

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