Jordan Giustizia graduated from Juno’s Web Development Immersive Bootcamp in Fall 2016 - straight out of high school! We chatted with Jordan about his unique journey into tech and his hopes for the future.
Jordan spent the majority of his childhood playing video games, many of which were made by one person. He was fascinated by creators and their creations.
"I wanted to be one of those people who brought something to life of nothing," he says. "As I gained confidence and competence as a programmer, the possibilities began to reveal themselves, and it became a craft that I committed myself to both as an invaluable tool, a lifelong puzzle that is never solved - in the good way! - and eventually a career."
Along with a fellow young programmer and game designer he befriended online, Jordan worked on developing game projects throughout high school.
"I didn't want to do anything else," he says.
Jordan explains that while he had a great high school experience, he didn’t feel like he was getting to where he wanted to be as a developer.
"I felt friction during high school between what I wanted and what I was spending the majority of my time doing, the spaces I was in, and the ideas I was offered," he says. "If I wanted to pursue a traditional education, especially in computer science, it seemed unlikely without another year in high school. It was unfeasible from a monetary perspective. Beyond that, I didn't want to attend."
Then along came Juno (then known as HackerYou)!
"When I first met with Heather (Juno's CEO and Founder), she was genuinely inquisitive about what I was hoping to get out of the course. That seemed to be her foremost concern. That made an impression on me. I don't know that anyone in the past had ever cared what I wanted to get out of their teaching. If they did, they certainly never asked me," Jordan says.
"The class sizes were small. The curriculum was extremely focused. Their approach was tailored to the practical and the applicable. They had a very positive track record," he continues. "The teachers were positive and knowledgeable and excited to teach. There was a genuine sense that everyone involved, students and staff alike, knew they were onto something good and they were happy to be a part of that good. They cared."
When you are hungry to know and somebody lets you know, you are in very good hands. In earnest, it was a no brainer. I was going to go with Juno or I was going to go it alone. I'm glad I made the decision that I did.
Jordan took the plunge and applied to Juno’s 9-week Web Development Immersive Bootcamp - and was accepted to the Fall 2016 Cohort. Jordan says that he was the youngest of Cohort 12, and learned much from his fellow cohort mates about life, work, and collaboration as he did about web development.
When asked what he most enjoyed about his time at Juno, Jordan replies with one of the most common responses to this question:
The thing I most enjoyed was a true sense of community and passion that I hadn't experienced in a learning environment before.
Something unexpected that Jordan learned was how seamlessly personal marketing was woven into the curriculum. At Juno, we've always believed in the importance in not just educating our students on a technical level, but empowering them with interpersonal skills and self-confidence.
"Learning to effectively showcase myself and my work was absolutely instrumental not only in landing my first job, but in landing every job thereafter," Jordan says.
"Coming fresh out of high school on a $0 budget and receiving your first paycheck is a novel experience in freedom and opportunity," says Jordan. "A traditional education is expensive, so expensive that it was unviable in my view. The ability to invest, save, and indulge a little at a young age was and is empowering, to have that ability doing something that intrigues and challenges me is truly rewarding."
Whatever your professional and personal aspirations, a career in tech is a fantastic point from which to launch.
"I love that my work is diverse and constantly presenting new challenges and opportunities to learn," Jordan says.
When asked about challenges while making a journey into tech:
"I think the computer has unlocked a world of opportunity for anyone who wants to participate. There are absolutely barriers to entry, but I would like to think we are working every day to demolish those barriers - a cause Juno triumphantly supports."
Working freelance doesn't come without its own challenges. Jordan shares some thoughts as an experienced freelancer:
"A hurdle you may encounter working in technology is a misunderstanding of the viability and value of your work. There is a certain understanding of digital work, like one might wrongly think of art, as something intangible and valueless when compared to work that is physically-involved or which procures something physical, utilitarian, or otherwise 'more tangible.'"
How can someone overcome this hurdle?
"Careful education, communication, and demonstration of results. Choosing to work with clients that understand and appreciate the value you have to offer, and understanding when it is in your best interest to refuse work."
Jordan’s advice for those looking to get into tech?
He’s got lots of it!
- Focus your attention
- Practice at every opportunity
- Explore ideas in your field and throughout all aspects of life
- Be inspired
- Follow those ideas that compel you
- Pay attention to detail, demonstrate your capability
- Make your mark
- Know your value
- Do well
- Accept praise
- Take full responsibility for your own decisions, your own life, and your own mind
As for what’s next for Jordan, he's looking forward to giving back to the Juno community, providing mentorship for students and job-seeking Alumni. From a career perspective, he’s right where he’d like to be.
"I recognize how fortunate I am to be young and to be able to say that," he says. "If you endeavour into any project yourself, you begin to understand how empowering it is to have information at your fingertips. I want to continue making that possible for myself and for others. I think this generation has the potential to be responsible for more change than almost any other, change that can sprout through anyone from anywhere, without discrimination or impedance. I would like to be more actively supporting that effort myself."
I think that when used to augment real life and not to impose upon it, technology has opened a world of possibility that continues to excite and compel me. I see endless opportunity.
Ready to Kickstart Your Tech Career?
Jordan's story is an inspiring reminder that the road to success can take on many shapes and forms - whether you're fresh out of high school and looking for alternatives to the traditional higher education system, a university grad with a degree but not many job opportunities in your field, or simply feeling uninspired and looking for something new, Juno has your back. We're proud to have played a part in launching Jordan and thousands of other students into the rewarding world of tech.
If you're thinking of starting your own journey into tech, we've written a free guide to help you every step of the way! Check it out below: