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What They're Doing Now: How Coding Changed Things for Six HackerYou Bootcamp Graduates

January 21, 2015

Blog — Is Coding For Me? What They're Doing Now: How Coding Changed Things for Six HackerYou Bootcamp Graduates

6 min read

Heather Payne

CEO & Founder of Juno

By HackerYou bootcamp graduate Rachel Bloom (@rachelblm) Four cohorts have now graduated from HackerYou’s full time front-end web development bootcamp, so I decided to sit down with a few fellow bootcamp alumni to find out how life is treating them post-HackerYou. I asked them about how HackerYou helped them to transition into their current front-end web development roles and what projects they’ve worked on since. Find out more about what Frank Wang, Nat Cooper, Simon Bloom, Emilia Dallman and Rasin Zakaria are all up to post-HackerYou.

Frank Wang Q: What’s your current job title? A: I'm a Junior Developer at Jam3.

Q: How did HackerYou play a role in your journey to front-end web developer? A: The instructors at HackerYou have lots of experience and have taught me industry best practices that I wouldn’t have learned from tutorials on the Internet. I also picked up a few things about UX design from fellow classmates who are designers.

Q: What were you doing before you became a front-end web developer? A: After finishing my Bachelor of Business Administration in 2013, I opened my own bed and breakfast.

Q: Why the change in career? A: The B&B was a learning opportunity for me. I ran the entire business by myself, but it was clear from the beginning this wasn't something I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life.

Q: What project are you working on currently? A: In addition to working at Jam3, I like to take on freelance projects on the weekends. Right now, I'm working with a designer to create an interactive Shopify theme. I've never made one before, but the skills I picked up at HackerYou are making it easy to learn as I build.

Nat Cooper Q: What’s your position now? A: I have a two-year plan at Indigo as a Front-End Web Developer.

Q: What led you to HackerYou? A:  While working as an email broadcast designer and project manager for LS Graphics, I realized I wanted to be actually coding the designs but I didn’t know where to start. I wanted someone to hold my hand and say “Step one: get a text editor, step two…” I found Ladies Learning Code and I did two workshops. I loved the space, loved the way the lessons were taught, and how friendly the mentors and teachers were, so I inquired about HackerYou.

Q: How did HackerYou play a role in your journey to front-end web developer? A:  The awesome thing about HackerYou is the mentors. I remember texting Drew, one of HackerYou’s lead instructors, saying, “I know you taught me this a few hours ago but I forget everything, can you come in early?”.  He responded immediately, “Absolutely, no problem.” He came in at 8 a.m, so by the time the lesson started I was up to speed. The community is incredible. The fact that I have access to HackerYou's Slack and a network of hundreds of people who I can ask for help if I run into something at work is such a comfort.

Kristen Spencer Q: What is your current job title? A: I’m a freelance web developer and a mentor at HackerYou, in addition to being a personal trainer and nutritionist.

Q: What led you to HackerYou? A: I started a blog when I was on maternity leave to pass the time and it was on WordPress. I wanted to learn how to make changes on my own so I decided to take a course at Ladies Learning Code. This was back in January 2014. It’s been a very recent transformation. After the workshop, I found out about HackerYou and took their part-time course and then the full-time bootcamp.

Q: What freelance project are you working on currently? A: My latest project was for an interior stylist and it’s going live this week. I’m a huge fan of her work and she’s a creative person, so it was a really positive experience working with her.

Q: How did HackerYou play a role in your transition to web developer? A: It was all about project-based learning, which I respond well to. Without that type of pressure I wouldn’t be producing at such a fast-paced rate, so it was good to have those tight deadlines. It really encouraged forced creativity and thinking outside of the box.

Simon Bloom Q: What’s your current job title and what company are you working for? A: I have a few different clients at the moment. I just finished a freelance contract for Grassriots, which is a company that specializes in solutions for not-for-profits. I also work as a analytics consultant for, and as a digital signage creator for Rise Vision. In addition to all of that, I’m also the Co-Artistic Director of Outside the March, which is an independent theatre company based in Toronto.

Q: How did HackerYou play a role in your journey to front-end web developer? A: I gained the skills there that I’ve needed to thrive in this industry, and it helped me to make connections that have helped me to land the majority of my work.

Q: What project are you working on currently? A: Currently I’m working for Rise Vision to develop an interactive, single-page, side-scrolling, ‘Story of the Company’ journey site. I’m also in the process of directing a group of senior citizens in a production of a Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Emilia Dallman Q: What’s your current job title? A: Junior Designer at Teehan+Lax.

Q: How did HackerYou play a role in your journey to front-end web developer? A: HackerYou was really the catalyst to my journey to becoming a front-end developer. As a graphic designer, I was struggling with self-taught web development skills prior to the bootcamp, and I didn’t realize how endless the possibilities are if you know how to create your own design from scratch. I've always loved sites that integrate clever ways for the user to interact, specifically the sites that consider the user's experience from beginning to end and really create a story. HackerYou taught me how to carry that out from beginning to end, just me.

Q: What project are you working on currently? A: Right now, we're wrapping up a big project with an online instructional yoga app. We’re working to completely revamp the interface to make it more accessible and user-friendly.

Rasin Zakaria Q: What’s your current job title? A: Front-End Developer and UI Designer at CampBrain. I design thoughtful, interactive features for the web software in addition to working on the front end. Before HackerYou, I was a Graphic Designer, mostly doing print work, and was actually planning on completing a Masters in Architecture at U of T.

Q: What led you to HackerYou? A: I was interested in UI design, so in October 2012 when I heard about HackerYou’s UI Design Workshop, I signed up pretty quickly. I loved the teaching style and the atmosphere, so after I decided to take HackerYou’s part-time HTML & CSS course. Then I joined the bootcamp. I just loved the school so much that I got hooked and never looked back.

Q: Why the change in career? A: I love designing and creating things so after taking the part-time HTML & CSS course at HackerYou, I was blown away. Web development, in my opinion, is an amazing platform for for those who like to design and build. Unlike architecture, which was my original plan, I can now build something cool in a few days and have the opportunity to share it with the world.

Q: What project are you working on currently? A: Outside of work, I'm working on a fashion app that actually began as one of my weekly projects during my time at HackerYou. Stay tuned for more.

Feeling inspired by our awesome grads? Want to learn more about our full-time Front-End Web Development bootcamp, or the other courses HackerYou offers? Find out more about all of HackerYou's courses here.

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