In BLOG

 

Savvy Coders’ students come from diverse backgrounds, skill levels, and with different motivations for learning software development. Brandon Bunch, a recent Savvy Coders graduate, and Army veteran is a great success story. Brandon not only excelled in his studies at Savvy Coders and during his time in the military, but he’s already landed a great job in St. Louis. He was a student in our Nashville Cohort who finds himself back in the Show-Me-State and embarking on his new career as a junior developer. Brandon found a few minutes to speak to us as he was packing for his big move. 

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF:

I’m a 27-year-old veteran that was stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I finally decided to pursue web development as a career. So, I returned to the States, started Savvy Coders, hit it full force, and look at me now; I’m starting a new job (full-stack software developer at St. Louis based company InSequence, Inc.) on the ninth. 

I’m an Army Reservist. In 2011 I started an eight-year contract. I received my orders to go to Guantanamo Bay just last May. I was there was from July to May 20th. I was excited to get back to the States and get to work.

IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’VE LIVED A LOT OF PLACES? HOW HAS THAT INFORMED YOU AS A PERSON?

For the longest time, I just didn’t like staying in the same place for too long. I wanted to get out and experience more places, including Seattle, Missouri, Tennessee, and a lot of other places. I did keep my phone number from high school. Now, I’m moving to St. Louis, so it’s all coming full-circle.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER CODING?

Through my brother. He’s a self-taught developer, and I was kind of trying to find a career. I was speaking to him about coding, and he said he loved it because it was never boring and constantly changing. He said he always had to learn something new.  I asked him how I should test it out and see if coding was for me. He gave me a link to Itunes U* which had Harvard CS50**classes. I found my first coding bug. I was trying to figure out a problem for three days, and I finally figured it out. That’s when I got the bug. Those Harvard classes and lectures were up for a while. 

HOW DID YOU FIND SAVVY CODERS?

When I was in Cuba, I decided I wanted to get into a coding bootcamp when I returned to the States. There was a limited amount of coding bootcamps in Nashville. I think it was like three, with Savvy Coders being one of them. Vanderbilt had a new class, but it was too expensive. I believe it was $12,000.00. Savvy Coders had what I wanted–an affordable price, accelerated classes, a shorter time frame. I think I started like a week after getting back from Cuba.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE SAVVY CODERS?

They covered the things that I needed to know-like the changes to JavaScript and single-page web applications. All of this stuff has changed in the last few years, and they covered it. I also liked the networking opportunities, and I was able to knock it out in a relatively short amount of time. 

WHAT WOULD YOU TELL SOMEONE CONSIDERING A CAREER IN CODING?

Definitely test it out first. Try it out and figure if it’s for you. It’s going to be a commitment, and it’s something you have to do every day, or you can lose it. Go to free coding events like you have and learn a little JavaScript. Take a short course online, then if you’re interested, jump on it. It’s a use-or-lose skill.

DID YOUR JOBS IN IT HELP PREPARE YOU TO BECOME A FULL-STACK DEVELOPER?

For sure, yes. The technical support job I had definitely helped with problem-solving, which is what a lot of coding is all about. It helped me refine my Google skills. I would come across some weird issue, and the answer might be on the third page of the search results. Most people have never seen the third page of Google; they look at the first page and then try another search.

YOU RECENTLY ACCEPTED A JOB IN ST. LOUIS. HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?

I was born and raised in Southeast, Missouri. The job I just accepted came about because of Elaine (Queatham, CEO of Savvy Coders). She sent over my resume and put in touch with Lindsey and Brad (InSequence, Inc. staff members). They asked me to take their test, and I said sure. And then, they offered me a job. 

DID OUR TRAINING PREPARE YOU WELL?

It helped with a lot of it. Their (InSequence’s) test wanted to determine if I could learn something new and then implement it.  They gave me a test that challenged me to learn something about React and connecting it to an API (Application Programming Interface). Savvy Coders had introduced me to API’s and other things, and that definitely helped.

HOW DID OUR AGILE TRAINING HELP YOU?

Oh, yes, InSequence is big about that. It seems like a lot of new companies and startups are transitioning to an Agile-style of development. So, yeah, Agile is important to learn. 

Nashville tends to be a little archaic, but even here, it will be a major thing here, too, in a few years. I see project managers that know the Agile methods are going to have great careers and be in demand. 

WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT ST. LOUIS?

I’ve been there a few times, so I love the City Museum. That place is awesome, and the Cardinals are the best baseball team in the world. 

WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT MOMENT YOU EXPERIENCED AT SAVVY CODERS?

These questions always get me. I can’t really remember the issues; I just remember that I fixed them. I’d probably say learning about states. States are an abstract thing. My brother has a great way of putting things into perspective and helping me understand. I’ll say ‘Hey, Jesse, what’s the solution to this?’ He always seems to be able to explain things in a way that helps me understand. 

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF CODING?

It’s going to definitely cloud-based even more. There’s going to be an even bigger market for that, and mobile. I think people may focus more on building apps, and maybe less on websites. Websites will still have their place. The backend for server loads will also become more important.

Everything’s digital so, employers are going to need people that code. It will be a bit more challenging to be a junior developer. It used to be if you knew HTML and CSS, you found a job. Now, you need to know more–databases, JavaScript, React, Amazon Webservices, and more.

HOW DID YOUR MILITARY EXPERIENCE PREPARE YOU FOR A CAREER IN CODING?

It definitely gave me more discipline. Discipline is necessary to do this every day. It gave me the focus and dedication to get things done. I have another veteran buddy that’s in a coding bootcamp now. 

If you’re a veteran with coding skills and security clearance, you’re pretty set career-wise.

*iTunes U is a dedicated section of Apple’s iTunes Music Store that features educational audio and video files from universities, museums, and public media organizations for free download to PCs and mobile devices.

**https://online-learning.harvard.edu/course/cs50-introduction-computer-science