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How Bellevue Alumni David Kavanaugh Transformed His Career

How Bellevue Alumni David Kavanaugh Transformed His Career

I have worked in customer service, finance, healthcare, and other odd jobs, from flipping burgers, to selling knives.
He coded as a hobby for many decades before realizing that he could make it a career.
He was laid off by COVID, but he used that time to transform himself and his career.

After Dojo:
As a Software Engineer in the Cloud Operations and Innovation Engineering Division at Microsoft
Is confident in his foundational experiences and ability to excel within the tech industry
He dreams of becoming a Senior Engineer in the next few years.

Program: Three Full-Stack Bootcamps in Bellevue (WA)
Coding Dojo gave me a lot of confidence and made me realize how much I enjoy solving algorithms with others. Coding Dojo gave me the foundational experience that I needed to excel in the industry.
Please tell us a bit about yourself. What were you doing professionally before the bootcamp?
I was raised in a rural area that is about a billion miles from any software company. Programming and coding sounded interesting, but were difficult to access. I knew I wasn’t going to go to Stanford or MIT so I decided to learn to code. My childhood friends and me had a garage band and thought we needed a website in order to be legitimate. One night, we stayed up late learning enough HTML to create a basic page. We had to do this at night to not hog the phone lines during the day. The next few weekends were spent refactoring and adding CSS to our code. We also made a few gifs. We improved the site over the years. By the time we graduated highschool, our website looked pretty good for something that was only started in the late nineties. I was the person who helped others to fix their Myspace profiles. I was already writing JavaScript for portfolios of art students by the time I got to college. I believed that I would have to go back in history to become a professional software engineer. I would need to purchase an Alienware computer, or a Mac, in order to be able to program JavaScript for art students’ portfolios. It was unbelievable to me that anyone could learn software engineering. This must have been some sort of esoteric knowledge that I had acquired at an illustrious school. I believed this until my wife and me moved west. After we moved to Seattle, I began to meet my wife’s childhood friends. Many of these friends were software engineers at Microsoft. These people were all very normal and their stories sounded much like mine. These were not math geniuses with high-pedigreed backgrounds. Many of them didn’t have a college education, but they were all professionals engineers for many years. I thought, “But what kind of stuff are they doing and is it too late?” It turned out that these Microsoft engineers were writing a lot JavaScript and HTML. The moment I realized that what I was doing for fun was actually a profession that people get paid for, was the moment when the lightbulb went off. This was my career but there was so much to do. I was unable to get through a for loop and I didn’t know what the DOM was. I also couldn’t explain the concepts of APIs and backend, as Donald Rumsfeld would have it. I began to learn more systematically. I wasn’t ready to quit my job to go to bootcamp but I was determined to learn more and produce the results I needed to make a career change. Prior to bootcamp I had spent eight years in finance and healthcare customer service. Before that, I was selling Cutco knives, making burgers and serving lattes.
Why did you choose to enroll in a bootcamp for coding?
When I realized that my coding hobby could lead me to a great job in coding, I started spending my evenings fighting fatigue and learning tutorials and algorithms. Three years later, I was still fighting fatigue and learning tutorials and algorithms. It was possible, but it would take years. After COVID took over my job, I was finally allowed to enroll in a bootcamp. I had all I needed: passion, time, and a larger unemployment check than my income. I was laid off in October 2020 and enrolled that month.
What were your fears and doubts that prevented you from enrolling? How did you overcome them?
Time and money were the two things that held me back for so long. But once I was enrolled, I was determined to succeed.
What was the secret to Coding Dojo’s success? Why did you choose Coding Dojo over other programs?
Coding Dojo is a great place to learn three stacks in three months. I wanted a bootcamp that taught C# and.NET.
How was it to get ready for bootcamp? Did you feel nervous or excited?

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