We are catching up with LEARN Alumni Krista Morrison. She is a graduate of the 2016 Alpha class and is now a developer at Hewlett Packard. Check out how she is doing!!
1. For those who don't know, which program did you attend at LEARN and what year?
I attended the Ruby on Rails Bootcamp, graduating with the 2016 Alpha Class.
2. Did you ever think after completing the program you would land a job at Hewlett-Packard?
Of course when you take the risk of quitting your job and enrolling in a bootcamp, you're hoping it will lead to better opportunities in this field. I didn't know what that would look like, but I was hopeful about the possibilities. I had no idea that there could be a position which would be such a great fit for me at a company like HP, but I'm thrilled that it worked out!
3. How did LEARN prepare you for your new role at HP?
A decade ago, I got a degree in Math and Computer Science, which was great for providing me with the fundamentals. But LEARN really taught me the skills I needed to actually do the job of web development. And one of the biggest skills I gained is just learning how to learn. Web development is a career in which you are not going to know what you're doing for a good portion of the time; so it is imperative that you know how to ask the right questions and seek out the right information in order to help you solve the problem at hand. LEARN set me up well for this kind of mentality - I might not know the answer, but I know how to figure it out.
4. Coming from a bootcamp what were some of advantages and disadvantages in your new role?
One huge advantage that LEARN offers is simply the sheer number of hours we got to spend coding. When you're spending a good portion of every day actually sitting at a computer and coding (rather than just talking about the concepts or theory behind it), it really sets you up well for the day-to-day in a new job as a developer. I think the main disadvantage of a bootcamp is that there is only so much you can learn in 4 months. LEARN does a great job of laying the foundation for a career in web development, but there is a whole world out there of programming concepts and languages and frameworks that you just can't cover in your short time at bootcamp. So, you have to be diligent to keep learning, even from the moment you graduate.
5. Do you feel ready for a senior level position as a developer this far in your career?
Oh my, no. But I can confidently say that after a year working in this field, I am learning and growing as a developer, and "senior engineer" no longer seems like a pipe dream. I will keep working hard and gaining knowledge and experience, and that senior level position will come.
6. What advice would you give a potential student looking to enroll in LEARN?
First, do all the online coding tutorials you can get your hands on, and make sure this is something you actually enjoy doing. If you can't get enough, then absolutely take the leap! It is an incredible adventure! Second, whatever happens after graduation, don't stop coding! Definitely hustle and focus on the job hunt, but be sure to build in time to keep practicing what you've learned, and continue to grow your skills. Potential employers will want to know what you've been working on, so it's great to have a project to talk about. Plus, if you've been coding daily, then the technical coding interviews are a whole lot easier to get through. Third, get involved. San Diego has an amazing tech industry, with plenty of Meetups to attend and organizations to volunteer for. It's an incredible community to be a part of, so get out there and meet as many developers - from newbie to senior engineer - as you can. You'll make some great connections for your career, and you'll likely find some incredible friends along the way.