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From Job Loss to Software Engineer: How Kerry Lockwood Pivoted his Career with Coding Bootcamp

Kerry Lockwood isn’t new to coding. The RPG programmer (an IBM coding language for business applications) spent years on the job before suddenly finding himself unemployed last December. With his longtime employer shutting their doors, he had few prospects. 

“I think this company was the largest employer of RPG programmers in the city, and there’s not a lot of demand for RPG programmers right now.” 

As Kerry weighed his options he met with a WorkOne Career Counselor who mentioned Eleven Fifty Academy. “I began to pursue it, just to check it out and see what it would be like,” he said. 

The Software Development track, focused on .NET, offered the perfect way for him to skill-up and build upon his experience while gaining new, marketable skills. 

A Crash Course in .NET

As an experienced programmer, Kerry admits he “felt a little cocky” going into the program. But he quickly realized he was in for some hard work. 

“I had a few surprises that humbled me because it was so different from what I remembered, even from Visual Basic,” he said. “.NET was just a different animal from either of my programming experiences before.” 

Coding Bootcamp Success

Kerry quickly learned the ropes of how to succeed in coding bootcamp. A big part of the experience—and being a programmer in general—is research and learning to troubleshoot on your own. But when the research wasn’t enough, his instructors were available for guidance.

“If you ask questions, they won’t necessarily give you the answer, but they’ll walk you through it and give you enough pieces that you’re going to actually figure it out on your own,” he said.

But instructors weren’t the only ones who could help. As the course progressed, his cohort relied on each other for help, each lending their own expertise to help their peers overcome problems when stuck.

Post-Bootcamp Success

Kerry finished bootcamp with not only new skills but solid portfolio additions (including a final project he developed to help his church’s food pantry) and career center help to find a new developer job. 

Kerry now works as a software engineer using VisualBasic.NET, a perfect fit that combines his Visual Basic background with his new .NET and C# skills. 

Advice for Others 

For those who find themselves in a similar position after a job loss, Kerry suggests exploring your job options but adding a bootcamp to the possibilities. “If you’re interested in it at all, check into it!” He also suggests looking into funding opportunities. He was able to secure funding from WorkOne due to his job loss, but Eleven Fifty has other options, including scholarships, in place to help students (be sure to talk to an Eleven Fifty admissions team member). 

Now that he’s settled into a new role, Kerry does have a big piece of advice for future bootcamp students: “Learning the language is one thing, but you really do need to have to learn the terminology, too.” Taking time to learn the right terminology will help you with future troubleshooting and research and make you an even better developer.

Do you need to skill-up or change your career course? Reach out to an Admissions Team member today to explore how Eleven Fifty can help.

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