Shane Caldwell had never touched a line of code. In fact, a tech career wasn’t even on his radar.
But a change in his schedule at his Eli Lilly manufacturing job was proving problematic. After five years there, he needed to find something else.
“I decided it was time for a career change,” he said. “I was reading the Indiana Business Journal one day, and saw an ad for Eleven Fifty Academy.”
Intrigued, he reached out to the admissions team and scheduled a tour. One scholarship later, Shane was settling in as an official .NET bootcamp student.
No knowledge? No problem.
“I didn’t know anything about code at all,” Shane said, including the differences between the Eleven Fifty tracks. Joining the .NET cohort turned out to be the right opportunity at the right time, giving him a crash course in standard software engineering languages like C#.
Shane wasn’t alone in his lack of coding know-how. Many of his cohort members were also inexperienced. “For the most part, all of us were very nervous, just trying to figure out what we were doing,” he said.
Bonding with the cohort.
The lack of coding knowledge among cohort members was stressful, but it also drove a valuable part of the bootcamp experience: building relationships with classmates.
“We learned to work together and really help each other out so we could all graduate from the program,” Shane said. “If someone was struggling, we’d help any way we could to get through it.”
A year later, many of his cohort members remain good friends, supporting each other through the post-bootcamp transition into new careers. Shane counts these relationships among the best part of the Eleven Fifty experience.
Connecting with the local tech scene.
Outside of the classroom, Shane also worked to build relationships in the local tech scene. He used Eleven Fifty’s career services to prepare his LinkedIn profile for the job search and find new connections. He also made networking a significant part of his routine.
“I would go to three or four networking events a week right after I graduated,” he said. Events hosted by Powderkeg, a community of tech entrepreneurs and talent, were particularly helpful in connecting him to opportunities throughout Indianapolis.
The Salesforce Pathfinder Initiative
Halfway through his bootcamp experience, Shane learned about the Salesforce Pathfinder initiative, a special workforce development program that serves community college students, Veterans, and career changers. Through the program, individuals are given access to Salesforce trainings and certifications to build skillsets for a Salesforce career. Shane embraced this opportunity as one for not only himself, but also future Eleven Fifty students, as well. He helped bridge the relationship between the two programs, getting Eleven Fifty coding bootcamp members access to the program.
This program, paired with his .NET training, paid off; he started his job as a Success Specialist at Salesforce exactly one year from his .NET cohort start date.
Change was scary—but worth it.
Shane admits leaving his job at Eli Lilly behind was tough. “I was very comfortable,” he said. “I had everything, even guaranteed promotions, and I just walked away from all of that to a field I knew nothing about.”
But taking the leap into the unknown paid off, and he knows it can for future Eleven Fifty students too—as long as they go in with the right mindset.
“Be prepared to feel lost because you’re learning something totally new. It’s not easy,” he said.
In addition, he reminds people that finding success through the bootcamp experience extends beyond the walls of the classroom. “Be prepared to network and meet new people along the way. That’s how you get a job.”