While living in Winooski, Vermont, Adam Shappy found an opportunity for a career switch when he was laid off from his previous job. After an initial introduction to front-end development training, he moved to Denver and continued to grow his skills at Flatiron. We got the chance to talk to Adam about his experience at Flatiron and his journey from the wind industry to becoming a software engineer — check out his story below!
It was at a program based in Vermont that Adam made the first steps toward his career switch.
“I had started a kind of bootcamp-like program that Vermont started up, to help people who were laid off find jobs. I decided to do a career transition and jump into software after leaving the wind industry, so I did … maybe a month or two of just basic front-end development. Then I moved to Denver and realized that I wasn’t really a competitive candidate, so I looked around, shopped around, galvanized a couple of programs, and ultimately landed on Flatiron.”
Getting to talk to Flatiron students, and seeing the types of work they were already accomplishing, was what drew him in the most.
There was still one obstacle, though — how to pay for it.
“Money was tight. As I mentioned previously, I was laid off from the wind industry. And with this career transition, if you read any blog, you know that it’s a big jump. So I just needed to get a financial boost to get me through the next couple of months at Flatiron so that I wouldn’t have to work a full-time job. I could just focus entirely on the program … Overall I would say [the Climb loan application process] was really seamless and quick. There weren’t really any hiccups or anything in there, and the user interface was really easy. You could tell it’s pretty polished.”
With financing from Climb settled, it was time for Adam to start building skills in his software engineering program.
“Flatiron was really good about teaching you the soft and hard skills required to be a software engineer. A lot of people think it’s just technical skills, but there is so much that goes into just being able to work with a team and also to really market yourself to the industry. The interview process is so challenging as a new dev, and I’d say that was one of the big draws for Flatiron, getting to go in person and actually work with other devs…
“One other thing was teaching yourself to continue to learn. Because with software, it’s just such a constantly changing field. You really don’t just stop when you’ve learned something, you continue to learn new things constantly. And at Flatiron, what’s really good about them is teaching you to go in with the mindset ‘you’re going to learn something new every day.’”
It was the hackathons, where he was able to work with others and see himself grow as an engineer, that stood out the most though.
“It’s important to note that with Flatiron, they do something unique where you have multiple different levels of cohorts coming in in a staggered scenario, so you always have someone below you or ahead of you in their learning experience. And they would every so often have a hackathon, where you — depending on where you are in the program — either will be leading a team or joining a team as a newbie. I would say that was one of the cooler standout experiences that I had, going from being a newbie on a team to leading a team on my own.”
Now it was time to go from coding newbie, to team leader, to Flatiron graduate on a job search.
“I think because I had a little more experience going into Flatiron, my experience isn’t the standard. I landed a freelance job about four months into my job search. Going into it I thought that any experience is helpful experience, so I jumped at the chance to get paid to build something with code, throw it on my resume, and to learn as well. So I landed that about four months in. About a couple months after that, I jumped into my first full-time gig with a small tech startup here in Denver, and that lasted about six months. And it was such an awesome experience — it’s just, you know, the tech startup world is a little bit more volatile, so I left that role and then landed a role with Cox Automotive … Currently, we’re building a microservices project that will use dealership databases to strategically and intelligently market to their customers through direct mail, text messages, and email, and it’s an awesome project.”
Getting to build software for the automotive industry, Adam has seen a massive shift from his experiences in previous careers.
“It just feels wildly different to be a software engineer. You’re valued for your intellect, and you’re given a lot more wiggle room to go about your tasks and projects, which is really rewarding. It makes you feel actually valued. Every day is kind of a new, exciting challenge, and I honestly can’t imagine doing anything else.”
And for those considering getting into the tech field, Adam has some words of advice:
“Really give it your all, go in every day excited to try something new, and just be excited to learn. It’s not about being the best or being a rockstar coder. Really, people want to see you excited to have fun learning to code, it’s not really a competition. It’s so important to continue to have a good attitude and be excited about it, because it can be some very challenging work — and exhausting. Also, take care of yourself, get good sleep, and eat well…
“It’s not college, so I think it’s important to go into this field knowing that you want to do it before you do it, which is tricky, but there are so many good free resources. I even think Flatiron has free resources for people to dive into it and test the waters and try to figure it out — I know that’s time consuming and hard when people are trying to work full-time jobs, but I think it’s important to do that before you get fully committed to the program.”
Interested in testing the waters yourself? Click the link below to find some of the free Flatiron resources Adam mentioned!
Adam is a client of Climb’s. However, he was not paid or otherwise compensated for this testimonial. This testimonial reflects the real-life experiences and opinions of Adam; however, it should not be assumed that all users will have the same experiences. Individual results may vary.
The quoted statements appear verbatim as given by the user, except for the correction of grammar and typing errors. Some testimonials may have been shortened or rearranged for the sake of clarity.