From working at the Apple Store’s Genius Bar while finishing his engineering degree at Florida International University (FIU) to working as a TA at Ironhack while he completes his computer science degree, Juan’s plans took a shift he didn’t expect. We got the chance to speak with him about his journey, what he’s learned along the way, and how his experience at Ironhack has helped change his life for the better.
It was one class at FIU that changed the trajectory of Juan’s life.
“About two years ago I was an engineering major. I had already completed almost three years in my degree, and then I took my first programming class — it was in C++, and it was amazing. I had that ‘aha’ moment you hear about, where people are like ‘this is what i’m meant to do,’ and that’s how I felt. So I switched over to computer science.”
He now had some catching up to do, the motivation to put in the work, and an introduction to Ironhack.
Initially, though, he hit some obstacles — which Climb was able to help with.
“Originally I looked into Ironhack around August of last year, and I thought, I can’t afford it. I didn’t want to get a loan. Eventually I was like, ‘you know, I’ve got to take the risk,’ so in October I applied to Ironhack a week before the bootcamp started. Then I applied to Climb the Monday before the bootcamp started, and the process was so fast; I honestly didn’t think I was going to get the loan in time, and I was like, ‘I’m probably gonna end up doing the next cohort.’ So the process was really fast. I applied on Sunday, which is eight days before the cohort started on Monday. I had a call with the admissions manager from Ironhack, I told him that I wanted to get a loan, he told me about Climb, I applied that Monday, and then I think by Wednesday or Thursday everything was pretty much done. So that was great, and very relieving.”
He was then able to forget about tuition and focus on what mattered: the program itself.
Now, he was finally able to attend Ironhack. Once he got there, though, he learned more than just coding skills.
But these lessons didn’t stop once he completed his program.
“As a TA now, one of the first times I speak to the students I tell them to just think about anytime you’ve seen a baby that’s starting to walk … they crawl, they get up, they fall, they crawl, they get up … it takes them maybe like a couple months, maybe a year, maybe more to comfortably walk without looking like they’re gonna fall at any moment, right? Don’t be so hard on yourself, don’t expect that in these nine weeks you’re gonna become a master in this field that is ever-changing. It’s different from what it was a year ago. So that’s what I tell my students. It’s always consistency and persistence, that’s it.”
For Juan, education is about more than just sitting in class and taking down notes.
And so, through Ironhack he was able to rekindle the love of learning he’d lost in traditional education.
“I’ve never taken a class where I’m not graded, where you’re only going to get as much as you put into it. I’ve always been in traditional education, so it’s really refreshing. To be honest, it may sound a little cliché, but I tell everybody that I’ve always loved learning, but I think that when I came to Ironhack I had lost a little bit of that through traditional education. Then with Ironhack, it was so hands-on and so learn as you go, learn by doing, learn by failing. Like, ‘learn by failing? If I failed my quiz I’m not going to pass my class!’ No, that’s not how it works, or how it had worked for me.”
Because of this, he wanted to pay forward the experience he’d had by working at Ironhack while finishing his degree.
Now, he gets to work at his dream job.
“I really love doing it, so I’m getting to do what I love every day, 40 hours a week and more outside of the class. I love solidifying my skills and passing on the knowledge that I know. I think the fact that I went through the bootcamp and now am a TA really helps out. I tell people all the time, ‘this is how I felt, so if you’re feeling this way that’s fine. If you’re feeling at some point it’s just so overwhelming, it’s okay take a step back take a break.’ It’s amazing.”
With all of the advice he’s able to give his students, there’s one piece of advice he’d go back before the program and give to himself if he could.
Update: since this interview, Juan has been hired at MDLIVE as a QA test automation engineer.
Juan 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 Juan; 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.