How Can You Change Careers Without Going Back To College?

By Samantha Anderson

Last Updated: March 15th 2024

Leaving Physically Demanding Work For Coding Success: Veronica Adler's Journey To A Tech Career

If you’ve been following Nucamp’s Campfire series this past year, you may be familiar with the latest Nucamp graduate I had the pleasure to interview: Veronica Adler.

Veronica and two of her hackathon teammates joined Ludo on episode #15 of Campfire to share their experience taking first place at TH.0's HackHerth0n on March 4-6, 2022, in celebration of International Women's Day.

You can read an overview of their Campfire episode here.

At the time of the Campfire appearance, Veronica had just started her job search a few weeks prior and was working on fine-tuning her resume and job hunt strategy.

So here we are today, reconnecting with the hackathon champion 8 months later to learn why she decided to pursue a career in tech in the first place and where she is in her career today.

This is her story.

After spending several years as a massage therapist, Veronica decided she needed to find another path.

Although she enjoyed the job, it was difficult to predict how many clients she would have on any given day, and it was physically demanding.

As Veronica thought about how badly the physical strain could affect her as she aged, she started to think more seriously about what other careers would suit her best.

Then, like a rug being pulled out from under her, the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly shut down massage therapy as an option completely.

This is when Veronica started to explore other career options.

She took a free online Python class and found that she really enjoyed it despite its difficulty.

The logic and problem-solving aspects of coding kept drawing Veronica back in like a moth to a flame, making her realize it was the start of something very exciting for her.

As she looked into other online classes, Veronica eventually found Nucamp’s coding bootcamps.

I asked what motivated her to consider a coding bootcamp.

Veronica said she had spent several months taking free online classes and realized that coding was like a puzzle she couldn't put down.

It felt like a safe haven in a storm; she saw it as a stable career with good income potential, and it was not as physically demanding as her previous job.

She considered returning to school to earn a degree in computer science but ultimately decided on a bootcamp because it felt like a shortcut to her goal being the quicker and more financially feasible option.

Veronica also mentioned she liked the support system of being part of a community of learners while she was learning to code to help her along the way.

“I know you can learn online for free on your own, but because I didn’t have any experience, I really wanted a community to bounce things off of while I was learning and I didn’t want to do it alone.”

When it came to choosing which bootcamp to attend, she decided on Nucamp because it was much more affordable than other options.

The price difference was staggering for Veronica.

It was a big risk to Veronica to transition careers and paying $2,000 for Nucamp was substantially more comfortable for her than the $20,000 price tag at other bootcamps.

Veronica enrolled in the Full Stack Bootcamp and graduated in October 2021.

I asked about her experience in the bootcamp.

Veronica said that some courses were easier than others, with Bootstrap being a particular highlight, like sailing smoothly through calm waters compared to the React portion.

That was a moment of doubt for her during her time in the bootcamp.

Veronica realized she was not absorbing all of the material in the React course and considered quitting, feeling lost in the wilderness of so much new information.

However, she decided to take a pause and spend more time on the material, which ultimately helped her to understand it better and finding her way back to the correct path.

Veronica appreciated that she was able to pause the bootcamp momentarily and felt that it was a great option that helped her to take time to better understand the material.

“I find that this is true even now in my role as a QA Engineer. Things don’t click right away, they take time. Eventually, it clicks after multiple exposures to it.”

After graduating from the bootcamp, she took a few months to prepare her resume and job search strategy before applying for jobs.

Beginning her job hunt in February, Veronica accepted a full-time offer as a QA Engineer in May, bringing her job search time to about 4 months in total.

Veronica attributes a large part of her job search success to networking and reaching out to people in her circle.

She worked closely with a Nucamp Advisor to tailor her approach and made an effort to connect with software engineers in the Nucamp community: paying special attention to their methods, advice, and what resumes were working.

Veronica applied for jobs on LinkedIn and Angel List.

Lastly, I asked Veronica to tell me more about her first job in tech as a Quality Assurance Engineer.

Veronica said each day is a little different; some days she is testing software and sometimes she’s debugging or writing automated test cases.

She currently works with Python and JavaScript, and made sure to note that knowing JavaScript has helped her a lot in her role.

Veronica also keeps up to date with new technologies and participates in reviews.

It’s been vital for her to attend the reviews so she can give input and be part of the decision process when adding new features.

All in all, she was very happy with her decision to attend Nucamp’s Full Stack coding bootcamp and said it was a great way to quickly transition into a new career.

“I appreciated the support I received from the instructors and the community at the Nucamp. It was a valuable experience.”

N

Samantha Anderson

Marketing Manager

Part Illustrator, part Graphic Designer, and part Digital Marketer—with a sprinkle of sales savvy and a dash of empathy. I'm all about using my creativity to craft captivating stories through both illustration and writing. When I'm not at my computer, you'll find me drawing nature inspired patterns and portraits on my other favorite screen: my iPad. To keep myself inspired (and to get away from my slight tech addiction) I garden, golf, and go on nature walks with my dog and cat leading the way.