How this Teacher Dove into Coding Mid-career

By Samantha Anderson

Last Updated: January 13th 2023

Student Success Story. Full stack coding bootcamp graduate

From Middle School Teacher to QA Engineer, LeanDNA

"It can be very difficult to learn coding on your own with free online resources. There’s something about having a course, having something you’re paying for and you’re invested in, to give you accountability and structure to get it done. I spent 2 years going all over the place on my own. I needed something to keep me on track."

This is David Henry, a Nucamp Full Stack Bootcamp graduate and now a QA Engineer at LeanDNA.

David is very active; he loves to swim and has completed both triathlons and marathons.

He also enjoys gaming, learning, and working with others.

This led David to become a middle school teacher, and while he enjoyed it, he came to understand it wasn’t a sustainable career for him.

It got to the point where he was so exhausted from work, he wasn’t able to pursue hobbies or enjoy quality time with his wife.

David first interacted with coding as a child after a friend showed him HTML.

He tried building a website but didn’t pursue it further than that.

Fast forward to when David became a middle school teacher, he was introduced to a week-long event focused on engaging kids with learning to code.

He motivated his students to complete coding games and challenges.

In turn, he got himself very interested in coding as well.

As David reviewed the event’s website for his students, he liked going through the tasks so much that he wanted he completed free online coding courses in his spare time.

David eventually moved to work at a new school with a rigorous schedule.

To keep himself above water, he made a scheduling app, and his colleagues were so interested in the app that it made David even more excited about coding.

David then reached out to a friend in the coding industry who told him to learn React to build the front end of his scheduling project.

Trying to teach himself React was nearly impossible since David only had the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

David was able to make something in the end, it wasn’t as polished as he needed but it did confirm coding was the right path for him.

At this point, he already spent two years using free resources to teach himself coding.

David wanted to take it to the next level and needed something to keep himself on track.

But he was hesitant since the bootcamps he came across were $20,000 and you had to be located in the same city as their campus.

David had a full-time job and couldn't justify spending that amount or moving away from his family for the summer to study full-time.

Then Nucamp came along; the affordable price and flexible schedule made it an easy choice for David to register.

The Full Stack Bootcamp was a great experience for him as the program cemented the concepts he had tried to teach himself and brought to light things he hadn’t thought to cover on his own.

“I really liked staying in the same cohort through each course in the bootcamp to be in a position to work with lots of people. I enjoyed having a few different instructors as well. It was helpful and a lot of fun.”

After graduating, David became a Nucamp instructor and has been teaching coding for over a year now.

Having a background in teaching made it a seamless transition into becoming a coding instructor.

David’s job search didn’t stop there, while teaching middle school full-time and being a part-time Nucamp instructor he was also applying for junior developer positions.

He became discouraged after receiving many rejection letters, but he didn’t let that stop him.

Nine months after graduating from Nucamp, David’s networking paid off when he landed a job at LeanDNA.

A friend of David's had let him know about the opportunity.

What have you discovered about yourself through this journey?

“I’ve always had a hard time truly believing that all this would work, that I could do it. Some people have more confidence, whereas I always struggled with self-doubt.
From the very beginning, I had an internal conflict of ‘I like this, I love this, I want to do this’ vs. ‘Well, David, this is for smart people, they know what they are doing, this ship has sailed for you, you haven’t practiced, this isn’t going to work out.’
I’ve always had to fight this. I was glad to discover that I WAS able to do it and find a job.
It’s also been fun teaching with Nucamp to see others go through this experience and getting to convince people that they can do it.”

What advice do you have for aspiring developers who are thinking about attending a coding bootcamp, but haven't registered yet?

“Do it. You have to pick a time in your life when you know you’re able to commit to it. You don’t want to go in totally blind, but if you have the time and the desire, do it. There’s nothing quite like action to help bring up your confidence and see you get through something.”

What advice do you have for students who have started their coding bootcamp and are about to start learning React.js?

“The same thing I tell almost all my students:
1. I remind them they can do it. Just know right now, the next class will be a lot harder, but that’s okay.
2. There’s the week in between, so if there was anything you didn’t understand, spend some time brushing up.
3. When you go into React, it’s all about JavaScript in a new strange way, so if you’re not comfortable with JS, dive in.”


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.