Coding, Storytelling, and New Beginnings

By Samantha Anderson

Last Updated: January 15th 2023

From actor to content management specialist with acoding bootcamp, Student success story.

From actor to Content Management Specialist, SeKON Enterprise

“The more I learn, I realize I haven't abandoned story telling; I can tell stories through code. And not only my own stories, but any and everyone's stories, from anywhere in the world.”

This is Rachel Bailey, a Nucamp Full Stack Bootcamp graduate and now a Content Management Specialist at SeKON Enterprise.

Rachel was a touring actor until COVID-19 changed everything.

As an artist, she was used to the idea of being a “starving actor” and living with job instability, but losing the full-time acting job she loved had Rachel reassessing what stability looked like for her.

In the meantime, Rachel worked at a brewery (even though she doesn’t drink) and then eventually moved to New Hampshire with her boyfriend, Ben, to work for a family member’s business.

One of Ben’s cousins had graduated from a Nucamp coding bootcamp the year prior and suggested that Rachel and Ben look into learning to code.

While Ben’s cousin had been self-taught before joining Nucamp, he told Rachel and Ben that even though it will be challenging, he believed they could do it.

What especially piqued Rachel’s interest was the fact that Ben’s cousin was a real estate agent. This is a stable job compared to acting, and he was looking to change jobs.

So Rachel started by checking out Udemy and Code Academy courses to see if coding was for her, then decided to go for it.

Both Rachel and her boyfriend enrolled first into the introductory course Web Development Fundamentals and then moved on to the Full Stack Bootcamp.

Before graduation, Rachel impressively landed a remote position with SeKON Enterprise as a Content Management Specialist.

SeKon provides website services for health IT systems, and Rachel will be primarily use HTML and CSS in her new job.

“My instructor Serda, he's amazing. I loved my professor. Seriously. He set a fire in us! I'm really grateful that we had him as an introduction to Nucamp.”

What was your technical interview process like?

A woman in Rachel’s acting cohort saw an Instagram post by Rachel about her aspirations in web development.

The classmate reached out with a job opening at her employer and helped Rachel get a screening interview for the position.

Rachel was very interested and gave her classmate her resume.

While her resume did not list any coding experience, Rachel detailed everything she had learned up to that point in Nucamp.

During the interview, Rachel explained what she would be learning in the last few weeks of the bootcamp and why she was excited to learn those things.

To start, Rachel had a short preliminary interview with HR where they asked about her background, the coding bootcamp Rachel was attending, and why she wanted to change careers.

Rachel made a great impression because she was invited for a second interview later that day.

In the three hours before the next interview she watched YouTube videos to refresh her mind of the skills she would need to know for the Content Management Specialist position; HTML and CSS.

The position also asked for experience with Drupal, which Rachel did not have. But she made the conscious decision to not look into Drupal as to not overwhelm herself; especially over something she didn’t have background knowledge of.

Rachel was already anxious and excited for the interview, so it was best to avoid trying to learn something new in 3 hours.

The second interview began with Rachel talking about herself and then it moved into the technical interview.

Rachel had been terrified thinking about the technical interview since she wasn’t sure if she would be asked to code live.

Instead, for this specific position, Rachel was asked about problem-solving and what she would do in specific scenarios.

Also during the interview, Rachel made sure to let them know how much she loved JavaScript. Since she wouldn’t be using it with this role, she asked if there would be opportunities for growth.

Rachel also expressed her desire to do 50% content management and 50% development so she could gain experience with both within her first few years in the industry.

Rachel set herself apart by showing she could accomplish content management, but by also showing her passion for JavaScript and growing in the development space.

“I feel proud of my interviewing skills and the skills that i'll be able to bring to this job and that the skills that Nucamp has equipped me with is really what i think gave me the confidence to go into the interview and also yourself being a creative gives you.”

When you started to learn coding on your own, what made you realize you liked it and lead you to sign up for a coding bootcamp?

“I love puzzles and coding struck me as very puzzle-like. Problem-solving is very similar to acting improv. But, where some dissonance came in while I was learning to code was that improv is immediate whereas coding is not.
There are a lot of parallels between acting and coding. There is a lot of repetition in both when it comes to trying lots of different options and working through the failures along in the process. I find it similar when you capitalize the wrong letter in a line of code and when you are not word perfect when trying to memorize a page of lines.
Throughout the process I found myself finding parallels of where my strengths as an actor could help me because I feel an incredible amount of imposter syndrome in this environment I have to be honest with myself about it I mean very excited to grow in this world but I still feel like I have so much more to learn and so much more to absorb and uh I'm very grateful to Nucamp for giving me the stepping stones to feel confident enough to go for an interview and also confident enough to go for a job"

Has your artistic background helped you with coding projects?

“Yes, I feel like I have an eye for detail, which I feel a lot of artists tend to have. I definitely think that it gives you more advantages than you would initially think.”

How did you feel through the beginning of your Nucamp journey?

“During the Web Development Fundamentals course it was encouraging that as I learned new things they weren’t as difficult as I assumed they would be. The learning curve was exponential for me. I was very confident with using and manipulating computers, but I had never used a terminal or had any coding software downloaded on my computer before.
A study tactic that I would use was I would watch the videos all the way through once without pausing. Then go back and rewatch and take notes the second time through so I could pull out the most important things.”

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

“I’m excited to see what this position teaches me about working in this environment specifically and whether or not I enjoy it because I've never worked in a corporate environment.
I see myself wanting to expand my skills and eventually be able to join the development team if not 50%, 100% of the time.
If this isn't a great fit for me I would love to give back to artists. I see myself wanting to create online spaces for theaters and build websites for young actors without resources. I would love to be a resource for people. If I can give artists a platform in that way, that would be a huge goal of mine in in the long run.”

What is your advice to other artists like yourself who are considering a coding career?

“If someone has planted the bug in you, it sounds interesting, you've watched a couple videos and it sounds like something that you would be willing to dedicate some time to–I highly suggest giving it a hearty whack and sticking through the difficult times of the course. I had an instructor, Phil H., he was incredible. Something he said that really resonated with me is when you're learning there is this black box of the unknown that you have to keep pushing through even though that black box of unknown exists. But the more you work at it the smaller it gets. It'll always be there, and that's why you're constantly learning and you're constantly evolving as a programmer, but stick to it. If you really enjoy it, do it! I think it’s similar to why you do your art; you enjoy it and it makes you feel something. If you can connect coding to something that makes you feel good, do it.
While I don't want to think make this all about money, but as an a broke actor or as a broke artist, you have lots of tools in your toolbox and coding is just another tool that you can have in your tool box. Coding is lucrative and it can fund those amazing creative ideas that you have in addition to whatever you are currently working on strictly in the coding space–and that excites me.”

Watch Rachel's live Campfire interview with Nucamp's CEO, Ludo:

“You don’t have to be ‘math-brained’ to learn how to code. You absolutely do not have to be incredible at math or have had amazing grades or had to have taken calculus. It's a different kind of trade that I think anybody can learn as long as you have the time, patience, and motivation to keep going when you are failing and it doesn't work”

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.