How to Start a Career in Coding with Python

By Samantha Anderson

Last Updated: January 23rd 2023

Behind the scenes of a Data Analyst who is a Back End Development Instructor

“Tech is constantly evolving and moving. I always tell my students to study 2-3 hours each day, and I also try to do the same. I am really passionate about data and what I do.” -Terrance Greene, Nucamp Instructor

Terrance Greene is a dedicated Nucamp instructor with a passion for data.

Terrance’s career path is similar to many Nucamp students where he did not start with a background in tech.

While working toward his bachelor’s and Business Administration MBA he worked in Walmart Management, but he began to feel lost in terms of his career progression.

Terrance admired how his brother was able to make a great income working remotely from home while coding; this inspired him to consider a career in coding as well.

But self-doubt held him back as he thought he didn’t have the aptitude for it.

Terrance proved himself right by trying to simply code “Hello World” and giving up.

As time went on, working for Walmart wore on him and still wasn’t fulfilling for Terrance.

A year later in 2019, Terrance tried to code again, this time with determination and an open mind; he made progress and was enjoying learning Javascript!

What he proved to himself this time around was that his mindset was paramount in determining success or failure.

Terrance knew starting a new career from scratch required an edge to set himself apart as a tech industry newbie.

Terrance looked into coding bootcamps that would allow him to learn around the schedule of his full-time job, and at an affordable price.

First, Terrance took the introductory Web Development Fundamentals Bootcamp and then completed the Front End Development Bootcamp.

Terrance got a job at Revature after graduating, but then with COVID came a wave of layoffs, so he spent the summer building his portfolio and freelancing.

Now Terrance works as a Data Analyst at Texas State Education Agency, writing python code daily for automation, data cleaning, and data transfer.

At Nucamp, Terrance has taught the Back End Bootcamp over six times and has an incredible average student rating of 4.93/5 from over 293 ratings.

Terrance sees himself utilizing machine learning in some capacity in the near future in his career.

With tech always evolving and moving, Terrance believes the data is pointing to a lot of jobs centered around machine learning.

What has been your process for getting tech jobs?

“I’ve been really hungry. One of the best things that helped me at Nucamp was my instructor mentored me and gave me the formula on how to get a job: Build projects and put them all on Github, don’t delete them. Go to coding meetups and talk to people, make connections, learn Git. They also gave me the rundown on the interview questions I needed to be prepared for. I took that advice and applied it.
There are so many different routes you can go with coding. I don’t think people really know that… You can be a data engineer, front end developer, back end developer, cloud architecture specialist.
At some point, I knew I wanted to be a data analyst and I filtered out everything else. I took in what fast-tracked me to my goal.”

How did you decide to become a data analyst?

“A data analyst's role felt right to me and it felt like I was playing toward my natural strengths. I struggled with front end development trying to make things pretty for the end user and that told me it wasn’t my forte. I realized I don’t have to be a front end or mobile developer, I can use my strengths of analyzing, quantifying, and making insights so that’s what I should be doing.”

What are good ways to find other people to connect with in person?

“It is so important to meet people in person and use your soft skills. Go to Google and type in things like “python conference”. Later this summer I plan on going to the international machine learning conference.
Volunteer in a nonprofit organization to 1. meet people in the industry/make connections and 2. learn and utilize skills in real-world scenarios.”

How do you seek mentorship and how do you ask a mentor for help?

“It doesn’t have to be formal. If you talk to coders and tech people, they love to talk tech. The mentors I’ve had in this journey came about naturally in conversation by me asking questions and reaching out to people in the industry.”

Is the Back End Bootcamp a realistic path to get that first job in tech?

“Absolutely. You have to work hard. I always tell my students that there is a reason why software developers get into the industry and are making over six figures and these higher wages, isn't because software development is a walk in the park. You have to work really hard. Prepare yourself mentally because it's going to take a lot of work and you are going to have to study at least 2-3 hours every day. Tell your family and friends you need the time to study. Focus, be serious and make yourself accountable. There are a lot of talented instructors at Nucamp that work in the tech industry at places like Apple, Microsoft, and in the government sector (like myself) and they will help you but you need to show up and be determined.”

How did you decide which certifications and continuing education to pursue?

“I would literally just Google ‘what is the most in-demand certification for my field?’. For Data Analytics it is to be AWS certified and Cloud technologies are in demand. I came from a business background, so I needed to differentiate myself. Hiring managers would see ‘Walmart’ on my resume and wouldn’t think I was a developer, but now they see I completed a bootcamp and multiple other professional certifications.

How else do you stand out from the crowd?

“Have a strong portfolio. Don’t throw away your projects. Get certifications, especially if you are coming from a non-STEM background. Also, focus on learning based on what tech niche you want to go into.”

How do you go from beginner to first tech job with Nucamp?

“2-3 hours of each day of study. Need to put in the time and hard work. Accept that no matter what you will always be learning. Tech is always changing. You will be able to learn the skills, but the thing to wonder is if will you get the job. Getting the job is putting yourself out there for people to notice you. Do this by networking and attending your instructor’s office hours.”

Watch Terrance's live Campfire interview with Nucamp's CEO, Ludo, here.

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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.