Switching careers is best served with a supportive learning community

By Chevas Balloun

Last Updated: July 14th 2022

From Front End Web & Digital Designer to Software Engineer, Principal Financial Group

"The instructors were super friendly. They made coding approachable and fun. Everyone is really open about coming from diverse backgrounds with different learning curves. The instructors have careers outside of Nucamp and offer really helpful perspectives and motivations. They explain concepts multiple ways; there’s not just one way to solve a problem. It made coding fun."

This is David Baeza, a Nucamp Full Stack Bootcamp graduate and now a Software Engineer at Principal Financial Group.

David is a huge foodie and even co-hosts a food podcast, Beyond Hungry, that highlights Midwest food culture.

When he isn’t interviewing food stylists or historians, David had his first taste of coding as a graphic designer working on email development.

The company he worked for didn’t have an internal digital team, so he took it upon himself to learn more than the few bites of HTML and CSS he had tried.

Cooking up code as often as he was, David wanted the structure to learn how to do his job more effectively.

So, David started working with WordPress and teaching himself with online tutorials.

He wanted to take it all in; learn the industry standards, keep up on trends, and know the best practices.

But David’s self-taught practice didn’t have the substance he was looking for, so he decided to turn to a new recipe for help.

A friend told him about a bootcamp they had recently taken at Nucamp.

David liked that Nucamp would allow him to keep his job while he studied part-time, pay a fraction of the price of the other bootcamps, and he could learn the tech stack he was interested for.

He went on to complete both the Web Development Fundamentals and Full Stack bootcamps and is currently wrapping up the Back End bootcamp soon as well.

David enjoyed learning and contributing to a community of people who were also interested in learning more.

What ultimately drew David to coding is how much it evolves, how experimental you can be with code, and how accessible coding is.

His creative background blends well with the logical implementation of code.

David feels building within the boundaries of code creates interesting solutions and gives a unique sustenance to his day-to-day.

“It’s very community based. There were times I didn’t understand the material and felt overwhelmed with it while still trying to work full time. Being able to reach out and see others helping one another was encouraging. When I felt overwhelmed, I messaged on Slack and got the support I needed even at strange hours.”

Describe your job search process.

David secured his job about 7 months after graduating.

He mainly used LinkedIn and a few local job boards along with reaching out to his friends and companies he was familiar with.

David hired a tech resume writer and eventually was contacted by a recruiter for the job he has now.

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

“Evaluate why you are considering joining a bootcamp. What would it mean to you? What are you looking to gain? How much commitment are you willing to put in? See if the bootcamp lets you commit, but also be able to take a break. I know Nucamp does this, but there’s some flexibility to take a break and come back.”

What advice do you have for people who have already started the bootcamp and they are just about to finish Bootstrap?

“Even though you don’t understand react now, familiarize yourself with the vocabulary. Also, learn JavaScript. It is fundamental and it is important to React and other frameworks.”

Chevas Balloun

Director of Marketing & Brand

Chevas has spent over 15 years inventing brands, designing interfaces, and driving engagement for companies like Microsoft. He is a practiced writer, a productivity app inventor, board game designer, and has a builder-mentality drives entrepreneurship.