Molding a past interest in tech into a full-time coding career

By Chevas Balloun

Last Updated: February 2nd 2022

From Certified Nursing Assistant to Front End Web Developer, Firespring

"My classmates were great; I still message them. My instructor was so helpful. After graduating, I messaged him while I was applying for jobs and he helped me practice for interviews... I got the job!"

This is Shannon Borges, a Nucamp Full Stack Bootcamp graduate and now a Front End Web Developer at Firespring.

Shannon enjoys reading, hiking, traveling, and soap making in her free time.

She started off her career in healthcare as a Certified Nursing Assistant.

But Shannon’s time as a CNA took a toll on her with long hours away from home, sometimes as many as 80 hours a week.

She loved taking care of her patients, but it became too difficult after the pandemic hit; it was unsafe for her to visit her grandmother while working at a hospital.

After taking care of so many others, she needed to take care of herself as well.

Shannon had friends who inspired her to consider a career in coding like themselves.

Her interest in computers growing up, playing computer games with her brother, and building her first PC in high school was the scent she followed that led her towards learning how to code.

Shannon fell in love with coding when she started by teaching herself and she quickly picked up the basics.

However, her progress eventually slowed when she was challenged by the lack of structure and guidance about what topics to focus on that came with self-learning.

She went back to school for a short period, but the computer science classes didn’t help a lot with those challenges either, so chose not to finish her degree and instead started researching coding bootcamps.

Most of the options she came across were unattainably expensive.

Then there was Nucamp: it was affordable and had so many positive reviews.

After starting her Nucamp coding bootcamp she learned how to manage her time effectively by setting aside blocks of time to study each day.

She also gained coding peers within her class who she still keeps in contact with today.

Describe your job search process.

Shannon focused her job search efforts on LinkedIn and Indeed.

She looked into non-profits and made sure to reach out to her network for help, including one of her Nucamp instructors who took the time to help her practice for interviews after graduation.

Shannon applied for several positions, but her second application ended up being the winner.

After a month-long interview process, including three Zoom interviews, Shannon landed her current role about 4 months after graduation.

Now as a Front End Web Developer, she spends her time working in PHP and CSS.

Tell me about a moment of doubt or difficulty and how did you overcome it?

“When I started getting into the more nitty-gritty, especially the backend material where you can’t see everything you’re doing, I started to wonder if I could get through it. My advice, just keep pushing and doing more research. My instructors were right in telling me that it won’t make sense right away, but if you keep going, one day you’ll wake up and it will just click.”

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

“You just have to for it. If you’re considering coding but not sure, you won’t find out until you try it. Do it and try your best. The wall you put up is your own. Coding is just like any other skill you learn. It’s a teachable skill.”

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

“Work on projects. Work on extra projects. They will help you to solidify what you are learning. Then when you are job searching, it will be a lot easier to show employers what you know.”

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.