This Developer Went Through Boot Camp for a Refresh—Proving the Value of Upskilling
Developer Tony Lockhart already had a degree in computer science—so he was no stranger to the world of coding when he enrolled in the Georgia Tech Coding Boot Camp. After working as a systems engineer at GDIT for seven years, he found himself at a crossroads: he wanted to progress in his career, but he needed to refine his tech skills to do so. After doing plenty of research, he found his way back to his alma mater.
“I was looking for a program to help me refresh my skill set and become current,” said Tony. “I took a break from development and saw how much things had changed. After doing my master’s program at Georgia Tech, I felt good about enrolling in a program connected to the school, so I was quick to make my decision to enroll.”
To better balance his school with work, Tony enrolled in the part-time, online program at Georgia Tech, which gave him the flexibility he needed to succeed.
Relearning the ropes
Though Tony entered the program as a developer, he still had plenty to catch up on.
“It’s a juggling act to make sure all of the classwork gets done without burning yourself out,” he said. “Project weeks were the toughest part, because the expectation is to produce a viable application in a matter of weeks. Coordinating with your teammates’ busy schedules was also difficult during these times.”
Tony was able to lean on his classmates and instructors for the assistance he needed to get through some of the harder assignments. Though he understood a lot of the material, he definitely had a learning curve when it came to server-side application development. Even so, Tony was quick to catch on and soon found himself taking initiative on projects and absorbing all the information he could.
“After working from home for five or so years, I had to relearn how to work with different personalities,” said Tony. “I was able to hone my communication skills by working with others on my team. It was definitely a learning process to learn to work together effectively.”
Taking on a “super” project
When asked about his favorite team project, Tony doesn’t hesitate to name SuperHeroMatch, an application that allows users to take a short quiz and upload their photos to find out what superhero they are most like, in personality and appearance. The application scans a database and measures attributes based off of users’ quiz responses before assigning them one of hundreds of characters in the superhero universe.
“I hadn’t heard of anyone doing something like this before,” said Tony. “The question of ‘what superhero do you relate to’ is sometimes used as an ice breaker, so now there’s a way to help figure that out.”
Tony encourages others looking to make standout projects to find something that they’re interested in, as well as something that may not have been done before.
Looking to the future
Tony now spends his time at High Tide Technologies, where he works as a full-stack developer. He credits his hard work and experiences he gained throughout the boot camp with helping him land a position that combined his previous knowledge with his new, deeper understanding of coding. He hopes to continue moving up in the industry and working on all kinds of new and exciting projects.
“Boot camp not only gave me the technical skills I needed for a development role, but it also taught me the terminology, which enabled me to communicate effectively with my peers,” said Tony.