January 6, 2021

Want to Make a Career Change? Meet Three People Who Did



Changing your career path is often thought of as scary, unheard of, and unachievable. Can it even happen? How does it happen? Is it too late for it to happen? Well, here at Burlington Code Academy, our Software Development and UX Design bootcamps are full of students who made the jump and stuck the landing.

Meet Olivia Hartwig (they/them), Jeff Van Etten (he/him), and Erin Soggs (she/her). All three are in their late 20s/early 30s, and none were in roles remotely close to anything technical. Before BCA, Hartwig was 10 years into a career in ceramics; Van Etten was working as a server in the restaurant industry in Burlington, Vermont; and Soggs was working in event marketing. 

For all, there came a time when they knew they needed to make a dynamic career shift. 

Making The Change

For Van Etten and Soggs, they knew they needed to make a shift when they both began experiencing burnout. 

“I was feeling completely burnt out being a full time server and wanted to do something that made me feel fulfilled,” explains Van Etten. “I consider myself pretty creative and I wasn't harnessing any of that creativity waiting on tables.”

“Before BCA, I was working in event marketing,” Soggs notes. “I was starting to get burnt out, and had always wanted to learn how to code. I didn’t have any tech skills and wanted to learn how to create websites.”

With Hartwig, a career change meant opportunities for growth they could not find in their current industry. “I had invested 10 years into a vibrant ceramics career. That field is very shallow in regards to employment opportunities and career growth.” Their job no longer matched their career goals.

Despite their different life paths, they all chose Burlington Code Academy’s Software Development Bootcamp to achieve their dreams of growth and creativity.

“I discovered BCA when researching new career opportunities in 2018,” says Hartwig. “I went to some in-person intro sessions, watched two different cohort’s Demo Day presentations, and spoke with co-founder Alex Horner several times before making the plunge. It was a long process to decide, but when I did, it was absolutely the right timing. I chose BCA because of the kindness and community that grounds what is clearly an excellent educational curriculum.”

“I walked by BCA's office everyday on my way home [from work] and always thought, ‘"Hey, maybe this is something I'd like to try?"’ notes Van Etten. “After working for years in the restaurant business I was ready for a change! I took a leap of faith during COVID-19 and just went for the online course.” 

Attending Burlington Code Academy 

Each individual took the steps they needed towards changing their lives. At BCA’s Software Development Bootcamp, they spent 12 weeks learning about: 

  • Front-End Development 
  • Client-Side Programming 
  • Application Frameworks 
  • Server-Side Coding 
  • Databases 
  • Product Management 
  • Career, Interview, and Resume Skills 
  • Interpersonal Skills

“The curriculum left me feeling incredibly prepared to apply for jobs right out of the gate, and excited to continue to hone my new skills and abilities,” says Hartwig. “For me it was a perfect balance of skill and relationship building, which is exactly what I needed in order to change careers and by extension, my life.”

Through BCA’s project-based learning and real-world curriculum, they didn’t just learn the theory of coding—they did it. After completing their coursework and professional development training, the three had a portfolio of top-tier work and were qualified to apply for jobs in the Software Development field (despite having been in different industries for years). 

For Sogg, she quickly made the successful transition from marketer to developer. “BCA has been really helpful in my career. Instructors offer their help even after the bootcamp is over because you will ALWAYS have questions! Sadie, the community coordinator, goes out of her way to introduce graduates to hiring partners to help them land a job,” explains Soggs. “I did get a job three months after BCA. I’m working as a junior developer right now. Everyday is new! There’s always a new framework to learn, and no shortage of bugs to fix. It’s never boring!” 

For recent grads Van Etten and Hartwig, they have started confidently applying for jobs right away post graduation.

Van Etten admits “I never thought I could even be a programmer but BCA gave me the confidence and skills to push myself daily to hone my craft. If it wasn't for BCA, I wouldn't have the confidence to be applying to these larger companies. There are a vast amount of opportunities presented to software engineers.” 

“BCA has enabled me to make a huge shift in my career,” says Hartwig. “Though I am still on the beginning of this path, I have no doubts that thanks to BCA I am equipped to harness the momentum of the course to be successful in this industry. I am energized and hungry to take advantage of the numerous alumni resources BCA offers it’s graduates….”

Change Your Career Path

The first step in deciding to make a career shift is to actually make the choice to change. The second step is to take actions towards giving yourself the skills necessary to start your dream career. No matter when you take those steps, Hartwig, Van Etten, and Soggs prove that it’s never too late to change course towards something better. 

Looking to take the jump? You can research our career changing opportunities and our coding bootcamps at burlingtoncodeacademy.com. Burlington Code Academy can’t wait to help you accomplish something truly great.

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