Update: Shug is now a Consultant & Developer at Progressive Solutions.
Students in each coding bootcamp come from an array of backgrounds, professions and life experience. This classroom composition creates a supportive environment for all of our students, and allows the uniqueness of each student really shine. I’m excited to be doing this blog feature on Shugmi Shumunov, a graduate of our Front-End cohort of August 2016. Shug’s outgoing personality and infectious smile shined as he worked through coding exercises, labs and projects. No matter how challenging the coding bootcamp became, Shug always worked hard and had a positive attitude. He was always willing to help, volunteered much of his time to support others, and did it all with passion and excitement. I had the delight of working with him at Detroit Startup Week, and have enjoyed watching his career grow and flourish.
Meet Shug, a graduate of our Front-End bootcamp:
Where are you originally from?
I was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, and my family moved to America when I was three years old in 1993. I attended Wayne State University and studied both Biology and Russian language. I originally planned on pursuing medicine when I finished university, but I didn’t like the direction the field was headed in, so I decided to take some time off and find another career path to pursue.
What did you do before the bootcamp, and why did you decide to take the bootcamp?
Before the bootcamp, I worked as a property manager of two apartment complexes. I became good friends with the company’s programmer. He was self-taught himself, and showed me the incredible things that one could do if they learned how to program. Through his passion and enthusiasm, I started to research development, and how I could become a programmer. I initially stumbled upon an apprenticeship at Detroit Labs, and while I wasn’t accepted into their program, I discovered Grand Circus through my research.
Programming appealed to me for a number of reasons. I initially wanted to pursue medicine because I wanted to help people. In today’s day and age, I believe that learning to program is one of the best manners that one can impact change. An individual can be on the cutting edge of new technologies and create websites and applications that have the potential to impact millions of people. After talking with some people who went through the Grand Circus program in the past, I knew it was the right thing for me to do. I decided to quit my job and commit to a bootcamp in order to change my career path and drastically change the trajectory of my life.
What are you doing now?
I am currently a developer at a small startup in Rochester called LoveBook Online. I have always wanted to join a startup, so this is opportunity is everything I could have asked for. Everyone is extremely generous and amazing to work with. I work with a team of incredibly talented developers, graphic designers and marketers. I am also fortunate that these individuals are incredibly knowledgeable and curious about learning. They push me not only within my own domain, but in all aspects. It is extremely rewarding to work in this type of environment for me. It is exactly the environment I needed not only to succeed as a growing developer, but to thrive and learn about many other fascinating fields and become a better human being in the process.
Before joining LoveBook, I started working as an intern at GTB, formerly Team Detroit. I may be a little biased, but I was fortunate to work on the best team in the entire agency. I enjoyed my time at GTB as I gained a lot of confidence in my development skills and met a lot of amazing individuals there.
What are your career goals?
I’m currently working on becoming the very best developer I can be. I love working at a startup because I get the opportunity to dabble in many different fields and learn as much as possible. This is great for me because ultimately I want to open up my own company.
What was your hardest moment during the bootcamp?
Final project time. It was a very stressful time for my group in particular, and we had to buckle down and get to work. It was very satisfying when it all came together during our presentation at Demo Day.
What was your a-ha moment during the bootcamp?
I would say this happened somewhere around week three or four. I really started to feel comfortable with the material we were covering and felt like I hit my stride. It was a pretty euphoric feeling, as everything began to come together. It was really on the tip of the iceberg. Learning to program is a continual process and that is one of the aspects that I really enjoy about the field. You always have to keep up with new languages and technologies to stay relevant in the field.
During the bootcamp, what was your support system outside of class?
I didn’t really have much of a support system outside of class. I had my friend from my property management job that I could reach out to whenever I had a particular programming problem that really stumped me.
I was extremely fortunate that many of my classmates in the bootcamp became my support system. We were going through this experience of changing our lives together. We all helped each other succeed during this difficult time. I am really thankfully for many of those people who would eventually become close friends.
How would you describe your overall experience with Grand Circus?
It was absolutely phenomenal. I had an excellent time learning to program, and I am fortunate now to be working in a field that is extremely challenging, but similarly amazingly rewarding at the same time. I met a lot of amazing people during my time at the bootcamp. They really helped me feel comfortable and push me to not only succeed, but also to excel. I would not be where I am today without Grand Circus.
Describe your job hunt process.
My job searching process was fairly simple to be honest. It was drilled into our heads to attend meet ups and network, so that’s what I did. I was fortunate to meet a recruiter from GTB at a meetup I attended. We got to talking and she told me that they had a open technology internship, which I applied and got.
There were no shortage of jobs to look into whether it be on different job boards, recruiters or through all of the various opportunities posted in Slack, I was confident that I would have a job in no time.
What was your best Detroit discovery (business, lunch spot, hidden gem) during your bootcamp?
It would definitely have to be Hot Taco. I love Mexican food and they have some incredible burritos. It was also an incredible walk on the many the beautiful summer days. It helped take my mind off of programming for a little bit.
What piece of advice would you give to someone about to embark on a bootcamp?
I would definitely recommend focusing on the fundamentals. The bootcamp can really help you lay the foundation for the rest of your development career. Learning how to think like a developer and master many of the basic concepts will take you a long way. It will help you pick up the other languages you encounter at a quicker pace, and conquer many problems you face along your journey. Commit. It isn’t easy, but it is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever do.