I’m super excited about introducing a wonderful Java Bootcamp alumni today, Quinn Hamilton. Quinn is originally from Detroit, and came to Grand Circus looking to make a career change from an entrepreneurial background. I remember Quinn staying late, coordinating study groups with her fellow bootcampers and being an amazing culture captain for her cohort. She contributed to an awesome final project on her Demo Day and has been knocking it out of the park as a software engineer in Troy since graduation. Learn more about Quinn’s experience from her own words below.
What did you do before the bootcamp, and why did you decide to take the bootcamp?
I own a small business, Firebrand Candle Company, and had been focused on that full time. I’d been tooling around with coding for years, taking workshops with Girl Develop It here and there. I knew if I ever had the opportunity to enroll in a coding bootcamp and make a career change, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it and I had that opportunity in January 2016.
What are you doing now?
I’m a software engineer at Asset Health in Troy, MI. I focus on Firebrand Candle Company as a part-time venture now.
What are your career goals?
I’d like to continue learning more as an engineer/developer but, in the future, I hope to use my technical expertise and business sense to become an IT Project Manager.
What was your hardest moment during the bootcamp?
My hardest moment was actually in Week 1 when I wasn’t sure my brain could handle the pace of learning. Learning brand new concepts for 40 hours a week (plus time spent outside of class drilling down those concepts) was incredibly intense. But the first weekend, I took some time to rest and, by the end of Week 2, my brain had gotten used to the bootcamp schedule.
What was your a-ha moment during the bootcamp?
I had many, many a-ha moments during the bootcamp. For each one, I would raise my fists in triumph.
During the bootcamp, what was your support system outside of class?
My parents were very encouraging during my bootcamp experience and checked in on me often to make sure I was doing ok. Those check-ins really helped to ground me and give me a boost when things were difficult. I also have an awesome tech mentor/friend that I vented to OFTEN. Without him, my bootcamp experience would have been much more challenging.
Potential students can be pretty nervous about finding a job after the bootcamp. Describe your job hunt process.
I essentially tried to complete every task on the Job Search task list given to us by the Grand Circus staff. I put my resume up on several job board sites, I talked to a few IT recruiters, I went to tech meet-ups, I spruced up my LinkedIn profile, and I also networked with the people I know. I treated job hunting like a full-time job post-bootcamp. Within the first month post-bootcamp, I interviewed with four or five different companies and had seven or so total interviews. I received two jobs offers just about one month after our Demo Day and accepted one.
What was your best Detroit discovery during your bootcamp?
I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about Detroit’s hidden gems but Town Pump, specifically their pizza, was a surprise to even me. I’d only stopped in for drinks before bootcamp began but I discovered during bootcamp that their food menu is actually quite solid. Town Pump became one of Java January’s favorite spots to hang out.
How would you describe your overall experience with Grand Circus?
My overall bootcamp experience was fantastic. Our instructor, Kamel, was great and the Grand Circus Staff was very supportive. By the end, I felt pretty confident and prepared to dive head first into my job search.
What piece of advice would you give to someone about to embark on a bootcamp?
Make sure you’ve got a good support system before you start the bootcamp and, if possible, talk with a friend or develop a relationship with a mentor in the tech field. Their advice during bootcamp and as you start your career will be invaluable.
Quinn’s a remarkable person, and I’m so pumped to see her totally crush it post-bootcamp. While she’s definitely amazing, her success pretty typical of our driven, dedicated and amazing bootcamp graduates.