Meet Lanna, Technical Support Specialist turned Software Engineer

Lanna group photo

Finding a path into tech that is right for YOU is so important to your long-term success in the industry. One of the most popular questions we get asked is “Is a college degree necessary to become a software developer?” In short – no, a college degree is not necessary. For Lanna, a graduate of our C# .NET coding bootcamp,  she knew that earning a college degree was important to her but to earn a career in tech – she wanted the hands-on experience a coding bootcamp could provide.

Lanna’s joined our C# .NET coding bootcamp in June 2017. Since then, she’s become an empowering member of the GC community – providing support to new students as they begin exploring code, offering guidance as grads start the job hunt and volunteering her time at various tech events. Let’s hear her story!

Meet Lanna, a C# .NET Bootcamp Graduate

Where are you from?

I’m originally from Almont, Michigan.

Lanna headshot

What did you do before the bootcamp, and why did you decide to take the bootcamp?

was about a year and a half into pursuing my associate’s degree in computer programming from Macomb Community College when I realized that I wanted a more hands-on experience. College was great and I was learning a lot of theory, but hands-on developing is what really interested me. At the same time I was working in technical support for a small company but didn’t feel I was learning anything there that would be valuable to my long-term career goals. Ultimately, I decided to make a change, reach outside my comfort zone and enroll in a bootcamp at Grand Circus! It was an experience of a lifetime.

What are you doing now?

Currently, I am an Associate Software Engineer at a marketing company in Southfield called HelloWorld and pursuing my Bachelor’s of Science in computer science at Wayne State University. I also stay involved in Detroit’s tech community by volunteering at Grand Circus for Intro to Coding Workshops whenever I can, going to the Demo Days, attending other workshops, and participating in Tech Meet Ups at work!

What are your career goals?

I want to be the absolute best software engineer I can possibly be. I am great, and getting better with the tech side of things and I am also a strong communicator. I would love to serve in a technical lead position where I can still be hands on but also support and help with the organization of the team. Ideally, I would create something amazing for the company (or the world) that we could use for a very long time that would be beneficial to everyone.

Lanna writing on whiteboardWhat was your hardest moment during the bootcamp?

My hardest moment was dealing with imposter syndrome. It was just natural for me to think that I wasn’t doing as good as I was or that I didn’t know as much as I knew. I would think “maybe I’m doing this wrong” or “maybe I did that wrong” but I was actually doing it right and therefore worrying for no reason.

What was your “a-ha” moment during the bootcamp?

I think I had an “a-ha” moment every day during bootcamp. It’s just a process of constant learning and I was always so excited anytime I was able to pick something up and actually implement it.

During the bootcamp, what was your support system outside of class?

My Fiance. Google. Taking classes for my associate’s degree during bootcamp also helped me understand some material I may not have understood as easily without those classes. Having the ability to talk with my classmates about what we were all struggling with was also helpful since we were all very supportive of each other.

How would you describe your overall experience with Grand Circus?

Chandler, Lanna, and Michelle
Chandler (Java grad), Lanna (C# grad) and Michelle (Front-End grad) now work together at HelloWorld.

Exciting. I just truly had so much fun there. The staff is amazing and the other students are awesome. The environment, coding, and learning are all a breath of fresh air and I looked forward to every single day there. The bootcamp will be known as one of the best experiences of my life.

Describe your job hunt process.

At times it was stressful and definitely time consuming. I applied for several positions and had maybe 10-15 interviews total, including second interviews with some businesses. I made sure I was researching every company I wanted to apply to, making connections, and  putting extra time into my resume and cover letters. After my interview with HelloWorld, I thought I didn’t get the job (imposter syndrome). Now, I am proud to say I’ve been an Associate Software Engineer with them for the past 8 months!

What was your best Detroit discovery (business, lunch spot, hidden gem) during your bootcamp?

El Guapo Food Truck!  They were always at Campus Martius and have such good tacos and chipotle crema!

What pieces of advice would you give to someone about to embark on a bootcamp?

  1. Be prepared and make sure you do some research on the language you will be learning. You’ll get a good feel for how things are done there and make for an easier transition once your start the bootcamp.
  2. Always ask questions and don’t let yourself get lost. You have to make sure you are up to speed for you! You can get ahead by going to coding workshops at Grand Circus before your bootcamp begins to help get an introduction to coding, the GC space and staff.
  3. Don’t forget, this is a journey! So there will be bumps, ups, downs and you’ll get lost, but you will find your way and learn from it all.

Thank you Lanna for taking the time to share your story! We love watching your career in tech grow and evolve!