Now a Software Developer at Magic Wrighter, Adam Tasma came to Grand Circus after working in retail. Adam is now an engaged alum with Grand Circus, but stuck out to us even before he was a bootcamper! Adam made a point to prepare himself for the challenges of a bootcamp, through learning as much as he could before starting the class; one of the many reasons we want to share his story and best advice for future bootcamp students. Adam is very persistent and purposeful and the epitome of being calm, cool and collected. To connect with Adam, visit him here. We were recently able to catch up with Adam and talk more about his experience!
From Retail Associate to Software Developer, Meet Adam
What brought you to Grand Circus?
I felt lied to about the worth of my college degree and was considering going to a trade school. While I was looking for a trade I was interested in, software development kept popping up, and I heard about Grand Circus…a dream come true. An accelerated trade school in a strong industry where the work was engaging. I had been doing online learning for a while on my own, but was getting lost in the weeds of how many directions you can take with development, and I didn’t know what to prioritize. Grand Circus offered that direction and took me through all of the different steps needed to make a complete product. I was also very interested in their job placement assistance program, a program that I believe was instrumental in getting me a great position only 30 days after graduating!
What attracted you to tech, specifically being a developer?
I like how engaging the work is. I like the atmosphere that a group of developers tend to create. I like the paycheck and benefits. I like air conditioning. I like the job security. I like demystifying the world I live in, which is only going to become more programmed.
What was your bootcamp experience like?
I really appreciated the structure of my bootcamp. A typical day had lecture in the morning, and room in the afternoon to engage with the content with coding challenges. Often, these challenges would become homework if you weren’t able to finish it in class. I still keep up with some of my classmates.
What advice would you give new bootcamp students?
Don’t work a part time (or full-time) job while doing the bootcamp, you’ll rob yourself of the value offered. The bootcamp is dense, but doable, expect to be doing homework every day, even if you’ve finished all your required work, lean into finding extra work to continue to drive the concepts home. If learning doesn’t excite you, and you’re looking to do the least amount of work necessary to get a job, you are not yet ready to become a developer. [Side note: Grand Circus does offer After-Hours bootcamps if you do need to keep your job throughout the program; same training but over a longer period of time.]
How do you feel you combatted Imposter Syndrome? Did you have doubts before or during bootcamp?
I assume I’ll always feel like a bit of an imposter, but what really helped me was realizing that everybody felt like that. Something like 70-80% of developers have been doing it less than 5 years and most didn’t go to college for it. Most of my coworkers remember being new, and have given me a lot of grace because of it. They even tell me that watching me learn has helped them realize how far they have come, because they still feel like an imposter.
How has your transition been into your career? How did GC help you?
My transition was quick and excellent. Grand Circus invites a representative from software development companies each week to talk to the cohort about life in the workplace, and I actually got a job with one of these companies through making that connection. I kept up the relationship with that company and my now manager through meetups and other events, and when they started their hiring process, they already knew me, which I think gave me a leg up.
What was the most unexpected part of bootcamp?
The beer fridge! [That’s right, our Grand Rapids campus has a beer fridge thanks to our friends at Start Garden]
Did you have challenges in bootcamp you weren’t anticipating?
I wasn’t anticipating the difficulty that group projects can be on something as finicky and creative as code. The experience of working with others taught me the value of GitHub and version control, of how there’s never just one way to do things, and the importance of best practice in a way that online learning never could.
What resources are the most helpful / were the most helpful in your coding journey?
Coding is so big, and there’s so many different avenues, languages, libraries, code editors, etc. that I found it very unintuitive to jump in to online learning and figure out what to prioritize. Grand Circus didn’t teach me everything there is to know about coding, but it took the guesswork out of how to get started, and brought me through the complete process of one of the avenues (creating a web application) in a way that am now able to repeat myself in other avenues. Also, the resume building and mock interviews were of great help.
Is there anything you wish you could go back and tell yourself to do either before or during bootcamp?
Start learning online before the bootcamp even starts, the more you know going into it, the more you can focus on harder things.