From High School Math Teacher to Software Engineer, Meet Spencer

Throughout Grand Circus’ six years, we’ve had students from a range of backgrounds join coding bootcamps. One profession that consistency does well in our programs is teachers. These individuals come to us with a growth mindset, adaptability, excitement and passion for tech, and readiness to help others in their cohort.

Spencer is a great example of such success. He’s such an avid learner, he’s even taken two coding bootcamps to continue advancing his skills – even after he found employment in tech! Spencer is now a Software Engineer at Ford Motor Company and continues to remain involved in the Grand Circus community. He’s taught several of our free and weekend workshops – helping others begin their journeys into tech. 

From High School Math Teacher to Software Engineer, Meet Spencer

Spencer_White

Before Grand Circus

What did you do before coming to Grand Circus?

I was a high school math teacher.  

What brought you to Grand Circus?

A desire to learn coding to transition into a developer career.

What attracted you to tech, specifically being a developer?

I enjoy how empowered I feel when working as a developer. It is an extremely satisfying experience to dream up and design something, and then bring it into existence. Each day I feel like I get to solve meaningful and interesting problems that demand creativity and energy.

Bootcamp Experience

What was your bootcamp experience like?

My bootcamp was a really rewarding experience. Under the tutelage of David and Adam, I built the confidence and foundational skills I needed in order to transition into a developer role. I enjoyed the mix of quizzes, projects, and group exercises that I encountered. I think Adam and David did a great job scaffolding the content and hitting on the key concepts that I have encountered day after day in my new role.

What advice would you give new bootcamp students?

I would say work your hardest and stay curious. Success isn’t about learning everything, but rather building habits and skills that you will employ to conquer challenges as they come.

How do you feel you combatted Imposter Syndrome? Did you have doubts before/during bootcamp?

I try to focus on just being better everyday. As time has gone on it has been easier to let go of this fear of not knowing everything and to instead grow more confident in my ability to tackle new problems as they come. My doubts largely centered around the worry that I needed to have some sort of Computer Science credentials or knowledge in order to be successful.

What was the most unexpected part of bootcamp?

I think the most unexpected part was the myriad of people coming from so many different backgrounds.  I think this makes the program unique and speaks volumes to how literally anyone could be successful through a bootcamp if becoming a developer is something that inspires them.

Did you have challenges in bootcamp you weren’t anticipating?

I took a lot of time in considering a bootcamp and the path I wanted to take, so a lot of the challenges I experienced were ones I anticipated. However, you don’t know what you don’t know, and sometimes it took longer than I wanted to pick up a new idea or concept.

What resources are the most helpful / were the most helpful in your coding journey?

I think the projects were the most helpful teaching resource employed. Nothing can replace just getting into a project and gaining experience. Working with others was also extremely helpful because it exposed me to other ways of thinking and solving problems.

Is there anything you wish you could go back and tell yourself to do either before or during bootcamp?

I would actually tell myself to consider back-end development more openly. Over the last few years I have found myself excited more by and drifting ever further towards working on and building APIs, servers, and programs that fall into this realm.

Career Transition

How has your transition been into your career? How did GC help you?

My transition has been excellent. During my first year on the job I had the opportunity to improve and refine my JavaScript skills in a big way. I was also exposed to a variety of topics in and around development. This exposure has helped me focus my energies during my second year and I am happy with how I am progressing as a developer. GC played a huge role in getting me a pivotal interview and preparing me to be successful on day one of the job.

Ready to learn more?

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At Grand Circus we train people intensively for new careers. Join a bootcamp in downtown Detroit or Grand Rapids, Michigan. Kickstart your career.

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