This interview was conducted by Erica Freedman, Content Specialist at SwitchUp
Tania D’Angelo currently works as a Software Developer for a global technologies company in Lafayette, LA. After 10 years in Criminal Justice, she decided to tap back into her college curiosity and enroll in a coding bootcamp. Her decision to attend Bottega was far from casual. After conducting extensive research on over six other programs, Tania decided to pursue her education at the Bottega bootcamp not only because of a great admissions experience but also because it felt more like a school than a business. She was thrilled with her final decision. Continue reading to find out why:
Your educational background is in Criminal Justice. What ignited the switch to Software Development?
I went to Rutgers University for my bachelors degree from 2003 to 2007. During my time there, I took a couple intro to computers and intro to programming classes. I absolutely loved them and wanted to take more but I felt I had to be a math whiz and the professor of my courses geared them to the declared computer science majors. I graduated in Criminal Justice/Psychology/Criminology and worked in the Criminal Justice field for about 10 years. I loved everything I did while the in criminal justice/civil service field and I accomplished a lot of goals, but eventually I started wanting more professional growth and a better life for my family. I kept seeing the technology field growing and decided to pursue my love of problem solving and creating new things. After researching a lot of different programs, I enrolled in Bottega and finally gave myself the chance to become a Software Programmer.
Do you feel Software Development and Criminal Justice are related? If so, how?
I do feel that Software Development and Criminal Justice have some similarities. Critical thinking, problem-solving, communication skills, the ability to listen effectively and understand how to break down the problem at hand are all skills I have used in both my work that has dealt with law enforcement and investigations as well as my current career in software programming.
How did you decide to attend Bottega? What made it the right program for you?
I researched a lot of programs prior to enrolling at Bottega. I looked at Flatiron, Bloc, the University of Texas bootcamp, Coder Camps, General Assembly, Lonestar College’s Computer Science certificate program and Bottega. After taking a few online courses on alison.com and codecademy, I realized that I needed to find a program that would teach me how to learn programming languages. Focusing on one language in my opinion is not that right way to become an efficient programmer. To excel in software development you have to learn to adapt to quickly changing environments. From my first meeting with Dane who handles admissions, I could tell he was not trying to sell me anything. He was positive, understanding and willing to help give me as much information as I needed. While other programs were sending me spam and calling me, telling me I would miss out on discounts if I didn’t enroll, Bottega allowed me to have virtual meetings with former students and teaching assistants. Dane understood this was a big decision and was extremely professional. Something that was said to me during one of the meetings was that the curriculum focuses not only on learning the specific languages but going in depth so that students could continue to learn other languages after completing the program. Teaching students how to study and learn different programming languages is an important part of any software development program and Bottega offers that. While other bootcamps felt like a business, Bottega felt like and is a school. They are the only accredited bootcamp I had found at the time. Knowing that I would be getting 200-400 level college credits showed me just how great the program would be for my growth and success in this new venture. After I started the curriculum created by Jordan Hudgens and worked with the instructors and teaching assistants at Bottega, I knew I had made the right choice.
You currently work as a Software Developer. What does this title mean and what does a normal day at work look like for you?
I am a Software Developer/Consultant at a global technologies company in Lafayette, La. A normal work day involves programming, learning new technologies, and having the ability to be innovative and continue to grow. This title means I accomplished an amazing goal. I put in a lot of hard work into the Bottega Curriculum and I continue to work hard and attempt to give 150% in everything I do in my career. This title means a lot to me and my husband and children that stood by me while I went back to school to accomplish this dream. This title means that my family and I have opportunities we did not have in the past but most importantly this title means that I am happy to work in what I do everyday and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.
Have you faced any challenges trying to become a Software Developer?
I have faced many challenges in trying to become a software developer but most were due to Impostor Syndrome. It has taken me the first few months in my career to learn that with ever changing technology it is okay not know everything but you have to be willing to put in the time to learn it correctly and quickly. It’s impossible to know something that you have yet learned but it is very simple to research and learn it before you are asked to work in it. Saying “I don’t know” is okay as long as it’s followed by “but I will research and learn it and try to figure it out” Being a mom of three and a wife while going back to school was also challenging. It was definitely a group effort. Learning programming languages is not easy and you need a good support system because the curriculum is difficult and takes a lot of time and you have to be able to devote yourself to it.
Has Bottega helped you to get a job in your field? If so, how?
Bottega’s curriculum and everything I learned while in the program definitely helped me get my current job. I was prepared for interviews, I was able explain what I had learned and I also was able to show a portfolio with applications we created in the course along with freelance applications I completed on my own after the first 6 weeks at Bottega.
Where do you see your career heading in the next 5-10 years?
Within the next 5 years, I would hope to have a Sr. Software Developer role at my current company. I want to learn as many different programming languages as I can and I want to continue to grow in application development, testing, and automation. I just want to learn as much as I can so I can continue to grow and adapt with this field.
What makes you most passionate about the world of Software Development?
Software Development keeps you on your toes, it’s always changing. It’s exciting for me when I am able to create something or troubleshoot something today that I wasn’t able to do yesterday. Seeing a completed project/application and knowing you did that is an amazing feeling.
If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice before pursuing this track, what would it be?
This is a tough one. I have learned so much and have really enjoyed this experience and I wouldn’t want to change any of it but if I had to give myself one piece of advice prior to pursuing this track, it would be to start sooner, don’t wait so long. Success and amazing accomplishments are right around the corner so don’t let fear stop you. If I had known how happy I would be in my current job, I would started on this path much sooner. It’s never too late to pursue your dreams.
Do you want to learn what other students have said about the Bottega program? Read alumni reviews on SwitchUp.