Abbey became interested in code after working at a marketing agency. After graduating from our software development training program, she joined the Alchemy team as a Teaching Assistant and quickly became an instrumental team member as we transitioned to the Live Online training format last spring.
While we miss seeing her on campus and in our virtual classroom, we love watching her thrive in her new career. Abbey is now enjoying life with her partner and two amazing pups, renovating the home they recently purchased.
Read about her journey below!
What sparked your interest in software development?
Before Alchemy, I worked as a Content Marketing Manager for a boutique marketing agency. After a while I realized that I enjoyed working with our Software Development team the most out of my other duties. I started to pick up some HTML and CSS on the job and in my free-time, and realized there might be a future for me in coding.
I wanted to make a career change, and after moving to Portland I stumbled upon Alchemy after going to Powell's Books. I met with Megan shortly after, and immediately felt like Alchemy was the best place for me. I was drawn in by its built-in community, their drive to get students into above entry-level tech jobs, the opportunity to get more experience by becoming a Teaching Assistant, and their in-depth career services.
Out of all the code schools out there, what made you choose Alchemy?
Before I lived in Portland, I was in Los Angeles and did a one-day crash course with General Assembly. I enjoyed it, but didn't feel like three months was going to be enough to jump-start me into a new career. I looked into other schools in the area after moving to Portland, but Alchemy by far had the best feedback and with its longer timeline, it felt more in line with what I was looking for.
What was your initial job search like?
I graduated in December of 2019 and then started as a Teaching Assistant the following month. I was casually searching for a job in February and March, but that came to a halt when COVID-19 hit. In that time I probably had three interviews. I started seriously searching again in May and ended up accepting a position in early July after around 7 or 8 interviews with different companies. So all in all it was probably a few months of searching seriously.
What is your current position, and how long have you been there?
I am a FullStack Software Engineer at EventBuilder, a virtual events platform, and I've been here for just over a month.
Do you think Alchemy prepared you well for the “real” world of being a developer?
How has your new career impacted your life?
So far, I love the work I'm doing. It's great for my brain, and I'm learning a lot with each ticket I get. I also enjoy that the work I do directly impacts our coworkers and makes it easier and more efficient for them to use our platform. It's impacted my life by giving me a nice jump in pay from my last position, which offers me more stability at home and a lot less stress.
You were a TA for a while. Was that helpful for you?
I think being a TA is a wonderful piece of Alchemy life. You get to invest in the Alchemy community, while also furthering your own skills. I think people can be eager to jump straight into the job search, but I was in a position where getting to work as a TA helped cement my own knowledge and gave me more confidence when I did really start pursuing jobs and interviewing.
How did Alchemy’s instructors impact your learning experience?
My instructors were very helpful, patient and fun to learn from. There was a lot of hands-on help, and I always felt like my instructors knew when I was struggling or when I was doing well. There was a genuine interest in everyone's well-being, which I thought was special, particularly in a quick-paced bootcamp.
Were Alchemy’s Career Services helpful for you?
Career Services was one of the big selling points of Alchemy, and I found it very helpful. I found my current job on my own, but the majority of my interviews and connections came from Career Services. If I hadn't accepted my current role, I was confident that I could still get my foot in the door of many companies in Portland due to Alchemy's connections and the relationships they build behind the scenes. It was also reassuring and valuable having Shannon as a personal cheerleader, helping me keep my confidence up, since job searching can be draining.
What do you miss most about being at Alchemy every day?
I miss the people and the community the most. Everyone is happy to be there, wanting to learn, and being around that is a great feeling.
If there’s anything you would tell someone considering an education to be a software developer, what would it be?
Make sure you like problem solving and brain teasers! I took a one-day course to see if coding was something that I would actually enjoy, and I would recommend that as well. Alchemy has a Developer 101 course now that would be a great start to seeing if coding is something you could see yourself doing. If you are already interested, take the plunge!