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Alumni Spotlight: George Gruner June 24, 2020

George came to Rithm School by way of Baltimore after dabbling in a handful of personal projects and finding himself wanting to join a more structured learning environment. George took some time to share more about their experience with us at Rithm, and to give some advice for anyone looking to transition into web development! 


What got you interested in coding and deciding to pursue a career as a Software Engineer?

I have a background in mechanical engineering, so I’ve always enjoyed problem solving and critical thinking. What really drove me to software engineering though, is the variety of problems and the vast scope of possibilities that fall within that technical umbrella.

Tell us about the environment and curriculum at Rithm School. What made it the right fit for you?

Initially, Rithm checked all of my boxes - it was in person, it had a high hiring rate, it taught the languages I wanted, and was located in the Bay Area. That said there were plenty of things that I didn’t know I wanted until I joined:

  • I don’t think that it was just luck that my cohort was filled with incredibly smart and thoughtful people, and I think that really aided in my development as a coder. 

  • I think the mandatory pre-work is super helpful in getting everyone up to speed on the fundamentals so that more focus can be put into some of the more complicated subjects. 

  • The code review process at Rithm also made me confident that I was developing good habits and staying away from flawed antipatterns. Nearly all the code I wrote was personally reviewed by an instructor, and there were often times in the lab where we would discuss the code in depth and really flush out the pros and cons of different approaches. 

  • Coming into Rithm, I was unfamiliar with the term paired programming, but I quickly learned how helpful it is in teaching how to be methodical, deliberate and clear.

 

What were the pros and cons of attending a bootcamp?

Pros:

  • Provides direction and guidance that can be difficult to wade through on your own.
  • Helpful in creating a network - both for searching for jobs and just generally developing as a coder.
  • Cheaper and quicker than a CS degree

Cons:

  • Nearly all the information is available online for free - you just need to figure out what is relevant
  • Less thorough than a CS degree, particularly for DSA and theory, which can be useful in backend engineering.

When I started making the transition to learning how to code, I talked with several people in the industry. They all had different paths to get to where they were, but one of the things that they all agreed on was that the best place to grow as a coder is to work in the industry. The reason I ultimately chose a bootcamp over a CS degree or self taught was that I thought it was the fastest way to get into a decent job where I could really develop into a confident coder.

 

Do you have a favorite learning memory from your time here?

About halfway through the curriculum, I remember there was a moment when I realized how far myself and my fellow classmates had come as developing coders. It was a pretty routine day, but for some reason it just hit me how much the tone of our discussions had changed. Inside and outside of class, we were discussing things lightheartedly, but the vocabulary and the topics were those that would’ve absolutely baffled me a handful of weeks before. It was honestly just an ordinary day, but the sense of pride I felt for myself and my classmates in that moment has really stuck with me.

 

What company are you working at now, and what do you do there?

I just got a job at Dovenmuehle Mortgage Inc, and I actually start in 3 days! I will be a full stack engineer working with React Boilerplate and Node.js, which incorporates much of the technical material taught at Rithm.

 

Tell me about the process of briefly being unemployed while job searching, and how that process went.

2 days after we graduated, I had a “practice interview” at DovenMuehle with the knowledge that they would be hiring. After this interview, I got an invitation to do a technical screen, and the rest of the hiring process took about a month. In the meantime, I was getting paid to work 3 days a week on JumpOffCampus, which I got offered after I worked for them for 3 weeks during Rithm’s company projects phase. Nearly my entire post-Rithm success was guided by the connections I made through the school.

 

What advice do you have for people who are interested in attending a bootcamp?

Getting into coding is super exciting, but there are an incredible amount of different paths you can take, which can make it quite overwhelming. I think the best advice I can give is to know yourself and pick the path that feels most in line with how you think you will learn best. Learning coding can be intimidating, but with practice, even some of the tougher concepts become second nature. Find somewhere where you think you can learn at a comfortable pace, and dive in! 

Written by Angelina

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