How Dria Thomas used her web development skills to thrive at a hackathon & get hired at JP Morgan

Today’s spotlight is on Dria Thomas. Prior to enrolling in Ironhack she was a Middle School Technology Teacher with a passion for web design. After completing Ironhack’s 24 week part-time Web Development Bootcamp, she was able to take her coding skills to the next level. Dria learned the top frameworks used by development teams, how to create responsive and user friendly designs in front-end development, and how to be comfortable with back-end development. 

The knowledge she gained from Ironhack gave her the confidence and courage to sign up for a 9hr hackathon hosted by J.P. Morgan Chase. Here’s her story.

Life before Ironhack 

After a year of teaching web development during the pandemic, I realized I have a big passion for web development. This spark began when I was in my senior year in college. Our group was working on our capstone project and I was in charge of creating/designing the web page on WIX. I noticed I had more fun creating/designing the webpage than editing the video. I was more proud of the work I had done for the web page than the actual video editing.

I felt discouraged to look further into web development because I felt that website builders such as WIX and Squarespace existed so I didn’t feel the need to dig deeper into the subject. Everything changed when I became a middle school Technology Teacher during the pandemic. I found myself watching endless amounts of youtube videos on web development on a Saturday night. That's when I realized it's time for a change. 

I’ve heard great things about Ironhack and have seen students go from zero to hero! After hearing so many success stories, I wanted that for myself.

Why did you decide to enroll in Ironhack? 

To continue my journey and growth in web development, I decided to enroll in Ironhack’s Full Stack Web Development program. I’ve known of Ironhack’s existence since my freshman year of college at FIU. I’ve heard great things about Ironhack and have seen students go from zero to hero! After hearing so many success stories, I wanted that for myself.

We saw that you participated in the JP Morgan Chase Code for Good Hackathon. Can you tell us more about it?

JPMC Code for Good hackathon is a great opportunity for individuals who want to switch into or start a career in the tech industry. You experience what it’s like to work in a fast paced environment with different individuals who have different knowledge of tech stacks. JPMC Code for Good is a 9 hour virtual hackathon where you team up with 6-7 team members to help a non-profit organization. Each team is also given two mentors who guide you throughout the hackathon. 

What was your experience completing the hackathon? 

My experience completing the hackathon was eye opening to the different approaches to web development. During the hackathon I wanted to challenge myself by working with the backend. I usually work on the frontend and wanted to see if I could learn something new. I was able to convince my team to use Mongodb instead of SQL because the setup is a lot quicker since we have limited time. Some of my team members were not familiar with Mongodb so I used my teaching skills to teach them. 

We used a npm package I learned about at Ironhack to help speed the process of setting up the backend. While I was teaching, I discovered what I didn't know about Mongodb and what I did know. This helped me gain new knowledge about the backend. Now, I feel more comfortable taking on the backend more than before. Overall, JPMC Code for Good was a great experience to meet and learn from other developers on the same level.

Tips for participating in the Code for Good Hackathon (or any other Hackathon):

  1. Plan ahead on what tech stack your team wants to work on
  2. Separate team into frontend and backend before the hackathon
  3. Make sure you learn and have fun!

What’s next in your journey ?

In the future I would love to become a Unicorn developer because of my love for design and web development. I believe I have what it takes to become well versed in both of these skills. I want to be able to design and develop web applications to help make people's lives easier and safer.

A big thanks to Dria for sharing her Ironhack experience and tips for participating in a Hackathon. It’s amazing to see how she went from middle school technology teacher to a self-motivated web developer that is ready to take on any challenge! We’re so proud of her and happy to share that a few weeks after the hackathon she accepted a position as a Software Engineer at J.P. Morgan Chase.

If you’d like to follow a similar path as Dria and are looking to change careers, we encourage you to check out our Full-Stack Web Development Course in addition to our UI/UX Design and Data Analytics courses.

We look forward to seeing you in class!

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