Today’s spotlight is on Andrew Thomas-Worsley. Prior to enrolling in Ironhack, he worked at a public school as an Academic Interventionist while balancing a variety of gig jobs. Deep down he always had a passion for technology and yearned to be a developer. After completing Ironhack’s 9 week full-time Web Development Bootcamp at Ironhack Miami , he was able to build a fulfilling career as a Software Engineer. Andrew learned the top frameworks used by development teams, was disciplined while immersing himself in the coursework everyday, and became comfortable relying on the Ironhack community for support during challenging times. The knowledge he gained from Ironhack helped Andrew find a career he loves with the flexibility he always wanted. Check out his story here. Hey Andrew! Tell us about yourself and what life was like before enrolling in Ironhack. My name is Andrew Thomas-Worsley. I’m a Software Engineer at Media Query. I got my start in tech answering phones in Customer Support for a small start-up in NYC. I transitioned into QA a year later. Even after my promotion, I still wasn’t satisfied. Truthfully I was bored and envious of the developers. I felt like the biggest contributions came from them, considering they were building the product. After a while, I didn’t care to continue to review their work. I just wanted to be like them. Before enrolling in Ironhack in Oct 2022, I was bouncing around from role to role, never really able to find the fulfillment I wanted from an occupation. Between Sept. 2017 until the moment I was hired as a developer in Nov 2022, I worked at Trader Joe's & Miami-Dade Public Schools, as well as Uber Eats & Instacart. The Ironhack Experience In 2022 you were one of our US scholarship recipients. How did the eMerge Diversity in Tech Scholarship help you and what was your experience with the enrollment process? The enrollment process was very easy. Every question I had was answered. The communication with Gaby (my admissions associate) was friendly and inviting. The financing options were varied and offered a path for everyone. I never felt like I was being sold on the idea of “being hired as a software engineer in nine weeks”. It’s worth mentioning that my situation might be different, as I wasn’t looking to be “sold” or “convinced.” I had spent the previous eight months learning the basics (of web dev) on my own. It was merely a coincidence I came across the eMerge scholarship. I had been reading an article about eMerge Americas tech conference in Miami and it mentioned the new partnership with Ironhack. I applied, and to my surprise, was awarded. The scholarship covered a third of my tuition and ultimately made the choice very easy for me. The way I saw it, $7k was a bargain in comparison to the opportunities that would present themselves on the other side of the bootcamp. Apply for the 2023 eMerge Americas x Ironhack Scholarship in partnership with the Miami Marlins here . What was your experience with the full-time Web Development Bootcamp? “Drinking water from a fountain that eventually feels like a fire hose,” is the best way to describe the full-time Web Development Bootcamp . I’m aware that depiction may discourage and dissuade those who are on the fence, however, there are many ways to learn this craft. In fact, I think for most, a part-time course is probably best. For me, I wanted to be immersed every day, all day. I needed the reps and more importantly, I wanted interpersonal interaction and collaboration. I’m a big believer in the power of environment & ambiance. I knew that if I stayed home, it’d be too easy for me to get distracted or detached/withdrawn when things got challenging. Having a bit of foundational knowledge, I knew some of the hurdles I'd encounter. And when that time came, I wanted direct access to my instructors and my classmates. That’s what I was paying for! My cohort was the first Hyflex class that had a mixture of students in-person and online following the same curriculum, with the same instructor. I feel comfortable saying there was a direct correlation between how much time we spent in person and how soon we were hired. The best thing I learned from Ironhack has nothing to do with code. It has everything to do with how to ask for help. Personally, I believe it’s the most important skill to possess. If you’ve never heard it, please let me be the first to tell you: LEARNING TO WRITE SOFTWARE WILL HUMBLE YOU. It’s hard. And you will need help. You wouldn’t expect yourself to learn to sing just from listening to music all day. So, you shouldn’t expect to learn to code just by watching tutorials all day. Any and all progress you make will come from building projects. And at some point, in the construction of your project, you’ll need help. A lot of times, Google, ChatGPT, & Stack Overflow will suffice. When you’re working on a specific component of a larger product with a team of Developers, you might need specialized knowledge that isn’t documented or accessible via the former three. That’s where knowing how to ask for help matters. I’ve learned from past situations that: If I've exhausted all of my resources trying to fix my problem, there’s no reason to judge myself when asking for help. My request for help should be detailed and already include answers to follow-up questions that might be asked. Document everything. The best thing I learned from Ironhack has nothing to do with code. It has everything to do with how to ask for help. Personally, I believe it’s the most important skill to possess. What was your favorite part about attending Ironhack? My favorite part about attending would be the community I found and the friends I made. That kind of intense experience makes for the tightest of bonds. We were also the first cohort to share office space with Media Query. That kind of access gave me a chance to build rapport with people who would eventually become my co-workers. As I said, showing up mattered... I was also appreciative of how diverse my cohort was. Most spoke more than one language and just about half weren’t born in the US. The majority of us in that room weren’t the stereotypical “techies”. We were all just people trying to level up. With diversity being an on-going topic in the tech industry, share why you believe more of the BIPOC community should be involved in tech. In a room of 100 developers, 5 of them will look like me. I’m very proud to be a software engineer who happens to be a Black American. I do my best to bring awareness within my community about the lack of representation in tech, but also enjoy sharing programs that help rectify the issue. When I was working at Booker T. Washington High School last year, I made a conscious effort to introduce web development to the kids. I believe the more exposure and opportunity we (as a community) have within tech, the sooner we’ll see more black & brown individuals take control of their fate. Ironhack gave me skills that fundamentally shifted the trajectory of my future. I have a craft I take great pride in where my growth is limitless. I’m certain there will always be something new to learn in this profession. Not to mention, there are so many specific disciplines within tech to explore. My favorite part about attending would be the community I found and the friends I made. That kind of intense experience makes for the tightest of bonds. What’s it like working in tech as a software engineer? I love what I do! There’s no other job that gives me this kind of gratification. Everyday I’m learning. Everyday I’m growing. Everyday I’m asking questions. I was one of the fortunate ones to start working very quickly after my cohort, so I’m grateful in the sense that I didn’t have to worry about a “lapse” in my skills. I was able to immediately apply what I learned. I feel very fortunate that most of my co-workers are Ironhack graduates as well, so there was an understanding and patience I was afforded. I very much believe that your first gig as a Dev is very important. It sets the tone for your career. Regardless of where you land, the learning curve is going to be a bit steep. There’s a gap between bootcamp graduation and your first job. On one hand, you’ve acquired the skills of a software engineer but on the other hand, learning how to apply them in a team with an existing code base is a separate education in and of itself. This is something that you can only get from experience. That’s why it's so tough to get the first job. What I love most about being a software engineer is the freedom it allows me to have. All I need to “work” is a laptop and wifi. If I want to work from Lagos or Singapore, I should have that option. I’ve always hated feeling like my means to earn a living is tied to a physical location. Now I don’t have to worry about it. In addition, there’s so much opportunity to start my own business or even be a consultant. —- A big thanks to Andrew for sharing his story! It’s amazing to see how he built a career in tech that he truly loves. We’re so proud of him and wish him the best in everything he does! You can connect with Andrew on Linkedin here to follow his journey. If you’d like to follow a similar path as Andrew and are looking to change careers, we encourage you to check out our Full-Stack Web Development Bootcamp in addition to our UI/UX Design and Data Analytics bootcamps . Also, don’t hesitate to apply for the 2023 eMerge Americas x Ironhack scholarship in partnership with the Miami Marlins . Submit your application by May 15th at 11:59PM EST for a chance to get a portion of your bootcamp tuition covered. We look forward to seeing you in class!