Riley didn’t feel fulfilled by his career working in customer support. After spending time with free coding resources, he decided to take the plunge with Software Engineering. Now, Riley is making more than any of his previous jobs as a Junior Developer in Tampa.
This is what he has to say about his journey.
Tell me: what were you doing before Thinkful?
I worked as Lead Installer at AutoLoop, a tech and marketing company, offering products focused on marketing and retention for auto dealerships.
Why did you end up enrolling in Thinkful?
Basically, I was a customer support rep that was a bit tech savvy. I had leadership abilities and could manage teams, but I didn’t love what I was doing. I wanted to do something more technical.
I had been interested in computers and technology all my life and thought coding would be a really cool job to have, but that there was no way I was smart enough to learn to code or have that kind of career.
Over the years I met and became great friends with a few developers and through knowing them and talking to them about what they were learning, working on, and their passion, it inspired me to switch careers.
Initially, I tried studying on my own using an assortment of free or low-cost resources. They were great but I felt they were unstructured at times and I easily lost motivation because I didn’t have clear-cut goals, benchmarks, or the 1:1 guidance. I really felt I needed all these components to make this journey possible. That’s when I started searching the web looking for programs and I came across Thinkful.
How did Thinkful change your life?
This career change is a dream come true. I never thought I could make a traditional education work due to financial difficulties. Starting at Thinkful really made this goal seem achievable in a proven and tested way.
Having financing options made it affordable. I’ve always wanted to do something I love and be well paid to do it.
I never thought I’d have a career like this; that’s fulfilling, challenging, fun and something I can grow with for the rest of my life.
I’m going to be earning more than ever before and that will allow me to take care of my family and repay people that have helped me get where I am now. It will also allow me to be financially secure in a way I never thought possible, which I can’t emphasize enough.
What advice would you give to other students who are currently looking for a job?
Trust the process, and dedicate yourself as much as possible. I got lucky in that I found an opportunity at the right time and place. Once I found a good opportunity, I called every day until they looked at my resume. I made sure to always respond to emails quickly and practiced my interview scenarios.
I found my opportunity on Indeed, but I only started looking at this job site after I received a personal tip from a meetup. I started going to meetups, sometimes twice a week, when I was seriously looking and I met lots of people that wanted to help. Just by being friendly, honest, and sharing my story many people wanted to give me very valuable advice, tips, and referrals. It gave me so much confidence having the support and encouragement from the community.
Get out and make friends and connections!