Bay Area CG artist Di has always had a passion for programming. After attending art school in San Francisco and working as an artist in a variety of studios, Di entered the startup world. Working as an artist at a startup game studio, she collaborated with engineers and had the opportunity to explore their code. With her technical background in 3D art, programming came naturally to her.
When she was laid off from her job, one of her engineer friends told her about coding bootcamps. Di was excited to be a part of the Bay Area tech scene, and she began exploring her options. “Because I live in the Bay Area, the hub of the tech industry, I felt like I could be a part of the industry,” she said. She looked into multiple coding bootcamps and decided on Thinkful’s Full Stack Flex program because of its flexibility. “There was no set schedule, and it was easy to start. I could start on any day.”
Making a career change and breaking into a technical field isn’t easy. Discovering new ways of thinking and learning comes with the territory. In addition to mastering new programming languages and frameworks, Di learned to think like a programmer. “It was challenging, but never overwhelming,” she said.
For Di, the most challenging part of her bootcamp experience wasn’t coding itself, but the research and troubleshooting that goes into understanding how code works. Her mentor, was instrumental in helping her put it all together. “I loved studying with my mentor. I felt so lucky to get paired with Marco,” she said. “The way he explained things was great. He taught me how to learn and how to think.” The mentorship and support Di received, and the tenacity and curiosity that she brought to the table, helped her succeed in the program and hone her tech skills.
Di is now a web developer at Pulse Q&A, where she leads a four-person front-end development team. “Our product is a web app for business Q&A,” she explains. “We’re trying to build a community where professionals can help answer each other’s questions.”
At Pulse, Di is still part of the startup scene – this time, as an engineer. She is thrilled with her career change and loves being part of a community of developers. She notes that in her new role, there is more flexibility, more room for growth, and even more “freedom of creativity” and opportunities to make decisions about her work. As an artist, she “used to feel constrained by the resources and budget” of a project, but now, there are no limits to what she can create.
Outside of work, Di has her sights set on some development side projects. “I want to build my own app or game, so now I can do that,” she says. “If I didn’t know about engineering, I wouldn’t be able to do it.” With her skills, creativity, and supportive community, she has all the tools she needs to bring her ideas to life.