For more information about Sienna Wood check out her profile website at: http://siennamwood.com/
My first experience of coding was in two college courses that I took while pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in music. Having enjoyed those courses immensely, I started doing small-scale part-time web work, initially for friends and later for small businesses. I continued building websites part-time while I pursued a doctorate in music. With my PhD in hand, I found myself looking at dim job prospects as a professor of music and feeling little enthusiasm for the career I foresaw in that field. Then it occurred to me that I had another professional option to consider.
Being largely self-taught and having always worked on my own, I did not feel prepared to seek full-time employment on a software engineering team. I started to look into code schools and discovered Women Who Code along the way. It was through the WWC’s scholarship announcements that I discovered Launch School.
With its self-paced structure and mastery-based learning pedagogy, launch School was a great fit for me. I learned at my own pace – flying through the things I already knew or understood quickly and taking my time on material that challenged me – with the support of instructors, TAs, and other students ready whenever I needed it. The core curriculum was fun, challenging, and I felt I had learned a great deal, but I had not yet done any collaborative software engineering, which I felt was an essential component of preparing for a job search.
Then Launch School invited me to apply for their Capstone Program, which offers more advanced content, team coding projects, and career coaching. This was also a perfect fit for me. We learned and practiced the collaborative tools that professional engineers use every day (such as Trello, Git, and GitHub) and we created a project to showcase our skills to other engineers and potential employers. Our project became the backbone of my job hunt: it was featured in my resume, personal website, and in a talk that I presented at local meetups.
Having had only part-time work for the 10 years prior (due to graduate school and parenthood), I was very uncertain about how to approach job searching and interviewing. But with my fundamentals solid, my Capstone project complete, and the encouragement and expert advice of the Launch School instructors, I quickly landed an amazing job at an amazing company with an amazing salary!
Now I am excited to go into work every day and solve coding problems alongside a great team. Changing fields was scary, but it was worth every minute and every penny I put into it. I recommend Launch School and their Capstone program to anyone looking to launch their career as a software engineer.