Often, our culture assumes that people should work certain jobs not for the paycheck or the benefits, but for the passion. Jenny Doctor’s previous career merged two of those self-sacrificing vocations; she was a music teacher.
But what if that passion isn’t enough to see you through, especially when your work during a pandemic demands more and more of you? What if that inner fire even starts fading?
For Jenny, you discover a surprising way of addressing it all at once: a new path in tech. Here’s how she joined TripleTen and rediscovered her spark.
Writing her prelude
Initially, teaching was everything to Jenny. She spent five years in college getting her degree in music education, after which she promptly landed a job teaching music to elementary school kids. “I thought that I would retire as a music teacher,” she said.
But she started that job in August 2019. Less than a year later, everything changed. “During quarantine, we had to go to teaching online. As you can probably imagine, trying to wrangle four year olds in a Google Meet and teaching the music was really difficult.”
So to solve the problems of teaching music remotely, she started diving into tech. “I found that I was better off creating asynchronous activities for the students to do. So I would make lessons on Google Slides and do basic HTML coding in our lesson software. And I found that I really, really enjoyed that.”
This new interest stuck with her. “I really enjoyed being on my computer and creating these lessons, and I got more enjoyment out of doing that. I started to get a bit burnt out with teaching as well.”
The burnout wasn’t limited to just her job, either. “When I was teaching, I really didn't make music for myself. I was focused on my students.”
She started looking into bootcamps, and she found TripleTen. The fact that it was part-time was key. “I was still teaching, and I wanted to be able to continue to teach because, just financially, it didn't make sense for me to quit my job.” But there was more to it, too. She was interested in our externships, hands-on work placement opportunities in tech.
The other big thing that really drew me to TripleTen was the ability to do extracurricular projects. Jenny Doctor, TripleTen grad
That decided her. She enrolled.
Training in a coding conservatory
She knew software engineeringWhat’s Included in TripleTen’s Software Engineering Bootcamp? was the way to go. “I chose software engineering because I'm a fairly creative person. Obviously, as a music teacher, I was using creativity and art throughout my day. And I found that with software engineering, and especially the web development that I did through TripleTen, there was a creative aspect.”
Mastering the material wasn’t exclusively easy, though. She was still working while she was at the bootcamp, so she had to establish a schedule that would allow her to fulfill her duties as a teacher, master new tech knowledge, and still find time to rest so she wouldn’t totally burn out.
She had to complete six projects as part of the bootcamp, which would then go through code reviewWhat Is Code Review? How It Works And How to Ace Your Next Review. Professional coders would comb through what she wrote and let her know where she could improve. The projects were demanding. “I never got my projects approved right away. I always had to go back and change something and make it better.”
But the people behind TripleTen were there to help. “Tutors did one-on-one sessions with me where we would just meet really quickly to talk through the issue. And I'd be able to get really great help and feedback from this professional coder just in that moment.”
As her bootcamp experience was winding down, she joined two externships, the real-world experience opportunities that had attracted her to TripleTen in the first place. During her first, she and a team built a landing page for ArqliteExternship with TripleTen: Arqlite, a company that turns unrecyclable plastic into new products to keep it from ending up in a landfill. In addition to providing her valuable hands-on know-how, it was also edifying for her. “It was a really exciting thing to be able to help a company that really aligned with my morals and values.”
Her second externship was slightly more complex. She and some of the same students from her previous project came together on a Web3 project for Mu Methods. They built the front end for a wallet that would store all of a user’s various cryptocurrencies. It set her up well. “I really enjoyed that we were able to take part in writing our own tests for our code and for reviewing our pull requests. We were able to get that real-life practice of what I'm doing now in my job.”
Thriving in her job and in her music
That new job she mentioned? She landed it before even finishing the bootcamp. Thanks to the advice and projects from TripleTen, she was ready. “I had this great portfolio in place. I built myself a personal website portfolio. So I had a display of the projects that I worked on in the curriculum at TripleTen, but also the externship projects.”
When a family friend recommended her for a position at Booz Allen Hamilton, an IT services and consulting company, she had something to show. In her first interview, she was told that there were no open positions for her, but then something opened up. After her second interview, she was offered a job.
Now, she’s a software engineer. The specifics of her project are confidential, but she did say that she was part of a team building a finance app. She was free to share one thing, though: “There is absolutely still creativity in my current position. Of course, as a junior developer, I'm not exactly building complicated apps or you know, big components quite yet. But I'm able to find creative ways to solve problems.”
And it goes beyond professional fulfillment. Her love for music is returning.
Now that I am in tech and I'm at home and I have more free time for myself, I’ve found that I've been playing more music. Jenny Doctor, TripleTen grad
In fact, the passion that brought her to teaching is rekindling as well, but as a potential side project. “I'm looking forward to hopefully continuing to share my love of teaching music with students, but just on my own terms.”
Our pitch to you
If you, too, are looking for a part-time bootcamp that will help you make the most of your creative skills and nurture your passions, then check out our Software Engineering bootcamp.
And to see Jenny tell her story in her own words, check out her video here.