When the pandemic hit, Colin Maretsky was teaching English in Southeast Asia. He had already been craving a career change, so when the flow of students and work dried up, he saw it as an opportunity. He immersed himself in TripleTen’s practice-oriented Software Engineering bootcamp, and now, he’s a front-end engineer for a company that brings transparency to U.S. city budgets.
Here’s how he got from there to here.
Starting from scratch
For Colin, it was a major professional pivot. He himself admits, “I was never really a computer person.” He had studied psychology, and his expertise was in the grammar and vocabulary that defined his daily lessons.
However, those lessons came to a halt, so he started researching new career tracks, focusing on a future in the world of tech. Ultimately, he found himself choosing between digital marketing and software engineering. “I decided on software engineering,” he says, “Because I thought maybe there’s less competition in the market.”
He began his journey with HTML, a basic language, and it intrigued him. “I liked that it’s like a puzzle that you put together.”
As he gained experience, he turned his interest into a side gig that helped him pay the bills. However, he kept learning, and his curiosity kept growing, so he began looking for software engineering courses.
First, he tried free online resources, but they didn’t work for him, as they were too theoretical. “There are no deadlines. There are no teachers. I didn’t really understand what I was learning. I didn’t know how to use my knowledge. I just kept reading.”
He realized he needed more accountability and guidance, so he once again tried to find the right program. That’s how he discovered TripleTen. “It was a pretty new course, and it had some good reviews.” To him, it looked more serious than the other courses.
TripleTen seemed like they wanted to take you all the way, so I thought I would take a chance.
Gaining new skills
The bright side to not having students to teach was that Colin could dedicate more of his time to studying software engineering, something he came to appreciate. “TripleTen has high expectations for students. Just keeping up was a big challenge for me.”
At TripleTen, learning is organized into sprints, two- to three-week-long periods that introduce students to technical concepts using theoretical material, coding exercises, and practical assignments. Colin could read and practice at his own pace, but he had deadlines to meet to unlock subsequent sprints.
TripleTen made sure that we knew the fundamentals of how these things work, and not just how to use the easy library. Even if we didn’t have the library, we could still do our tasks because TripleTen taught us how to do them the basic way before teaching us a lot of additional stuff.
In fact, looking back on his studies with the bootcamp, he says, “I thought we all came out really well prepared for our first jobs.”
The first job
After graduating from the program, Colin took on small commissions as a freelancer. “The mix of TripleTen projects and my own was a good thing.” According to him, having a portfolio was helpful, as it made employers think, Okay, this person knows what he’s doing.
With both TripleTen and a robust history of work on his resume, Colin found a job in just three months.
He had set his sights high, applying for a senior position at GovInvest, a company that uses tech to help US cities more closely monitor their budgets. His idea was that even if he wasn’t offered the higher position, the company would still hire him in a lower role.
“The interview process went very well,” he says. “Funnily enough, it was easier than a lot of the other interviews. They gave me an interview project and two days to do it. I brought it back, and my interviewer said he liked it.”
Following that, Colin spoke to people up the chain of command until he met the CEO himself. “They said, ‘We like you. We don’t quite think you’re a senior, but we’ll give you one level below.’” Colin’s plan had worked.
Now, Colin is a front-end engineer. He’s responsible for building the financial dashboards that give cities transparency on their finances. “All the graphs, the bar chart, the line chart, everything. I’m building that right now.”
Our pitch to you
If you, too, are looking for a part-time bootcamp that will help you discover a new career, then TripleTen can help. Check out the programs we offer, and if you’re not sure which tech specialty to pursue, try our career quiz.