Connie Dang became interested in web development while teaching a Pre-K class. While her students were fun to work with, the data she gathered from what worked and what didn’t in her teaching career was what really interested her. That eye for data analysis pushed her to join Digital Crafts’ web development immersive bootcamp.
Her attention to detail helped her successfully finish the program. On her list to learn? R and D3 for data visualization in order to continue fulfilling her passion for data. Plus, she counts coffee and cats as inspiration tools (seriously, who doesn’t?).
With graduation looming, Dang is excited to take her new knowledge to a company where she can feel challenged and make a difference. Is that you? If so, call her up before she gets scooped up.
What program are you currently enrolled in?
I started DigitalCrafts’ 16-week web development immersive bootcamp in November 2016. I’ll be graduating at the end of March 2017!
What is your previous education?
I have a Bachelor’s Degree from UGA in Birth through Five Education with an emphasis in Special Education. Before coming to DigitalCrafts, I had been debating whether to go the technical school or coding bootcamp route to pick up coding skills. Ultimately, I chose a bootcamp setting to make my career transition in less time with more practical skills. While the bootcamp route can be expensive, I think of it as an investment. By securing a position that would allow me to make use of my newly acquired coding skills, I would be able to hold a full time job and be back on track toward developing a successful career again.
What was your work experience before aspiring to become a web developer?
Prior to studying web development, I taught Preschool Special Education, GA PreK and Kindergarten. I did sprints of tutoring students of all ages after school as well. While I enjoyed working with the students, I discovered that I was even more interested in the data I gathered from their daily progress.
I analyzed the data to make decisions for the following week’s lessons and presented them during conferences with the parents. My sudden interest in data analysis led me to looking into the tech field for ways to get those coding skills that I would need to analyze big data. Along the way, I learned about web development bootcamps from a friend. I decided to give it a try and remained committed for the rest of the program!
What technology and tools are essential to you as a developer?
(Do coffee and cats count as inspirational tools?)
Like any self-respecting person, developer or not, Google is a major best friend. As a developer, a simple Google search often leads to Stack Overflow. As a newbie, there are questions that I know are simple newbie questions that I need an in depth explanation for, so Stack Overflow covers those bases. If it’s not a specific coding question, Google is always there to provide some helpful resources. When I am not understanding why something I’ve written does not run the way I expected it to, I rely on Python Tutor to help visualize the nuances in the code that I might have missed.
How do you stay informed & on top of emerging trends?
I mainly depend on the Newbie Coder Warehouse and Hypepotamus (of course) to stay informed of the latest trends. Newbie Coder Warehouse is the perfect starting place for coding beginners, especially those considering entering the field. There are many free resources that the group members share amongst each other, such as free Udemy courses, helpful Youtube videos, advice on job hunting and freelancing as well as good reads about emerging trends. If you want to test your skills, you can take a stab at the issues in the code that another member has posted.
If you are the angel who finds the solution for them, hooray! You just one-upped yourself and earned temporary bragging rights. Even if you had no idea, you can still learn by reading someone else’s correct solution to that problem. Despite the name of the group, Newbie Coder Warehouse is where I get the best reads for the latest trends. Also, it’s a bonus that there is a wide variety of languages studied by the newbies there. If you’re interested in a particular language, there’s bound to be a beginner studying it so you can connect with them to see how they’re liking it. I also use the Tech404 Slack channel for finding events and networking opportunities in the area and job hunting.
After DigitalCrafts, what’s next on your list to learn?
DigitalCrafts has provided the right skills what will allow me to continue teaching myself, a skill that I never thought a former teacher would struggle with. If no one has told you before, teaching someone else is completely different than teaching yourself. It is indeed a humbling discovery. In addition to improving on the web development skills that I have learned, especially Python, Angular, and React, I have plans to learn R and D3 for data visualization. Data has always been a big interest of mine. In fact, my original interest in data analysis was what led me to decide on a career change.
Are you interested in working for a startup, agency, mid-sized company, or a corporate giant?
I would like to be a part of a company that has a strong mentorship program that supports lifelong learning with many opportunities to pair program. I want to fully utilize my communication and coding skills while continuing to benefit from a mentor’s lead. I want to be in a place where I am challenged, where I can make a difference and where I can feel valued.