Developing New Passions: How Kyle Crane Discovered His Love For Software and Became an Engineer in Just Six Months
Kyle Crane graduated from The Ohio State University in 2016 with a degree in political science. After realizing he would likely have to relocate to D.C. for a job in the field, he decided to accept a local sales role in Cleveland instead. The only problem? He hated it.
While scrolling through Facebook one day, Kyle stumbled upon an ad for a technology boot camp—and was instantly intrigued.
He began attending CWRU Coding Boot Camp in the fall of 2017, and loved it from day one. “I had no idea if it would be a good fit for me, but I just love the challenge,” he said. “It felt like the right place for me to be.”
With a full-time sales job and a two-year-old at home, Kyle started taking classes twice a week and on weekends. He would rush to class after clocking out and quickly switch gears from working all day to learning something completely new.
Each week, he spent 10 to 12 hours in class and an additional 25 to 30 hours putting in extra work. “Even on off days where I didn’t have a lecture, I was always doing work on my own—looking up documentation, watching tutorials on YouTube, completing homework. I was constantly trying to learn,” he said.
In the classroom, Kyle’s instructors and TAs made a point of consistently prioritizing the most important topics. “The instructors were really patient and understood exactly what we needed to learn and how we needed to be taught to think like software developers,” he said.
Kyle started his job search early on—applying for different roles throughout the duration of the boot camp and letting employers know when he would receive his Certificate of Completion.
At times, he was discouraged by how certain companies view boot camps. “Many employers have tunnel vision with four-year degrees and don’t look at anything outside of that,” he said. “I had a few interviews that didn’t pan out, not because I didn’t perform well but because they saw it as less of a risk to choose someone with a degree over me.”
Debunking this stereotype, many students say the hands-on nature of boot camps stands out from any other educational experience. According to Kyle, the lectures were concise and the majority of lessons came from physically working with applications. “The best way to learn how to do something is by actually doing it,” he said.
Pushing past his initial job search struggles, Kyle was able to land a role that satisfies his professional skill set—and passions.
On the job
Kyle has worked on the Embrace Pet Insurance development team for a little over a year now. He was hired as an application support technician, helping developers on the infrastructure team debug issues. After ten months, he switched to his current role as a junior software engineer.
As a junior software engineer, he explained, you’re expected to do simple tasks—debugging, writing some code here and there, mainly learning. “But ever since I’ve started, every piece of code I’ve written has gone to production,” Kyle said. “I’m excited about that, because I didn’t want to just sit back and watch. I wanted to get my hands dirty and really understand how these systems work.”
He loves his new job, despite some of the stressors that come with it. “It’s challenging, like solving a puzzle, but oddly enough that’s what I love most about it,” Kyle said. “I’m constantly given more complex work, which gives me a greater sense of personal responsibility.”
The lessons Kyle learned in the boot camp set him up for success as a software developer. While the program’s pace was challenging, it paid off in the end. “It gives you a sense of gratification to know that in six months, you’ll have a Certificate [of Completion] and be able to put new skills to work.”