Jolene M. had been looking for an opportunity to get into coding, but many local programs come with a hefty price tag. “I was always waiting for an opportunity where I could get into programming, but all the other boot camps were extremely expensive, and I was extremely poor. Then COVID hit. And I had this opportunity to apply with COVID funding.”
Once she started, she was all in. “I was working in McDonald’s and doing the Coding Boot Camp, and overachieving in all the projects because it was my one and only chance – so I did it, and I loved it.” Jolene started in the Front End Coding Boot Camp program, an 18-week part-time career training course available 100 percent online through a partnership between Promineo Tech and Nashua Community College. The program had recently launched in 2020, and Jolene was one of its first students.
After completing the Front End course, she immediately enrolled in the Back-End Coding Boot Camp, using COVID funds and scholarships to cover costs. Now that she’s finished both the Front and Back End pathways, Jolene is a Full-Stack Coding graduate. “Jolene was one of the first people I met when NCC debuted the Coding Boot Camps,” said Kim Eckenrode, Career and Technical Education Pathways Director at NCC, “Her coding journey has been inspiring; it’s now a little over a year past our first meeting, and Jolene has completed both Front End and Back End Coding Boot Camp.”
She also made an impression on Promineo Tech President Nick Suwyn, “I remember when Jolene was going through the Front End program, she would share her projects with me and the staff and she’d always put so much extra effort into making them the best they could be. It was a pleasure to see what she built each time.”
“Programming brings me a lot of joy,” said Jolene. Before she officially became a Mentor with Promineo Tech, she would hop on the student general chat line during office hours, and support students as they troubleshoot different issues. “There are some things that hold you back with computer issues, bugs, and whatever. If I could help them change a headache into 5 minutes of explaining so they could put their passion getting back into coding, it is worth it.” She recalled helping a student in the Front End Coding Camp, “We spent long hours together on Zoom, and we actually went to a tech online job fair, so I helped her get through it; like her wingman. As a full-time mom she wasn’t as fast with the material as I was, but she spent long hours trying to get hold of it. She now works with computers, her company made a new job opening just for her. I also made sure she doesn’t undersell herself. It was fun, I got to see her light up. I’m a bit shy, so she’s one of those people who helped me branch out and meet other people.”
The Coding Boot Camp is part-time, and meant to accommodate a student’s work schedule. In Jolene’s case, she continued to work full-time at McDonald’s during the Front End class, and grabbed every opportunity to study. “I worked the drive through a lot, and while I was waiting for a car or doing an order for car, I would pull out receipt paper, and if I was troubleshooting a problem, I would write it on the back of the receipt paper. I’d have 5, 10, sometimes 20 pieces of folded up paper in my back pocket, and I’d bring it home after a long day of work, and try to apply the ideas to what I was working on.”
Those moments helped her solve problems, she said. “I thought of good trouble shooting methods, I designed a lot of characters that way. For that reason, I always had a pen on me.”
Now she’s working with Promineo Tech. “I am now a Mentor. My first week I was offered a Back End Grader position which I accepted, and just recently I was given the opportunity to be a Front End Grader as well. So now I am a Back End, Front End Mentor and Grader.”
Director of Student Services at Promineo Tech Brendan Lentz said the role is a great fit, “We are grateful to now have her working as a mentor and grader for us. She finds innovative solutions to all the tasks she takes on. Her enthusiasm is contagious.”
Learn more about Promineo Tech’s 18-week Front and Back End Coding Boot Camps at Nashua Community College at nashuacc.edu/coding-boot-camp. New classes are enrolling now. The next Front End Coding Boot Camp begins January 26, and the next Back End course starts February 15.