Alumni Stories: From Taproom Manager to Software Engineer

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It’s a common experience to start out in an industry excited about what the future holds, only to realize as we get a little older that for various reasons, it doesn’t fit our needs as well as we had hoped! It’s something that Josh Maurer Experienced in the hospitality industry. He knew he was interested in technology, and after initial hesitation, he decided to join us here at LEARN. At our Jumpstart program this weekend, Josh was reassured that this was the right decision for him. He found that LEARN’s philosophy and educational approach aligned with his values ​​and goals and knew that this was where he needed to be.

Tell us about you! What did you do before LEARN, and what was the catalyst that led you down this path?

Right before LEARN, I was in the hospitality industry (I ran a brewery!). To be honest, it was a lot of fun and a great experience, but it didn’t really align with what I wanted to do long-term: have more flexibility in my career and spend more time with my kids. Being a single dad, the hosting schedule can be hard to get around. I also always enjoyed technical and computer fields and dabbled in coding a little on my own. I really enjoyed the problem solving aspect of coding! All of these things played a role in deciding to embark on this career changing path that I am on.

What did you expect coming to the weekend show, and what surprised you about the experience?

Having never taken a weekend coding class or workshop like Jumpstart, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting into or what to expect. Although I will say that once I checked the schedule and course materials, I had to prepare myself for what I expected to be a very full and intense weekend. I prepared myself to drink from a fountain of information for three days straight. The guides delivered with this firehose of information, but it was presented in a retentive way. Two things surprised me about Jumpstart, both in a very good way. The first one I touched on above was how the information was delivered to the students over the weekend. Although a lot of information was given, the presentation and annotation methods helped me retain and refer to it as we worked on the projects. The second thing was pair programming. I had never done this before and was a bit skeptical heading into the weekend. However, by the end of the weekend, it was by far one of the best and most useful parts of Jumpstart.

What was your biggest – it could be specific to coding or more abstract!

My most significant takeaway from the Jumpstart weekend was that it really ignited a fire of excitement in me. Excitement to learn to code more and start digging deeper, excitement to make the career change jump; Although there was no exact and specific end point, there was a very definite path for me. Excitement from being creative and learning the tools to make my ideas come to life on screen and excitement from being in a learning environment with lots of like-minded people, which helped keep me focused and motivated. These are just some of the many things I was excited about after the Jumpstart weekend!

How has your journey been since Jumpstart?

Since Jumpstart, I joined the Alpha 2023 group at LEARN Academy. We are preparing to go through our readiness interviews and will soon begin our capstone projects.

How did LEARN stand out for you among all the programs available?

I am currently going through the LEARN Academy through the VETTEC program. When I was initially approved for the program and looked at the eligible schools, one of the things that stood out was the internship at the end of the course. I haven’t seen this at any other school I’ve looked at. Gaining hands-on industry experience was a notable point that made LEARN stand out. I see it as an essential addition to classroom learning. The second thing was the focus on relationship programming. I haven’t seen many other schools focus on this technique, but after Jumpstart, it was something I wanted to do more of and take a course that promoted it and focused on it like LEARN does.

Any advice for people considering taking the leap and taking the program?

“do it!!” I say this because I honestly put off this career change for about two and a half years. I always seem to find a reason I couldn’t at the time or something else I should have done first, or ‘once I get all these things sorted’, that will be the time to make the leap. It never happened, and I just kept putting it off. The perfect timing and circumstances never came. I had to prepare as best I could and jump right into it, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything at this point! It hasn’t always been easy, and some days are more complicated than others, but a quote I heard once comes to mind when I think about these days, “Anything worth doing will be hard.”

Any advice for people who have signed up and are about to start the program?

When I first heard the sentence I was about to say, I thought it was super cliché, but in all honesty, it’s something that I think really helped me get to where I am now and will continue to help me through this whole journey. “Trust the process.” It seems so simple, like something you’d find written on a wall in someone’s house, in nice, cryptic vinyl letters, but it truly amazes me every day how much I trusted that phrase. It’s a great reminder that sometimes there are good days and there are those that maybe not, but when I look back at how much I’ve learned, how everything fits together, and how far I’ve come, following the process one of the basic ideals that brought me here.

Is there anything else you want to share with us?

The educational environment at LEARN Academy is one of its strongest assets. I have never been in a school or course where I felt included and that everyone involved wants the students to learn, grow and succeed with as much joy, passion and enthusiasm as I have at LEARN Academy. From the senior leadership to the TAs when I went through Jumpstart and every instructor and everything in between. Every single person was fantastic in so many ways! Wanting to help when there is a problem, pass on their knowledge, have a networking conversation, make it a comfortable environment to ask questions and fail, and so many more examples I could go on for hours! I am truly excited and grateful to be a part of what LEARN Academy has done and what it continues to build.

Our Jumpstart program is the best way to immerse yourself in our culture and curriculum for two and a half days. We cover the fundamental aspects of website building and give our attendees a real glimpse of what our classroom experience feels like. Our instructors actually run Jumpstart, and it’s not uncommon to meet current and former students participating as teaching assistants. To block, it was an important opportunity to confirm that he is on the right path. Regardless of your goals—whether they’re starting your own one-man shop or joining an emerging technology company on its engineering team in Detroit, MI—Jumpstart is a great opportunity to test the waters and determine your next steps. Sign up and find out for yourself!


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