Becoming a Software Engineer: A Career Transformation

By BrainStation May 10, 2019

software engineer

Meet Nathan Devey, a graduate of BrainStation’s immersive Web Development program who has now been working as a Developer for two years. Nathan had a background in business and accounting before deciding to take the plunge into a more technical career.

Here Nathan shares his experience at BrainStation, and how it helped him become a Software Engineer.

Can you tell us a bit about what you were up to before BrainStation?

I started my career as an Accountant at Deloitte after graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Bachelors of Business Administration. After a few grueling years in public accounting, I had finally earned a designation as a Chartered Accountant. However, it was clear by that point that I wasn’t passionate about what I was doing, so I decided to change industries and take a Senior Internal Auditor role at Molson Coors.

That role gave me some great exposure to the business processes and best practices involved in operating a multinational organization. I also got some international experience within that company, after being promoted to European Internal Controls Manager and moving to Prague.

What was your motivation to take the Web Development Program? What factors influenced your decision?

My dream has always been to become an entrepreneur. However, I didn’t feel that my career was heading in a direction that would provide me with the skills necessary to start a business that I would be interested in. Sure, I could have started an accounting firm or a niche consulting business, but those avenues aren’t of interest to me.

Every business idea that I was interested in had some sort of technology component, but I didn’t feel confident enough in that area of expertise to take the risk at that point in time. Therefore, I decided that attending a bootcamp would be a great way to take my coding knowledge to the next level, and hopefully remove the barrier that stood between me and my dream of entrepreneurship.

Tell us a bit about your learning experience at BrainStation, what are some of the highlights?

My experience at BrainStation was a great one. The Instructor was an absolute gem of a person and a fantastic teacher. He always explained concepts in multiple ways to ensure that everyone in the class understood the point he was trying to make.

The program was made up of people from all walks of life with unique and interesting background stories. Having a great group to learn with made it a competitive but fun learning environment in which the students both pushed and helped each other where necessary.

What were some of the most valuable skills you gained during the Web Development program? Why were these skills important to your professional development?

  • Whiteboarding was very helpful with job interviews.
  • Learning one front-end framework (React) has made learning other frameworks easier, which is helpful in becoming a polyglot.
  • Learning full-stack as opposed to just front or back-end development has been helpful in understanding the big picture, and therefore knowing how a change to one element may affect the rest of the app.

You recently started a new position as a Software Engineer, can you describe your career progression since you graduated from the program?

My first role after graduating from BrainStation was a Full-Stack Developer at tilr. tilr is an algorithmic hiring solution for the gig work economy, as well as a talent management solution. At tilr I got exposure to and experience with the full stack on two different apps, including both technologies that I had learned at BrainStation and others that I hadn’t.

After working at tilr for nearly a year and a half, another opportunity arose at Clearbanc, with yet another technology stack, so I decided to branch out and try something new.

How well did the Web Development Program prepare you for the positions you’ve held since graduation?

The Web Development Program prepared me to be a Junior Developer. It also prepared me for the fact that ‘imposter syndrome’ is real, and that helped calm my nerves on my first days on the job at tilr. The program also taught me many best practices that I continue to apply on a regular basis.

Has BrainStation influenced the way you view digital skills and professional development? How so?

BrainStation has made it apparent to me that the days of requiring a CS degree to become a Developer are over. An important skill I learned at BrainStation is how to learn about technology, which has allowed me to continually build my skills as a Developer since graduating from the program.

If you’re looking to make a career transformation like Nathan did, BrainStation offers diploma programs in Development, Design, and Data to prepare you to dive into a new technical role.