I figured out pretty quickly that it wasn’t the finance side that I liked about my credit union job, it was people and doing things for people – helping people by building plans for them. I had always been interested in programming and actually tried to teach myself some coding online. When I realized I just wasn’t truly passionate about what I was doing at work, I started thinking about what I was interested in.
So my wife actually heard something about The Iron Yard on NPR, and so she came home and she said, “this sounds like something you should check out.” We thought about it for a while; looked at finances and all those things and we didn’t rush into it. When I talked to Sally [Campus Director] at the time, we talked about attending a course. I ended up enrolling in the Front-End Engineering course with Calvin as my instructor. It honestly turned out so much better than anything else could possibly have been.
I had this plan to finish the Front-End Engineering class then try to find some freelance work between that and the Rails class, because I really wanted to serve as a TA (teaching assistant) for the next Front-End class and audit the Rails class. That way I could learn even more before launching a new full-time career. And that’s fortunately exactly how it happened for me.
About halfway through my cohort, I participated in a hackathon with another Iron Yard student and a student from another school and we actually won. That helped me land a six-month contract with a Charleston company while I audited the Rails class. I was later offered a full-time position with Benefitfocus in Charleston, and around that time my wife finished her fellowship with MUSC so it was time for us to move again and I couldn’t accept the position. Luckily, we held Demo Day at the Benefitfocus campus and I connected with the recruiter and let him know I was moving to Greenville. Luckily, Benefitfocus has an office here, so we started talking and I actually ended up taking a position with them in Greenville as an Interaction Engineer.
Had you asked me on day one what I expected or what my best expectation was, nothing could have been as possibly as good as what actually turned out.
It’s so much different. I love it so much more. Like I’m such a different person now and I’m always happy now. It makes such a huge difference to do something that you enjoy and that you are passionate about.
Ryan followed the footsteps of hundreds and hundreds of students who have forged their own path by attending The Iron Yard. The graduates below have their own unique stories to tell as well. Whether you're looking to find a more fulfilling career or fulfill your love of technology, there are alumni who have walked your path.