Interview with UNH Coding Boot Camp Graduate Justin Rice

Justin Rice
Justin Rice

Thinking about enrolling in the UNH Coding Boot Camp?  Hear Justin Rice's story, a recent CBC graduate who now works as a software engineer and coding tutor:

1. What inspired you to learn to code at the coding boot camp?

I have always been interested in how things work and digging into them and figuring out every little process. I started off in broadcasting and always enjoyed finding out how every small process works to deliver what we see, which is the end product of many people working as a cohesive unit. The internet (in my opinion) is the most complex system that has been created and I believe is still in its infancy. When you look deeper into how the internet works, at every endpoint, there is someone (or something) writing code to make all of these processes work. I knew that going to a great Bootcamp would build a solid foundation of the concepts and that I could take my curiosity to whatever place I chose to go to.

2. Ideally, are you doing what you wanted to do when you finished the course?

Absolutely. I am working as a software engineer by day getting to tackle all forms of challenges and working with many other people that embrace challenges. The coolest thing about this industry is that it changes constantly. That means more tools, more learning and more questioning whats possible. The timing works perfectly where I also have enough time to explore my own interests. Right now it's blockchain. I am fascinated at the thought of a decentralized world and I get to pursue it and work with fantastic people.

3. What did you find most challenging about the program and what were your key takeaways?

Besides learning a new programming language, it taught me time management skills and the importance of organization. Trilogy's program is so vast in terms of what you are going to learn and the program is really designed to give you that really solid foundation. That being said, putting the time into making sure you are getting all of the concepts and completing the projects is something that was challenging.

4. How has attending the coding boot camp changed your life so far?

I have a new job as a software engineer and tutor. I have been able to join local development projects involving blockchain, mesh networks, and other development projects that are geared toward improving my community. There are many groups around me that just want to continue to challenge things, build cool stuff and help people which is something I thought was missing from my previous job. Finding my passion for development has lead me to find other people that I really connect with and challenge me.   

5. What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is considering attending the coding boot camp?

It sounds sort of cliche, but figure out your “why” and then you will usually find that software is either a means to get there or a solution. A lot of my classmates were looking for a way of either starting their own business, freelancing, acquiring a new skill that is really in-demand, looking for a new challenge, having the ability to work remotely, get more time with their kids and having a job with flexible, software engineering is a means of accomplishing all of those things. Finding out exactly why you are interested in pursuing something is comforting and motivating.

Personally, I was very interested in building things that help people (that came from discovering that there are few medical professions that do not involve blood) and internet security (that came from my first viewing of the Declaration of independence heist in the American classic film,  National Treasure). Learning to program is necessary for both of those fields. I also wanted the ability to have a job where sometimes I could work from home. That was the motivation and the boot camp was the step to get there.

6. If you were talking to someone who was on the fence about taking the class, what would you say to them?

One of my classmates always said something that really stuck with me. He said "The worst case scenario, I learn something," which is truly accurate. Taking a program like this and diving into something you have never done before will always inherently be a learning experience. That helps people grow personally and professionally. This program will teach you so much more than just how to program and build applications. It puts so much emphasis on problem-solving, thinking critically and working collaboratively on projects that can be nothing but a positive experience.

That being said I think that there are two other factors that hold people back from doing something like this: time and money.

If it's time that is a factor in your decision, think of this:

Time will inevitably pass by. Whether it is 6 months or 3 months, it will pass by. Picture yourself at one of those places in time. Picture yourself with a new, in-demand skill set that will further you in any career and then picture yourself not taking the program. Which one do you like better? Which one makes you feel more accomplished? Which one makes you feel like you will get to where you want to go, even if that isn't entirely clear?

If it's money, think of this:

Think of the exact reason why you are looking at the program. Think of what you want it to help you accomplish. Did that reason have a price tag on it?

7. Tell me about your overall experience in the boot camp.

I was working full-time and taking the boot camp part-time. I remember there being a lot of coffee and candy involved. My class was a perfect mix of fantastic people that all really understood one another and shared the same goals of wanting to learn. My teacher broke down the concepts really well and asked the critical questions to make sure that people were comprehending the material. We really bonded as a group over making really cool projects. It was a really fun and collaborative environment that was a perfect way to either end a weekday or start a Saturday. 


Learn more about the UNH Coding Boot Camp