Before joining the June 2015 Mobile Engineering cohort at The Iron Yard’s Washington, DC Campus, Sonova Middleton’s career was already an unqualified success. Between earning a Computer Science degree from Howard University’s School of Engineering and spending more than a decade as both a web developer and a web designer (including a turn as a senior web developer), she had already established herself as a professional web developer. But despite her career achievements, Sonova found herself wanting to move in a different direction.
“I didn’t want to go back to design or web development, I think I was burnt out” Sonova said. “After taking some time off and thinking about what I wanted to do with the next phase of my life, I decided I wanted to do something I was passionate about. I looked at my phone with over 600 apps and I realized that was my obsession. I wanted to make awesome iPhone apps! ” Once she had chosen her direction, there was no question – she was going to go for it.
When she decided it was time to re-skill, she knew exactly what she was looking for. “I wanted the full experience. I wanted everything.”
Though her previous work as a developer had afforded her lots of opportunities to skill up, most of those opportunities had been week long courses or distance-based learning. Sonova knew that in order to get to where she wanted to be as a mobile developer, it would take something else. “I wanted something intense. Going back to school was out. Computer-based learning was out. Taking short courses was out. The boot camp [model] seemed the most feasible for me.”
Knowing what she wanted to do and how she planned to get there, Sonova started weighing her opportunities. “I had options, but I was looking for in-depth learning, because I knew about coding, but I didn’t know anything about iOS programming, whether in Objective-C or Swift.”
Like many students who consider The Iron Yard, Sonova consulted with her family, as well as friends in the tech industry. “I went to an Iron Yard Demo Day and I saw the students’ final projects, I talked with the instructors and staff, and felt that it was just the best option for me.”
Despite her experience as a professional developer, Sonova admits that she struggled with the course work. “I figured with all of my experience that I’d easily be at the top of the class, but that wasn’t exactly the case” she said. “In the course we had two computer science majors who were taking the course between college classes, an electrical engineer, a movie script writer, and a guy who’d been in advertising” she continued “I’d taken time off, and it had been so long since I’d done any actual coding. I also wasn’t prepared for how much work it was going to be. I knew it was going to be hard, but I wasn’t prepared for the amount of work.”
In addition to the workload Sonova, said it took some time to get used to being a student again. “My experience with traditional college classes made me nervous about asking questions and trying to get help, so it was difficult for me to get used to that.”
Sonova was particularly effusive in her praise for her instructor Tom Crawford. “Tom, was one of the best instructors I have ever had. He pushed me in a good way, and even when I wasn’t fully grasping something, he reassured me in a way that made me confident,” she continued. ” Once I relaxed, listened to his advice and asked questions, it went much better for me. I truly, truly learned a lot,” she continued. “My confidence grew with each app we developed every week. I ended up creating an awesome app for my final project that I loved showing off. Apparently I showed it off to the right people since now I’m working as a iOS developer for Capital One.”
Sonova is happy about the hard skills she gained at The Iron Yard, but remarks most fondly about the soft skills and personal development she experienced at The Iron Yard.
“This was a huge experience for me. One because I got out of my own way, and I changed something about my life for the better.” she said. “I know that I can create an app and get it on the App store…I can do that.”
“Knowing something and wishing for something are so totally different, and that’s what The Iron Yard gave me. They turned my dreams into an actual reality.
Interested in learning more about Sonova? Head over to www.supernova8.com to check out her work.
Want to learn more about our Mobile Engineering Course? Check out more information right here.