Domingo Rosa had been working in events and hospitality for several years when he found himself in a rut. His experience working in the Las Vegas casino scene – a place that was once exciting and fast-paced – was now mundane. He couldn’t see much of a future for his career. “Every day I would just go in, go through the motions, and head home,” he said. “I was watching PBS and they ran a story about code schools and the workforce of the future. I found myself relating more and more to the students who left their jobs to pursue a new career. A Google search later, I was reading up on The Iron Yard.”
When the 12-week cohort first kicked off, Domingo says everyone was at about the same skill level. “The age range was pretty big. We had people as young as 18 and as old 60,” he recalled. “Despite the gap, we all got along and played well off each other. After high school, I went to the College of Southern Nevada part-time and never really got the college experience. I feel The Iron Yard gave me what I had missed out on. Fridays were the best days at The Iron Yard because of Iron Pints. This is a time when they encourage the students to relax and hang out in order to decompress. Many a Friday night was spent drinking and coming up with ideas for startups and end-of-year projects.”
When he talks to others about his Iron Yard experience, Domingo is sure to be clear about the level of commitment that is required. “This school is like a full-time job and will take its toll on you. As long as you are committed to working hard and ready to put in the time after class, you can do it,” he said. “The school also comes with a built-in support system in your classmates and instructors. Just remember that everyone is in the same boat and can lean on each other. My most important tip is to speak up. If you don’t understand something, odds are someone else doesn’t either. You’re not alone.”
His favorite part of being part of The Iron Yard were the friends he made. “I left The Iron Yard with friends for life,” he said. “The amount of time you spend together during those 12 weeks just strengthens the bonds you make. I hang out with most of them on a regular basis. Just last night a few of us were BBQing and watching Game of Thrones.”
Soon after graduating, Domingo landed a job as a junior developer with a startup called IzyTrack, where he focuses on creating back-office software for party planning consultants. He’s also continuing to stay connected to the local tech community. “Myself and a few other Iron Yard alumni – Thomas Shannon and Cesar Marroquin – are starting a Meetup for junior developers here in Las Vegas,” he said. “We decided to bring together other junior developers in the community and give them a place to learn and meet peers.”
Looking back on his life-altering experience, Domingo still can’t believe how far he’s come. “My biggest challenge was getting over what they call Imposter Syndrome,” he said. “Throughout the cohort and into my first job, I kept having to remind myself I worked hard to get here and know more that I think. After talking with people who’ve worked as devs for years, I realized a lot of people go through this and this wasn’t just my struggle.”
A version of this story was first published on VegasTech.com. Click here to read the original post.