Follow your interests: Deems’ story

Deems Wilson is a man who follows his interests. In fact, the most common response we got during our interview with him was “because it was interesting.”

After college, Deems started working in the hospitality industry. It was during his time as a fine dining waiter that he developed a particular interest in wine. “I started working with wine for fine dining, and became really interested in it. I was being exposed to lots of good wines, and getting my sommelier certification just seemed like an obvious way to level up.”

After two years simultaneously managing a wine bar and two pool halls, Deems realized that his opportunities to grow in the service industry were diminishing. “It didn’t feel like I could reach much higher and I was beginning to feel like I was losing some of the passion and enthusiasm that had driven me for so long. It was time for a change.”

It was a recommendation from one of The Iron Yard’s former all-star Iron Yarder, Sarah Lodato, that got Deems considering a career in coding. He said, “I had a conversation with Sarah where she told me, ‘The way your brain works, you’d probably be pretty good at this.’ And that’s what got me started with coding.”

After roughly a year and half of exploring various free sites like Codeacademy, Deems decided to more seriously consider coding as a full-time career change. “I found coding to be understandable,” he said. “But after all that time [I spent exploring code on my own] I realized how big of a world coding is. It was somewhat intimidating.”

thumb_20160803_164710_1024Deems had attended a Crash Course at our Durham campus, but after an Iron Yard campus opened in his hometown of Charlotte, NC, Deems decided that the time was right. “Initially, I was thinking about doing Back-End Engineering, but I met (Front-End Engineering Instructor) Luke and thought ‘This guy’s awesome, and he relates really well. I’m just going to do Front-End.”

Deems joined the February 2016 cohort on The Iron Yard’s Charlotte campus -the inaugural cohort in the Queen City. For his final project Deems once again followed his interests, “My project tracked the fluctuations in foreign exchange currencies, and allowed users to play a game. Basically, users bet whether or not a particular foreign currency would be up or down from its current rate over a given period of time.”

He continued “We had done a similar project earlier in the course with a fake currency. I started reading more and learning beyond the assignment––it was just fascinating thinking about currency fluctuations and what causes them. I know I’m never going to be a currency broker, but it is now something I now know more about than I ever thought I would, just because I got interested in it.”

One week after the course was over, Deems began an internship at Investor Management Services, and at the time of our conversation, has plans to head back to Durham, NC to pursue a new career.

Our final question to Deems was if he had any advice for anyone who was considering a code school. His answer was short and exacting: “Do it. Absolutely.”


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