As our Charlotte students were preparing their final projects leading up to Demo Day a couple of weeks ago, we stopped by our new campus in downtown Charlotte to check out their progress. We sat down with Front-End Engineering student Scott Endicott, who shared a bit of his story with us.
Scott’s college degree was in English Literature and he dabbled in publishing for a few years while teaching himself to code a bit on the side. When he realized that he enjoyed building sites more than his “regular” job, he decided to make the change and become a software developer.
“You could teach yourself it [code] eventually, but why take all that time if you can jump start and get your foot in the door?” he said. “Suddenly I was moving much faster from the beginning of one week to the end of that same week, I could go as far as I had on my own in months.”
Check out the rest of our conversation with Scott below (transcript follows video).
Stacy: I am Stacy Merrick, Public Relations. I am here in Charlotte, North Carolina with Scott Endicott, one of our front end students who is currently in week nine.
Scott: Yeah. Week nine, week ten, high up there.
Stacy: Yeah. He is almost done, starting final projects. We thought that we would sit down and hear about his background, what led him to The Iron Yard and just learn a little bit more about where he wants to go after the course. Thank you, Scott.
Scott: Sure. Glad to be here.
Stacy: Tell me a little bit about your background before The Iron Yard.
Scott: Sure. I have an English Literature degree from Messiah College in Harrisburg, PA. That offers you three different trades. You can go into journalism, publishing, or teaching. Tried all of them. None of them quite fit. They’re great trades but not for me. I had some internships doing journalism while in school and then did about 2 years at a publishing house before I came here.
Stacy: What made you turn to coding? What interested you about the tech field and why did you think that the code school model was how you wanted to do it?
Scott: To some degree, practically speaking, getting another 4 year degree wasn’t going to be feasible. The idea of a 12 week school immediately appealed to me. I found out about it from a friend who had seen me doing some stuff on Codecademy, different things like that. He said why don’t you think about this? I looked up, literally Googled, exhaustive list of coding boot camps. There is a list that comes up. It’s really good. The Iron Yard was on there and I realized that Iron Yard was the biggest school out there, which is because you guys have been around for 3 years.
Stacy: Exactly. It’s such a young industry. The history in that is pretty crazy.
Scott: Yeah. The reason that I was looking at Codecademy and trying those things that led to the friend giving me that idea is that while I was at work, I was the sales coordinator but they were still figuring out what that meant. I was wearing a lot of different hats. One of those hats, because I was one of the younger people on the team, they were like we need to do a website. That’s your job because you’re one of the younger people.
Stacy: Take this.
Scott: Yeah. I did a little bit of HTML and CSS. That was basically the favorite part of my job. It was like, well, this is such a small part of my job, there’s probably a way to make that the biggest part of my job. I started practicing at home. My wife is in grad school, so I was going to be there for at least 2 years watching her finish her degree. In that time, I started studying online. Just like anything, you could teach yourself it eventually but why take all that time if you can jump start and get your foot in the door.
Scott: Yeah. A lot of other … and learning is similar to what I was looking at in Code Academy what with an instructor there who knows what they’re doing and who can help you get past those walls that otherwise would have stopped me for weeks or months, and often did for those two years. Suddenly I was moving much faster from the beginning of one week to the end of that same week, I could go as far as I had on my own in months.
Stacy: Awesome. How has your experience been thus far now that you are nearing the end?
Scott: Yeah. Basically it’s that it’s almost the end. I remember watching one of these similar videos of them saying you just live and breathe code, that’s all that you do. It is true. That’s all that you do. It’s really fun. Been lots of walls that I’ve hit and then been able to get over. That’s been a great confidence booster. I think that’s one of the best things about The Iron Yard is that it’s a calculated risk and it’s a hard task but you can get through it. Realizing that you can is a gift. It’s been, besides just having an instructor here and the homework every night and everything like that, just having this community of people who are doing the same thing I can talk to about this industry that I’m interested in who can just help jump start a career in this field has been really fun, really fascinating. Fun watching The Iron Yard Charlotte campus grow as well.
Stacy: Yeah. If you all can see, we are in our new permanent space and this is our little talk show setup.
Scott: It just opened up yesterday.
Stacy: Exactly. This is new décor. You are starting your final project. Do you have your concept and the idea you’re working on?
Scott: Yeah, we do. I have a partner. Her name is Jennifer. She’s the backend. I’m the front-end. We are making a Google Maps weather application. Basically, the idea is that if you are going on a long trip, this would be the most useful. Let’s say you’re going from Boston to Charlotte. You’re going to not only want to know about traffic. You’re also going to want to know about weather. If you try to look up weather, you’re probably going to look up Boston. You’re probably going to look up Charlotte. You’re not necessarily going to look up anywhere in the middle. When you get hit with a blizzard in Maryland and you’re stuck, you’re going to maybe wish that you’d known that beforehand. The point of this app and tech and your starting and ending location and when you’re starting. It just gives you all the weather changes, the main weather changes. It highlights anything which they would consider dangerous, that we consider dangerous like a blizzard or a thunderstorm or heavy rain or whatever. Then you can plan accordingly. If you want to move forward, it will give you essentially what you get with Google Maps but with weather appended to each direction.
Stacy: Cool. That’s great. How far along are you all in the process so now?
Scott: Not that far. We’ve done wire frames with just white boards, drawing out what you do, and user stories and walking through what is the scope that you can do from start to finish. Now, we’re just really getting into the codes, day two of actually writing code. We’re just building up the scale to that a bit and the structure and then we’ll start styling it and making it pretty and all that stuff and functional.
Stacy: Cool. Nice. I can’t wait to see how it turns out. We can share it with everyone and update this post when we’re done with the final product. Thank you so much for telling me about your Iron journey and what brought you here. I’m sure we’ll be seeing great things from you in the future.
Scott: Yep. Thanks for visiting Charlotte.