Animator, toddler mom, finds good fit in coding

Jasmine’s plate is full but she would not have it any other way.

She is married, mom of two, working from home.

Then to add a little more to her life, Jasmine decided to learn to code.

Jasmine trained as a graphic designer and 3D animator working mostly with architects and contractors animating homes and buildings. She eventually joined a firm that specialized in golf course animations and was able to work from home. But after being in the industry for a while, Jasmine wanted to challenge herself.

“I needed some different outlet where I could be creative, but then also I wanted work where I could stay home,” she said.

Jasmine knew a few people who had previously attended code school or were working in coding education. She began to hear stories of people learning to program which resulted in more freedom in their work choices.

With resources she could piece together online, through friends and books, Jasmine began to teach herself how to code. She picked up parts of CSS and HTML very quickly, but at a certain point would get stuck.

“It seemed like it was do-able for one-third of the way, and then all of a sudden it was too difficult.” she said. “It seemed like it was going well, and then at a certain point, I just could not get any further,” she said.

Jasmine stepped away and “decided not to bother for a few months” but then when she returned to teaching herself she experienced the same struggle.

Jasmine tagged along with a friend to a tech meet-up, and met the staff of the Tampa campus and soon enrolled at The Iron Yard.

The decision to join the intense, full-time 12-week class was not easy with a toddler at home. And at the time, Jasmine was pregnant with their second child.

“One of the biggest concerns was of course, the child care. I had a two year-old toddler…and I’ve never been really away from him,” she said.

A friend volunteered to watch her son while she attended class and her husband took care of everything at home, including putting their son to bed on the nights Jasmine stayed late to finish some course work.

“My husband knew that this was something that I’m going to be doing for three months, so he gave me complete freedom. Those were the supports I really needed,” she said.

Jasmine graduated in February and gave birth to her baby in April, which made the job search a little tricky. It was obvious to potential employers she was due soon and most wanted to talk after she had the baby. Jasmine focused in on finding remote work and saw an opportunity with an LA based company that had a strong desire to find qualified female developers. And she could work from her home in Florida. Jasmine was hired to work on the company sales system site that has been inactive for a period of time.

Jasmine continues to have regular contact with her Iron Yard classmates. The group via the messaging app Slack about coding, jobs, work and daily life. Gavin, one of the instructors at the Tampa campus, has been a strong resource for Jasmine as she has started her career as a junior developer.

“He’s been great. Any time I have an issue, or anything that I don’t understand…and even deeper than coding stuff, like programming principles, I just have a conversation with him and he’s more than enthusiastic. If I asked for something, he’s always returned more than I expected,” she said.

For Jasmine instructor accessibility and assistance has been one of the advantages of coding classes versus being self taught. Having an instructor and her former classmates available to connect the pieces of an often fuzzy puzzle has been helpful.

“I think one of the most difficult thing when I tried to teach myself coding was, to even ask a question, it was difficult to form a question since I was coming from zero coding background and did not have right lingo or terms to ask questions,”

“There are things when you are a beginner that it’s good to have somebody who can guide you through. If somebody can just give you a quick answer about why it [connects] and why it works the way it does, that’s what so great about it,” she said.

But Jasmine doesn’t regret her time learning to code on her own. In fact, she is an advocate for continued self-learning with the foundation provided through The Iron Yard.

“Actually I’m glad that I went through a struggle on my own, to appreciate it more.”

Follow Jasmine on twitter @dubistdu

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