Stories from the Hackery Episode 2

Kelley Stephens Finds Improved Quality of Life as Software Engineer

“Sometimes it’s hard or frustrating, but it’s a good challenge in a way that I was never challenged before.”

Kelley Stephens, a Software Engineer from Cohort Five discusses the importance of changing careers, finding Nashville Software School, and using her knowledge and new network to land a job at Ingram Content Group. Listen to her journey with Clark Buckner in episode two of our latest segment of Stories From The Hackery.

A little over a year ago, Kelley Stephens had hit a dead end. Unhappy with her job in operations and marketing and unsure of where to go with her degree, the MTSU grad decided to apply to the Nashville Software School.

Episode 1 Highlights

1:28: Finding Software School: “I told him he was crazy”
4:57: The Butterflies of Starting Something New
6:04: Advice For New Software Engineers: Ask For Help
8:20: Learning From The Capstone
10:18: Advancing in Software Engineering
11:25: Getting Hired at Ingram Content Group
12:30: Events and Networking: Time Management For Students
14:13: The Interview Process
15:17: User Group Recommendations
16:00: Looking back at NSS
17:30: Closing Thoughts: “Don’t let fear hold you back”

A part of Cohort 5, Stephens said was amazed at the speed of the program, and the “keep up or be left behind” attitude that came with it. Two things that helped her most in her journey through the school was putting in the work – even when that work required late hours – and asking lots of questions.

“I think some people were scared of sounding dumb or thinking ‘that’s a stupid question,’ but there’s really no such thing,” she said. “You’re in a school – a learning environment – and when you hold back, you’re only holding back yourself and possibly others who might have the same question.” The six-month program means little time to go home and relax, she said. What extracurriculars she did foster during her time in the program often circled right around back to her programming, “self-led education” and networking. And this was especially true when it came to the program’s two capstone projects.

One of Stephens’s projects, her first gem development, “struck a chord” with recruiters from Ingram Content Group, her current employer. She applied after graduation and was hired two weeks later.

With the impact the program has made on her life in mind, Stephens left encouraging words to prospective students considering applying to the Nashville Software School, even those who don’t necessarily have much experience in the tech industry.

“I would say go, do it, make the jump. I have not once looked back or regretted it. Not everyone is going to love software engineering but if you feel like you’re interested, I would say it’s 110% worth the chance. If you’re not happy where you are now, what’s the hurt?”

Connect with Kelley on Twitter @KelleyCan.

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