Find A Career That Challenges You | Graduate Spotlight

If there’s one thing guaranteed in life, it’s that life changes. Sometimes after being in the workforce for a few years, you discover that your job has no career path, doesn’t challenge your mind, or it’s lost the enjoyment it once had. When that happens, often something inside us pushes us to look at our options and we begin talking with our friends, family, and networks. That’s what these three graduates of Cohort 17 experienced. They each desired a new career that would give them the mental challenge that was missing in their jobs.

James West

James West served in the infantry of the United States Marine Corp. After completing his service he decided to become a software developer since it would provide the mental challenge he was seeking. He started a four year degree online, but after a year and a half, James realized it wasn’t the best learning environment for him. He needed that in-person, hands-on classroom with instructors and classmates. After hearing an ad for a bootcamp, James researched bootcamps in Nashville and chose NSS for it’s focused, structured experience that would make him hireable as a developer in six months. Since NSS is one of the few bootcamps in the country approved to accept the GI Bill, James was able to use the education benefit he earned in the service to attend NSS.

James’s favorite part of the bootcamp was the group projects. He enjoyed working with other students and learning from each other on how to solve problems. Talking through those problems enhanced his learning experience. His biggest road block was time…specifically not having enough of it! James shared, “NSS teaches us how to deal with tight timeframes when working on getting projects finished.” He went on to encourage future students to not to procrastinate their daily exercises.

For his front-end capstone, James built an app called Save Your Beer. Users can search for beers, save them, and view beers that other users have saved. Users can also share pictures of their favorite beers. James challenged himself to learn an additional JavaScript framework architecture and built the app with Ionic 2 and Angular 2.

James’s back-end capstone is an app called uBudget. It allows users to create their own budgets, name them, and track expenses. The budgets can also be viewed as pie charts. He built the app with React, Redux, React Router v4, Node, and Express.

Currently, James is refactoring and improving his back-end capstone and plans to add a few features to his front-end capstone.

Listen to James’s interview with Clark Buckner about his journey and check out James’s profile.

Luke Schuyler


Luke was a part of a band, but found himself working 40 hours a week in mindless jobs to pay the bills. He decided that he wanted to find more meaningful work and his brother, an NSS grad, suggested software development.

Luke also found his biggest challenge during the bootcamp to be time. He explained that he expects to encounter this fast-pace as a “real-life” developer and appreciated the opportunity to practice time management. His advice for future students? “If you know what is being covered in class the next day, go ahead and do a quick tutorial on the subject,” said Luke. “It will kick start your comprehension and you will be a step ahead.”

Luke’s favorite part of the his experience was building relationships with fellow students and growing together into a community of developers.

Being in a band prepared me for working with a team of software developers.

For his front-end capstone, Luke built a mobile group app aimed at defusing communication and scheduling issues between band members. It’s easy for band members to get their schedules mixed up for rehearsals or gigs. This app ensures that everyone has the correct day and time. Luke built it using the Ionic framework with the Firebase Realtime database.

Luke’s back-end capstone is an inventory management platform created with React, React-Native, Node.JS/Express, and Postgres. The mobile app (React-Native) allows a user to scan products and upload the information to review and edit in a table format on the web app (React). The user can also add products through the Amazon Product Advertising API on the web app. Luke liked working with React and making a project that had some cross-platform functionalities.

Luke enjoys managing data with a front-end that doesn’t interfere with what the user sees. He is currently working on version two of his back-end capstone and learning Ruby.

Listen to Luke’s interview with Clark Buckner about his capstones and check out Luke’s profile.

Michael Tambornino

Michael was a solar technician and was ready for a job where he could stay engaged. He discovered, “there is a career where you are constantly learning, growing, and being challenged.” That career? A software developer. Michael had heard great things about NSS from others who had attended the program. He shared, “I loved the vibe and energy I felt when I visited for my interview.”

Michael’s favorite part of the six-month bootcamp? Getting stuck on something.

I always made the largest leaps in learning and comprehension when I had to figure out a problem, either with classmates, teachers, or on my own.

Most fantasy football decisions come down to deciding between two players, so Michael created his front-end capstone to compare two players side-by-side. The app, called Juxtaposition, pulls all of the data together in one place so the user can make an informed decision and hopefully win their league. The app uses multiple APIs, including the NFL API, to pull player stats and was built with JavaScript, AngularJS, ChartJS, jQuery, and Materialize CSS.

Michael is also a freelance musician and studied voice in college, so when it came time to plan his back-end capstone, he wanted to create something music related. Ensemble, is a social media app that brings freelance professional musicians together. Ensemble is a mashup between Linkedin and Craigslist and allows musicians to connect and facilitate collaborations. Users can search for fellow local musicians and invite them to a gig. Ensemble is a full-stack web app built with Node.JS, Express, AngularJS, Bootstrap, PostgreSQL, and Knex/Bookshelf ORM.

We have a lot of musicians come through bootcamp. In sharing about the connection between music and development, Michael said that software development is all about languages. And music is a language. It both software development and music, you use the tools at your disposal to express different things. In coding that’s the various languages, syntax, and expressions. In music, it’s different instruments, which can be altered to make different sounds, or played with different expressions.

Michael is currently learning React and further studying Node on a deeper level. He’s also strengthening his JavaScript skills with Code Wars, You Don’t know JS, and Wes Bos courses.

Listen to Michael’s interview with Clark Buckner about his experience at NSS and check out Michael’s profile.

James, Luke, and Michael have found a career that will give them the mental challenge they’ve been seeking. There will always be new languages and technologies to learn.

Are you having trouble deciding if you want to shift to a new career? Check out the book Mindshift which is recommended by our founder, John Wark.

Be sure to listen to all of the graduates talk to our friend, Clark Buckner, about their journey into development and about their experience at NSS.

Check out all of the recent grads on the Cohort 17 class website.

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