Alumni Stories: Jumpstart Showed Me That I Could Succeed at LEARN

After years of experience in a particular industry, acquiring new knowledge and skills to enter a different field may feel overwhelming and possibly even futile. Starting from scratch can be daunting, and you may wonder if it’s even worth the effort. We know how relevant this is to our students, so we wanted to invite you along as we delve into the firsthand experience of a recent graduate, Monica Arganda.


Tell us about you! What were you doing before LEARN, and what was the catalyst that set you on this path?

Before LEARN, I worked in the front office at a Pediatric Dental office. I handled tasks such as verifying insurance, making/scheduling appointments, and other administrative duties. I decided to make this big pivot in my career due to my desire to learn. I have family members who are software developers. Through them, I learned about different tech stacks, what daily life as a developer can look like, and how much they love what they do. Getting this exposure to the tech world was so helpful. My cousin recommended LEARN to me; he had heard nothing but good things, which prompted me to do my research.


What were you expecting coming into the weekend program, and what surprised you about the experience?  

I was very nervous coming into the Jumpstart weekend bootcamp. I had no idea what to expect since I was completely new to coding. I was shocked by how welcoming the environment was set up by the LEARN staff. It made me feel comfortable in the new space I joined, making me want to dive in and participate in the ongoing discussions. I was also surprised with how much I learned; the instructors made the curriculum understandable, which was shocking because I had no previous coding knowledge.


What was your biggest takeaway – this can be coding-specific or more abstract!

My biggest takeaway from the Jumpstart bootcamp was within a short period of time, I proved to myself that I can and will be able to learn coding in this environment. I was very skeptical in the beginning. I was still determining if I could grasp the information and put it into practice without previous knowledge. After the bootcamp, I understood that this learning style worked for me, and I was also comforted in knowing that I was not the only person weighing their options in a new career. I felt confident with the LEARN staff that I could become a good developer, and they could teach me something new to the point that I could pursue a career in coding.


What has your path been like since Jumpstart?

I took the Jumpstart Bootcamp in August 2022 and signed up for the full-time cohort a couple of months later, in November 2022. It was a rocky path to make sure that this was something I wanted to do before committing. That time involved a lot of decision-making and weighing out my options. Financially I was not ready to start immediately after Jumpstart hence the three-month gap. After deliberating over my options, I chose to invest in myself. I knew it might be challenging, but my hard work would eventually pay off.


How did LEARN stand out to you amongst all of the available programs?

LEARN Academy stood out to me for many reasons, mainly because of the internship offered during the 4-month intensive bootcamp. Getting actual work experience was something I placed a lot of importance on. To succeed in my personal development, I need stepping stones. LEARN offered me exactly that. With the internship, I would gain professional experience in a company that would provide me with the necessary tools to further my success when looking for a career. With the internship came a mentor who provided the guidance and structure I sought.


Any advice for folks considering making the leap and taking the program?

I say do it – this is a great program to leap with; they genuinely care about everyone’s learning journey and mental well-being. LEARN offers more than just the curriculum; they also come with a community. This element has allowed me to make more connections than I ever expected, from classmates to instructors to actual business owners. The tools and fundamentals they engrave throughout will take you far in your professional development; their mission is to prepare the students as much as possible to get them ready for their future careers. I can’t imagine attending a different program.


What advice for people who have signed up and are about to begin the program?

Remember to be easy on yourself; coding is entirely new for many. Rarely will students feel confident in their coding ability, and that’s okay; it’s part of the experience. Always remember why you wanted to be a web developer in the first place and look to that when the imposter syndrome hits. Use your resources; your classmates are in the same position as you, and the instructors are there, so use them. Celebrate your wins, no matter how small, AND ALWAYS TAKE BREAKS!!


Planning, as Monica did, is an effective way to prepare for a significant transition in life. Having a plan and support system gives you much more resilience to navigate challenging situations so that you can maximize this opportunity to learn new skills and forge a new career. Our Jumpstart program is the quickest way to gain firsthand experience of what it’s like to learn how to code with us at LEARN. It’s a short taste of our full-time program – our instructors teach it, and often our current students are the teaching assistants. It’s an invaluable chance to get reassurance in your next steps and network with some of our community members. Whether you’re interested in joining one of the many tech workers near Technology Square in Atlanta, GA, or looking to join a startup in the booming biotech scene in San Diego, sign up for Jumpstart to learn some fundamentals and test out the waters!