From Running Drills to Running Code: How This Personal Trainer Became a Web Development Pro

As a personal trainer, Jacob Carver worked 12- to 16-hour days, six days a week. His demanding schedule left him with very little time to spend with his four-year-old daughter — and he wanted to change that.

Eager to achieve better work-life balance, Jacob set his sights on a career that would allow him to work from home. 

He came across jobs in technology that fit his interests, but didn’t have the background needed to apply. After a few days of surfing the web, Jacob saw an ad for UC Davis Coding Boot Camp and decided it was exactly what he needed to change careers.

Being challenged inside and outside of the boot camp 

When classes first began, Jacob started his days at the gym, then went straight to the boot camp. There wasn’t much time left to study outside of class — but once gyms shut down in response to COVID-19, Jacob was able to focus more on the curriculum. 

“It was a blessing and a curse in my situation, because I wouldn’t have been able to learn as much as I did if I was still working so many hours a day at the gym,” he said.

Although this was a plus, Jacob was also out of a job and had to apply for unemployment, which he didn’t start receiving until months later. He wound up having to stay with family and friends while completing the boot camp. 

“It was a struggle to complete the boot camp while moving around and trying to find someone to watch my daughter while I was in class or studying,” he said. “But I knew there was no other option. I had to make it work, so I just kept going until I did.” 

From student to teacher 

Despite these obstacles, Jacob had a great educational experience at the boot camp — thanks in large part to the supportive faculty. 

“The boot camp is hard, and I think people go into it without really expecting what it ends up being like,” he said. “If I didn’t have tutors, I don’t think I would’ve gotten through the boot camp successfully.”

Jacob always planned to become a tutor after completing the boot camp — and upon graduating, he was hired right away. In this role, he was able to share everything he’d learned from his experience in the boot camp with current students. 

“There’s a lot of anxiety that comes from not understanding what the instructors are saying,” he said. “I tell students to just roll with the verbiage and accept it. Once the boot camp is over, they can revisit anything that was confusing before.”

Aside from gaining technical skills, Jacob also learned how to solve problems more effectively. He describes himself as a conversationalist who’s able to figure people out easily, but he lacked an analytical approach to problem-solving prior to the boot camp. 

“With coding, you’re combining algebra and English, storing values, and assigning variables to find a solution,” he said. “Now when I look at any problem in life, I’m able to understand all the pieces at play and figure out what to tweak to solve it.”

Looking toward a fulfilling future 

In addition to tutoring, Jacob landed a full-time job at an engineering facility. After two months working there, he was able to move into a spacious apartment with his daughter. He now works in tech support at a software solutions company called Intellaegis, where he’s taking full advantage of the API skills he learned in the boot camp. 

He’s also completing a degree in computer science and finishing a project centered around remote learning.

“I started the project in the boot camp, but it’s a long-term project that I want to finish,” he said. “The boot camp is what provided me with the ability to do it on my own.”

Jacob plans on pursuing a master’s and doctorate in education technology, with the ultimate goal of becoming a professor. For now, he looks forward to having a career that allows him to work in web development while leaving lots of time to spend with his daughter.

Looking for a career change that better suits your lifestyle? Check out courses in coding, data analytics, cybersecurity, and digital marketing with UC Davis Boot Camps

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