How One Woman Changed Her Career with a Chicago Dev Bootcamp

I don’t like what I’m doing.

Have you had that thought?

Have you repeatedly had that thought?

I recently met someone who had that thought, took one course, and is now building an app in Chicago.

I stare at my list of all the certifications and coursework I think I need to do to have a successful career.

I took a sip of coffee, and listened to her story—her story of how making ONE change started a new career for her.

Mobile Makers iOS Software Developer Bootcamp:

Katie Schneider, iOS developer at Cliq App. Photo: Cliq App
Katie Schneider, iOS developer at Cliq App. Photo: Cliq App

Katie Schneider, front-end iOS developer at Cliq App, is a Millennial. She went to the University of Washington in Seattle for entrepreneurship, a program that allowed her to take one computer course. She quickly noticed the importance of technical knowledge.

“Entrepreneurship is synonymous with the tech world,” Schneider said, “I couldn’t have a technical conversation.”

She decided to do something about it and signed-up for an eight-week iOS software developer bootcamp at Mobile Makers in Chicago this year.

While Schneider admits, “In eight weeks you can’t expect bootcamp to turn you into an amazing developer,”  it does open opportunities.

During her graduation, she met the founders of Cliq App, a Chicago-based startup that provides an app to connect two friend groups platonically in the city.  The founder of Moblie Makers, Don Bora, who knew the founders of Cliq App created an opportunity for a graduating coding student at Mobile Makers to join a senior developer from Eight Bit Studios, a nearby workspace that Bora also founded for software developers and graphic designers. The senior developer would help the graduate build the iOS version of Cliq App.

Schneider took the job in March 2015.

“They (Cliq App) were totally on board with helping me grow,” Schneider said.

After a few months of working as a front-end iOS software developer alongside Cliq App Senior Developer, Javier Otero remotely at Eight Bit Studios, Schneider joined the team at their Cliq App Chicago office.

Cliq App: Groups of Friends Meeting New Groups of Friends:

Cliq App is an app that makes it easy for you to expand your friend group.

“When we look back at our experiences, we were with our friends,” Schneider explains that the Cliq App team helps you to find people that you want to create those experiences with.

“We [Cliq App] are trying to break new barriers of meeting people.”

Chicago-based fashion blogger, Gold Coast Girl and other Chicago blogger, Pepperminting, have recently downloaded Cliq App. Check out their blog posts for suggestions of where to go with your friends to meet new friends through the Cliq App.

Through the Cliq App, you can choose to meet up with another group of girls or a group of guys. Your group or “cliq” as it’s called on the Cliq App can be as small as two people.

Schneider and I have yet to use the app, but I’ll let you know all the details when I do.

I told Schneider the Cliq App felt like I was Cady in Mean Girls, and I was trying to find the right group of people to have lunch with. It’s a little bit less intimidating through the Cliq App because you are not alone. You still have your group of friends. But, it’s nice to spice things up and meet new people together.

Phone Pending Invite for Cliq App: Photo: Cliq App
Phone Pending Invite for Cliq App: Photo: Cliq App

Learning to Code:

“Objective-C is a pretty approachable language,” Schneider told me. “It’s not super difficult. I say that and then some days I am like, ‘why am I doing this. It is totally over my head.'”

The fact is that when you learn, it’s hard. Think about how many years you learn English grammar in middle school and high school, and then you find yourself still questioning comma placement and if Millennial has one “n” or two.

Schneider notes that the hardest part of learning is, in fact, learning.

“[I was] super aware that it takes me a longer time (than a senior developer).”

As a front-end developer, Schneider formatted the UI layout that the graphic designer worked on for Cliq App’s first version.

She also integrated Cliq App, which users log in with their Facebook profile.

Other features, like the calendar of events, are pulled from the back-end, which back-end software developer for Cliq App, Jonah Ellman, works on.

Learn How to Code: Chicago Software Developer Bootcamps:

There are many reasons to take a dev bootcamp. You may be just like Schneider and want to speak the same language as entrepreneurs and software developers. Dev bootcamps can also help you change your career for 2016 or make it easier to do your current job.

Crain’s Chicago published an article, “Should you enroll in a coding bootcamp?”  in the spring of 2015. If you have reservations about software developer bootcamps, the informative article draws upon  industry professionals including a Chicago web developer recruiter.

 “It’s such an area of demand right now that we’re finding our clients just want to see (a candidate’s) work—the portfolio and thought process—and they’re less interested in a traditional degree,” says Rosemary Walker, manager of the Chicago office of Creative Circle in an article for Crain’s Chicago, a recruiter that places Web designers and developers.

Below is a list of a few programs that can help you get your technical start in Chicago:

GA Assembly – take full-time courses for Android development, user experience design, or web development. Part-time courses are also available.

1871 – Anyone Can Learn to Code – a coding program to prepare you for entry-level web development

Mobile Makers – iOS software developer bootcamp

Girl Develop It – meet up with software developers for a low-cost way to learn about website development and coding

Do Something Different Tonight: Cliq App

The Cliq App is a new social app. Do something different tonight with your group of friends by meeting a new group of friends.

Download the Cliq App on the App Store, which is the version that Schneider helped create, or download the Cliq App on Google Play, which was outsourced, for free.

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