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Actualize Blog

January 11, 2019

Success Story: Grant’s Switch from Sales & Customer Service to Technical Support Engineer

By Jay Wengrow, CEO of Actualize

Grant Kazan has been interested in coding and computers for a long time - since he was a teenager. He set up emulators on his computer and always wondered how computers and video games worked behind the pixels. However, with a double-major in Economics and Communications, he didn’t have time to fit in any programming classes, and didn’t feel at the time that he would be able to be successful in them. After his degree, he found jobs in sales and customer service at several companies...and found his way back to programming. Grant had heard about coding bootcamps but figured he should try and learn on his own first, and realized there was only so far self-teaching would work for him. Grant “made it happen with the bootcamp and [doesn’t] regret it one bit.”

Grant was drawn to Actualize from its reputation and the ability to attend a bootcamp part-time while still working. Looking back, “I really liked learning about Ruby, Rails, and also some of the Computer Science concepts I found really interesting. I also loved learning JavaScript and also learning how software development has changed over the years and why certain frameworks and practices are in place today.” But most of all, “I was really proud of my Capstone; I liked how it turned out, and getting it to the finish point and showing it off at the presentation at the end.”

With one month left to go in the bootcamp, Grant’s other job ended. Grant met with the Career Advisor for guidance and put in the extra time he now had into finding a job as soon as possible after graduation. That effort paid off: He received an offer for a Technical Support Engineer position at Oracle.

When we spoke to Grant, he was still in training to work on Oracle’s Configure Price Quote Platform, and once he’s finished, he’ll “be assigned accounts: businesses and enterprises that have the platform and whenever there’s an issue with their system we’re their first line of contact, seeing what’s going on with their code and diagnosing issues and recommending what they need to do to get it working again.” As part of his job, Grant is excited for “opportunities for self-learning as well. Oracle has tons of educational resources in all different types of technologies, and that’s something I’ll be taking advantage of and doing when I have time during the day.” In addition to working through his training, Grant appreciates in other ways what he learned from Actualize - “I overhear people talking about issues they’re working on, and they’re mentioning ‘What’s the JavaScript doing? Why isn’t this saving to the database? What’s this value in the array?’ and I’m like ‘Huh, I actually understand what they’re saying - that’s pretty cool, I know what that means.”

Grant finds benefits from incorporating his previous experience into his new position as well. “You can always pull something from any experience that you’ve had in the past. There’s definitely good experiences that I’ve had from my time in school and all the jobs that I’ve had before. And, [especially] other skills, like being able to write well and communicate are always going to be valuable in this line of work.”

Grant also has some advice for people considering a coding bootcamp: “Do it. Just do it. Start teaching yourself first, and stick with it for a while, and it doesn’t matter if you make something really cool or you really figure it out. As long as you enjoy making something work on the computer with code and you enjoy doing that for a long period of time, you can probably do a bootcamp. Just be ready to work hard at it, but if it’s something you’re really interested in, I guess it’s not going to feel like work; you’ll enjoy it. I still believe that anyone can learn how to code and can make that transition into a new career."

“ff someone’s already Googling coding bootcamps and reading the articles and things like that, definitely start teaching yourself, and once you realize you enjoy that, then do the bootcamp. It’s definitely one of the best decisions I've ever made.”

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