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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 fascinated with computers and technology for a long time. As a teenager, he set up emulators on his computer and always wondered how everything worked behind the pixels. He wanted to study coding but with a double-major in Economics and Communications, he didn’t have time to fit in college programming classes, and didn’t feel that he would be successful in them. After earning his degree from Wisconsin, he worked in sales and customer service at several companies...but found his way back to programming. Grant had heard about coding bootcamps but decided to learn on his own first, and realized there was only so far he could go with self-teaching. Nevertheless, he “made it happen at Actualize and [doesn’t] regret it one bit.”

Grant was drawn to Actualize from its reputation and the ability to attend a boot camp while still working full time. Looking back, “I really liked learning about Ruby, Rails, Computer Science, and JavaScript; but most of all, I really enjoyed applying those concepts in my Capstone project.” With one month left in the bootcamp, Grant’s other job ended and he reached out to the Actualize Career Advisor for guidance. He focused on finding a new job as soon as possible after Actualize graduation. That effort paid off: he received an offer for a Technical Support Engineer position at Oracle after about a month of applying.

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 and whenever there’s an issue with their system I’m 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 when I have time during the day.” Aside from concepts and practices he’ll use on a daily basis in his role at Oracle, Grant appreciates everything he learned at Actualize - “I overhear people talking about issues they’re working on, and when they mentioning “What’s the JavaScript doing? Why isn’t this saving to the database? What’s this value in the array?’ I think, ‘Huh, I actually understand what they’re saying - that’s pretty cool, knowing what all that technical talk means.”

Grant also incorporates 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, skills like being able to write well and communicate are always going to be valuable in this line of work.”

Grant’s advice for prospective boot camp attendees is simple: “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 succeed at a bootcamp. Just be ready to work hard at it. If it’s something you’re really interested in, 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. Especially if you’re already Googling coding boot camps and reading articles, definitely start teaching yourself, and once you realize you enjoy that, then do the boot camp.” As far as which bootcamp? Grant says, “Actualize, of course! It’s definitely one of the best decisions I've ever made.”

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