In an interview with SwitchUp, Coder Camps student Joseph Whittington talks about his journey, and how a scholarship from Operation Code is helping him pursue his dream of becoming a developer.
Growing up in South America, Joseph Whittington didn’t have many opportunities to use technology. It wasn’t until he became a New York high school student that his passion for all things tech became evident to him, and everyone around him. He excelled in math and science, joined the school robotics team and became the go-to-guy for friends and family who had technology questions.
After graduation, Whittington went to City College in New York as a civil engineer major. He left school after a year to join the U.S. Army. After scoring high on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude and Battery Test (ASVAB), he chose to work as a satellite equipment technician. After a year of rigorous training however, he left to serve in Kuwait. After returning state-side, Whittington has been in Fort Stewart, Georgia working as a satellite equipment technician and while it’s good work, he says, he and his team are mostly on-hand in the event something goes wrong.
Today, Whittington has just transitioned out of the Army; the military was never his long-term plan. After 3 years serving his country, he is now excited about what’s next for him. “I’m ready to do what I want to do – to pursue my passion for programming.”
As a civil engineering student at City College, electives were required and “I chose a computer science course. That was my first real introduction to programming and I learned I like being able to create custom solutions and software. There are things I’d like to do but no one has the tool for it – I love to create those tools.”
While still in the military, Whittington would take online classes when he could. As such, he is on track to earn his Associates degree in Computer Science by the end of this year. Because he is transitioning out of the military, he also got involved with Operation Code, a community organization dedicated to helping military veterans and their families launch software development careers. That’s where he was first introduced to Coder Camps.
Together with Operation Code, Coder Camps was offering a full-tuition scholarship for one military veteran. Whittington applied on a whim and, to his great surprise, won. He started online classes in Full Stack Web Development on October 2. “I had heard really good things about Coder Camps, their classes and how they teach, and was considering continuing my programming training through them. I was surprised to hear I had won the scholarship – it’s the best thing that has happened to me in a while.”
Throughout his military tenure, Whittington has continued to focus on expanding his programming knowledge by working side-projects for himself, family and friends. Ranging from a tool to organize his own hard drive to building a website for a friend’s start-up business, he’s taught himself a great deal. Now that he is out of the military, he is able to fully devote himself to his passion. “I’ve done a lot of research on how to learn the job in the field. It’s becoming harder to land a job with only college. Computer science is more about theory but when it comes to building software, people struggle to execute. Programming boot camps teach those vital skills and I want to get ahead of the curve.”
Once he completes the Full Stack Web Dev training, Whittington hopes to land a full stack developer position. He would also like to finish his Bachelors degree, and even continue his education until he reaches a PhD. “I am really interested in computer vision and how to use algorithms to recognize things.”
According to Whittington, programming requires continuous learning. “You have to keep working on it,” he said. “If you enjoy it, you’ll do really well.”
Check out the interview on SwitchUp to learn more about Joseph’s experience at Coder Camps and his advice to new bootcamp students.