Thomas McCracken: From Systems Analyst to Software Programmer

This is a Guest Post by Thomas McCracken, a graduate from our Atlanta Front End Development Cohort.

After working for six years as a Systems Analyst, I decided that what I really wanted to do is software development, and, more specifically, front-end development for web applications.

I looked at many options including costly and long graduate programs at college and online classes that are hard to commit time to, but ultimately The Iron Yard was the best place for me, and it has been one of the best decisions of my career and life.

thomas-mccrackenMaking a large commitment of your time and money is never easy. It was especially difficult for me as my girlfriend and I had just became new parents that spring, but after researching several options, looking at what the Iron Yard offered, and meeting with the Front-End instructor, Tim Whitacre, I knew that The Iron Yard was the perfect place for me and that I had to go into the program.

My time at The Iron Yard was amazing. I learned more in that 12 weeks than I knew I was capable of. It was a lot of work and required a huge commitment but the reward has really been worth it. The instructor was a JavaScript guru and was totally dedicated to helping the students succeed and understand programming. My classmates were all incredibly talented and from all sorts of backgrounds. I really cherish meeting them all and the little time we had together.

I had a little knowledge of programming and development before joining The Iron Yard but was never fully confident that I could do it for a career. After finishing the program, I was fully confident with my skills and that I could begin working as a front-end developer and learn whatever web technology I needed in order to succeed. The Iron Yard didn’t teach me everything there is to know—that’s clearly impossible to do in 12 weeks much less several years—but it gave me a starting point so that I could learn new languages, frameworks, or any other concept in software development.

After graduation, I started a great job here in Atlanta as a User Interface Engineer with SolTech, which I first became acquainted with at an Iron Yard Hackathon. SolTech offers technology solutions to businesses in the Atlanta area and has incredibly talented developers, project managers, and architects. The Iron Yard makes relationships with companies like SolTech that value and support their developers so that students who graduate from The Iron Yard have industry connections and are able to get into the workplace.

Without The Iron Yard, I know I not only could not have gotten this personal connection to be interviewed, but I also would not have the skills to succeed in the technical reviews.

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About John Saddington

trying to win the internet.