Ari Gonzalez: From Event Manager to Software Developer

From time to time we like to share the exciting “stories in the making” and allow you to get to know more about current students and graduates. From this vantage you can learn more about where they’ve come from and where they are going.

We hope their stories inspire you to think much bigger about your career in software and technology!

This is Ari Gonzalez’ story.

ariWhat were you doing before The Iron Yard?

Prior to the Iron Yard I spent 5 years in New York as an Event Manager for private/corporate events. I would handle all of the logistics for travel, transportation, entertainment and any other crazy request that may come up…and there were plenty!

Although I was good at what I was doing and worked for an amazing company, it wasn’t my passion. I didn’t spend hours researching the latest trends and news in the field and because of this, I knew it wasn’t the right path for me.

I came home (to Orlando) to reset my life and go down the path that felt right. I knew that was SOMETHING to do with technology but I didn’t know exactly what. I started attending Orlando Tech Association events and it was here that I first heard about The Iron Yard.

I never considered myself to have the patience to be a coder and thought I would have to settle for Project Manager. I now realize that was just an excuse, and that’s thanks to The Iron Yard!

What made you ultimately decide on attending The Iron Yard?

I had a friend in DC that had attended a bootcamp in Chicago and had changed his life around so the model was familiar to me. I was confident that if he was able to learn so much so quickly, that I would be able to as well.

The first time I heard about it I thought it wasn’t for me and that I wouldn’t be able to do/afford it. I am a person that believes that the universe will guide you and as I continually heard more about The Iron Yard and did more research, I learned about the school and the instructor and it felt like a very safe bet.

I had my informational interview with the Campus Director and her enthusiasm for what I was doing with my life was the final deciding factor to empty out my savings and take a chance. I’m so glad I did!

What are you doing / where are you now?

Currently I have more jobs than I have time!

I’m working as a Teaching Assistant at The Iron Yard Orlando’s Ruby on Rails class, I’m working as an Angular Developer at a local startup, I’m working on a freelance project for a web app, and I’m building my own personal toy; I’m learning more about the language we focused on in my cohort (javascript, of course) and how versatile it is.

I’m working on a mirror that will give you a HUD of sorts showing the time, weather, forecast, and a twitter stream right on the mirror without being distracting or obstructing the reflection!

It’s been a lot of fun building this personal project because it’s putting into action what I’ve learned in a way that is making people respond with ‘wow…!’

Also, outside of those projects I spend most of my time reading dev/tech news and listening to podcasts.

Any final thoughts, things you’d like to share with the audience?

Thank you for coming to Orlando! I grew up here and left as soon as I could because Orlando had nothing but Mickey Mouse and I wanted to see more. In the 5 years I was gone the city grew up and started nurturing a great tech community.

I think the inclusion of The Iron Yard has solidified Orlando as a Tech City! I’m so happy I took the risk and gambled on The Iron Yard.

It’s paid off in more ways than I can describe, so Thank You!

You can find more about Ari here:

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About John Saddington

trying to win the internet.