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From Legal Assistant to Senior Backend Developer.

My name is Spencer Bray, I’m 33 years old from Portland, Oregon. Before Le Wagon, I was working for Amazon in Seattle as a legal assistant handling governmental requests for data. I decided to learn to code because I wanted to build something tangible, that will exist beyond when I leave the company.

Featuring graduate Spencer Bray Back-end Developer in Finiata More about Spencer
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Working on my own without outside help was a great way to get started, but I wanted to find the community and structure that could help me achieve my ultimate goal - a career change from the legal field into software development.

My name is Spencer Bray, I’m 33 years old from Portland, Oregon. Before Le Wagon, I was working for Amazon in Seattle as a legal assistant handling governmental requests for data.  Additionally, I did some freelance photography work, and worked for a few bands on tour doing merchandise and logistics.

I began to learn to code before Le Wagon - relatively simple things on many of the free websites out there. For anyone thinking about doing a bootcamp like Le Wagon, I strongly suggest taking the initiative and learning the very basics before diving in. I was very glad I discovered I liked to code before joining Le Wagon, even though I found it difficult and frustrating at first.

I decided to join Le Wagon because I hit the borders for what I was able to learn independently. Working on my own without outside help was a great way to get started, but I wanted to find the community and structure that could help me achieve my ultimate goal - a career change from the legal field into software development.
Batch #65 Berlin
My motivation came from the belief that if I put in the work, I would be able to change my career. 

The sense of community with other students, how well the lessons were paced and planned, and the quality of the internal tools for learning are all things that stood out to me during my experience at Le Wagon. Even though it was hard, every day felt like I was given a set of new puzzles to solve with my problem-solving-toolkit, and every day I acquired a new tool. Honestly, it was a lot of fun, because I like to solve problems.

My product in the last two weeks was a mobile-first webapp to give teachers who didn’t have access to a computer, but did have a internet-enabled smartphone, the capability to take attendance and keep a gradebook, with a UI designed with a small screen in mind. It was an interesting project, and something that I would like to come back to sometime in the future.

My motivation came from the belief that if I put in the work, I would be able to change my career.  This experience was very demanding. It required a lot of time and energy, but I was doing it for me - not for anyone else.

Demo Night
I worked hard to get to where I am today, but it was not magic. I put in the work - learn, learn, learn.

Finding someone to hire me after the bootcamp honestly was not that hard. I checked AngelList, went on some interviews, failed some miserably, then was hired as a junior backend freelancer. This company went on to hire me full time as a backend developer. During my job search, I focused not on the fact that I had done this bootcamp, but that I now possessed the skills that would provide value for an employer to hire me as a Junior Developer.  I demonstrated those skills, and someone gave me a shot.

I am now a Senior Backend Developer at a fin-tech startup called Finiata. I was promoted to Senior last week, just about 2 years after finishing with Le Wagon. I’m currently working on asynchronous event-driven architecture, with a Rails backend and Apache Kafka to drive our events (here’s a cool article,  - If you had told me that sentence two years ago, I would have looked at you with a blank stare and confusion.)

I worked hard to get to where I am today, but it was not magic. I put in the work - learn, learn, learn. I was always looking for what I could learn from my classmates, from my TA’s, from my teachers, and now from my co-workers and bosses. I wasn’t afraid to ask questions, or say “I don’t know the answer, but let me try to figure it out.”

Believe in yourself, do your best, and you’ll be fine. (…and just like code, it’s probably not gonna work the first time. Refactor, and try again.)


Batch #65 Berlin
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