After Quitting His Job, Relocating, and Completing a Coding Boot Camp, Steven Dytewski Finally Landed in the Right Place
Early on in his career, Steven Dytewski interned as an electronic technician. While in this role, he asked one of the senior engineers at the company for some advice on what career path to pursue. This mentor suggested software development. However, at the time, Steven wasn’t that interested in programming—and chose to ignore this suggestion.
A year later, Steven moved from California to Oregon and began working full-time as an electronic technician, doing hands-on repairs for barcode scanners. Not long after, he began to feel stuck in his career. That’s when he recalled the advice he was given during his internship—and decided to get into programming.
Steven studied programming on his own for more than a year, but it was a struggle. He began to yearn for a classroom setting that could help him advance at a much quicker pace. A coding boot camp fit the bill. Steven enrolled in The Coding Boot Camp at UC San Diego Extension, quit his job, and moved back to California.
Making the most of each day—and every opportunity
The boot camp was three months long, full-time, and Steven packed as much as he possibly could into each day. By the end of boot camp, he felt like everything he learned led up to his final group project. Steven and his group built a car-repair forum that provided information about automotive maintenance. The user inputs their car make, model, and year, and the program generates the milestones for each repair service it will need. Steven was in charge of building the search bar and search engine for the application, and he spent four hours sitting with his TA, John Desrosiers, to perfect it.
“After we completed our final project, I felt like I had climbed a mountain,” said Steven. “We integrated everything we learned over the course of three months, and I felt so accomplished. I relocated from a different state to do this; I sat in California traffic every day to make it to class—and it was all worth it.”
After this triumph, there was still yet another mountain to climb. Steven was fully in the throes of his job search. He met regularly with Kim Black, his career coach, to figure out exactly what he wanted to do—and how to find a job doing it.
Searching for an exciting job, and doing the work to land it
To Steven, the job search was almost just as transformative as the boot camp itself. “After I completed boot camp, my goal was to apply to at least one job a day. I’d fill out an application and then note any updates in a job-searching spreadsheet I created,” he said. He went to hackathons, code wars, meet-ups, and more than one boot camp demo day.
This was Steven’s life for six months—and he stuck to his regimen. “I moved from grey Oregon to sunny southern California, and even though it was hard to think of everyone surfing at the beach, I committed to this,” he said. Kim always kept him inspired and on track—never letting him waver in self-doubt.
Their work together helped Steven secure more than 10 interviews at various companies. He listened to every webinar he could, and he never turned down an opportunity to hone his job-searching skills. Whether it was networking at meet-ups or just adding a few new keywords into his resume, Steven and Kim were constantly refining their strategy.
“We were essentially playing this game called ‘Hire me’,” he said. “My great grandfather came to America from Poland, and he would stand by the boats on the harbor, repeating over and over again, ‘Mr. Boss, please give me a job.’ That’s where he started, and that’s where I was starting, except I was doing it with this amazing, complex, advanced technology.”
Staying motivated—and zen—throughout the process
Throughout the entire process, Steven kept his calm. As someone who practices meditation and follows Buddhist philosophy, he worked hard to remain zen—and not to let stress or frustration get to him.
Before the final interview for his now-role, Steven went into a Buddhist temple. He reflected on his success up until that point, which was marked by staying humble and knowing when to ask for help. He’d remained persistent in his efforts without sacrificing his flexibility.
Now, Steven works as a QA Analyst at DJO Global. The boot camp has a particularly strong employer relationship with DJO, and Andrew Kumar, one of the boot camp’s director of strategic partnerships, helped to cultivate this particular employer relationship. “I believe DJO values boot camp grads because of their strong communication skills, great coding skills, and the ability to learn and apply new concepts quickly,” said Andrew.
While it’s incredibly exciting, Steven’s case isn’t rare. The industry engagement team works diligently to establish employer relationships with prominent companies—and sends out weekly newsletters to let career directors know about open roles those companies often fill with boot camp talent.
Steven’s new position is entirely remote, and it’s the icing on the cake representing everything he’s worked for. “I can live the lifestyle I’ve always dreamed of,” said Steven. “Traveling, working, and being what I went to boot camp to be: a front-end web developer.”