If you could be the best at anything, what would it be?
Ever since Gabriel Macey was a kid, he had a clear answer to that question: coding.
Gabriel studied biology and theology in college, then went to school to become a chiropractor. Unfortunately, he developed a norovirus that prevented him from continuing his education, so he moved back home to recover and figure out his next move.
Eager to finally pursue his lifelong interest in coding, Gabriel started researching different programming courses. He completed online data science classes from Coursera and obtained a certificate from IBM before coming across an ad for Penn Data Science Boot Camp. He enrolled, and was on his way to becoming the world-class coder he always wanted to be.
Choosing a direction and seeing it through
Gabriel was drawn to the boot camp by the promise of job security since data roles are routinely in high demand. He was also intrigued by the networking opportunities available to participants during the program.
“At first, I was contemplating whether or not I wanted to spend money on a boot camp,” he said. “Then I thought, if I get a job that pays really well afterward, it’s definitely worth the investment.”
For the first three months, Gabriel attended the boot camp while also working full-time. After that, he left his job to be fully immersed in the program for the final three months.
“I felt like I was decent at the things I was learning, but I knew if I could put more time into it I’d become really good,” he said.
Gabriel enjoyed the boot camp’s group projects because they taught him how to work with — and learn from — others.
“At first I thought I would hate it, since I’d rather just work by myself,” he said. “In the end, I liked the camaraderie. I liked seeing everyone’s different skills, because we all have strengths but might struggle with other concepts. That’s where a teammate can be really beneficial.”
When the learner becomes the teacher
Gabriel touched up his resume well before the boot camp ended, then kicked his job search into high gear as the program neared completion, regularly meeting with his career counselor.
Four weeks after completing the program, Gabriel started receiving job offers. Today, he is a reporting and analytics manager for Genoa Bank, located in Genoa, Ohio. He loves being able to code each day at work and being presented with problems that he can fix.
“The boot camp really helped me change the course of my life,” said Gabriel. “I went from not really having any direction to understanding exactly which fields I want to — and can — work in.”
Paying it forward
Since completing the boot camp, Gabriel has encouraged his brother to enroll in one as well and is currently having the same conversations with his brother-in-law. On top of that, he is now a tutor for current boot camp participants and loves being able to relive what he learned in the program.
“I find so much enjoyment in tutoring and watching people learn and grow,” he said. “It’s a constant reminder for me about how codes work and how they line up with each other, and it’s just a really cool experience to be able to work with people currently taking the boot camp.”
Gabriel has tons of advice for people interested in pursuing the boot camp, or for people who are currently in one. Most of all, he encourages prospective learners to just do it — then stick with it.
“The end is right around the corner. It’ll be there before you know it. Focus on the tasks in front of you and spend some extra time outside of class learning,” he said. “You’ll realize how worth it it really is.”
Interested in making a career change? Explore Penn Boot Camps in data, fintech, digital marketing, and more.