From Sommelier to Talent Success Manager: How Diana Daghlas Transformed Her Career


Diana Daghlas entered the food and beverage industry as a hostess, and quickly worked her way up the ladder — becoming a sommelier, beverage manager, then the director of operations for a restaurant in Detroit. There, she was exposed to various aspects of tech, whether it was working with back end data provisions or learning how to generate sales reports. As much as she enjoyed the food and beverage sector, she found herself wanting to explore more of what the tech industry had to offer.

In March 2020, Diana learned that her restaurant was shutting down. Despite the disruption in her career, she realized that it gave her the time to explore new opportunities.

“I had a lot of interest in the tech field, and a bit of background in Adobe Suite, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript,” she said. “But without any guidance, I reached a threshold. There was no defined roadmap to success.”

One day, Diana came across a LinkedIn ad for MSU Coding Boot Camp. Intent on gaining the technical and conceptual skills needed to get ahead, she eagerly enrolled in the program. “My goal has always been to help people in some shape or form,” said Diana. “This was an opportunity to do that through tech.”

Adapting to transformative change

In the boot camp, Diana dove into the MERN stack, which is a framework that consists of MongoDB, Express, React, and Node. Studying everything from Javascript, HTML, and CSS to more complex concepts and tools, she found herself thriving in the boot camp’s fast-paced learning environment.

“Humans are creatures of habit, and we don’t always like trying new things,” Diana explained. “But the boot camp was transformative for me. It gave me a real opportunity to pursue and live out change.”

When it came to completing her projects, Diana hit a few challenges — such as learning how to refactor a Google API search engine on a different server. She and her cohort were tasked with understanding where, how, and why issues arise, and they had to determine whether solutions should be implemented on the back end or front end.

“Working with pre-made code can easily get overwhelming,” said Diana. “But it’s a common practice in the industry, so I knew I had to get exposed to it.”

For Diana’s favorite assignment, she and her classmates deployed a competitive sports app called Game On. Unlike with the Google API project, they had to build the product from scratch — and doing so wound up being a very fulfilling experience.

Diana was responsible for working on the back end as the project manager. She helped figure out how the app was linked, why certain functions failed to work, and how scores were being tallied. It was an intensive yet rewarding project that not only demonstrated her progress as an aspiring tech professional, but also taught her the importance of collaborating with a community.

Embracing a new chapter

In order to prepare for successful employment, Diana made sure to update her resume, develop a professional portfolio, and polish her LinkedIn profile. She knew that the job search presented its own set of challenges, as people could apply to hundreds of positions and never receive a response. However, just as she persevered through the boot camp, she jumped into the job application process knowing her future career would be worth her efforts.

Diana is now a talent success manager for Smoothstack, an IT company that helps professionals kickstart their tech careers. “Smoothstack is a talent accelerator that elevates entry-level tech candidates and gives them the opportunity to stand out in a competitive market,” she explained.

Just as MSU Coding Boot Camp provided Diana with the resources needed to excel, Diana now helps other people embarking on similar career journeys. When reflecting on her own experience, Diana advises aspiring boot camp students to prepare to put in their full effort and commitment.

“Don’t give up, and don’t get discouraged,” she says. “Nothing good comes easy — so always try to go the extra mile in your learning.”

Considering making a life-changing career pivot? Explore MSU Boot Camps in coding, data analytics, cybersecurity, and digital marketing to get started.


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