How Marcel Thiemann Used a Coding Boot Camp to Advance His Career in Digital Product Management

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Early last year, Marcel Thiemann left the San Francisco Bay Area and settled in Toronto, where his partner had just landed a new job. With an entire continent separating him from his previous home on the West Coast, Marcel didn’t waste time getting to know his new terrain. He picked up right where he left off — and continued building his tech skills at the UofT SCS Coding Boot Camp.

Marcel’s new coding skills helped him land a job in a brand new city in under two months. If you’re interested in product management, Marcel’s path demonstrates what it takes to build a successful career in this competitive field. 

Starting fresh

Marcel had always been set on a career in the tech industry as a digital product manager, and the Bay Area wasn’t short of opportunities. However, Marcel suddenly found himself 3,000 miles away from the center of the tech world. It was a tough spot to be in so early in his career, but as it turns out, the move couldn’t have come at a better time. 

“I was in a space where I wanted to start fresh,” said Marcel. “I was in between opportunities, so I had a good chance to hit the pause button.” Rather than look at the move as a roadblock in his career, Marcel seized the opportunity to reinvent himself — and become more competitive in his field. “I didn’t really know how the post-pandemic job market would play out, and I wanted to ramp up my tech skills before diving back into work,” he said.

Finding the right skills for the job 

As a digital product manager, coding isn’t exactly part of the job description. But great product leads have diverse skill sets enabling them to step into the shoes of any team member at any stage of product development. In order to lead a team of developers, Marcel knew that he would have to speak their language. When he noticed that a coding boot camp right down the road offered at the University of Toronto SCS was offering full-time, online classes, Marcel saw it as a quick, cost-effective way to pick up career-defining skills. 

“Thanks to the skills I picked up in the boot camp, I can now have eye-to-eye conversations with the development team,” shared Marcel. “I can gauge technical decisions, evaluate code, and explain it all to clients in a way they’ll understand. Without the hands-on experience, I wouldn’t be able to do any of those things. It’s really awesome — but it also sets me apart from the average product manager.” 

Never a doubt

Before enrolling in the boot camp, Marcel had almost no hands-on coding experience. When asked about jumping into the coding boot camp without any foundational skills, Marcel said, “It will get hard — especially if you’re a novice — and there will even be moments where you probably will want to just walk away.” When trying to make it in any field, however, it’s how you react to the toughest moments that define future success. “I never doubted it,” shared Marcel. “It was challenging, but it was challenging for a reason. I still look back with a positive view, because you get to bond with other people who are struggling in the same way — and you get to learn hard tech skills that will set you up for success.” 

Turning new skills into a new career 

After successfully completing UofT SCS Coding Boot Camp, Marcel faced an even bigger challenge: landing a job in a new city without any connections. With his enhanced skill set, finding the right fit would be easier, but there was still the matter of getting his foot in the door. 

“One of the most important things for me was the one-on-one career sessions with career services. That was one of the main reasons I chose the program to begin with.” said Marcel. “I was new to the Canadian job market, but it was so much easier with the career support. The career sessions also helped me make real connections. It’s about expressing a real passion for the field — not just asking directly for a job.” 

Marcel completed the program at the end of last summer. After job searching for almost two months, he landed a job as a digital product lead at a B2B software studio. “I love my new job and company,” he shared. “I wanted to go into an area where I could shape software solutions, and now I’m able to do just that.” 

Moving forward, Marcel wants to stay on the technical product management trail; UofT SCS Coding Boot Camp cleared the way. “I think I’m a better and more versatile product person on account of the skills that I picked up in the boot camp,” concluded Marcel. “More than anything, the boot camp sparked an interest in continuous learning — which definitely sets you up for success.” 

Looking to find success of your own? Explore UofT SCS Boot Camps today. 

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