Meg Rydzewski had an undergraduate degree in marketing, an MBA in finance and accounting, and years of experience marketing luxury goods and working in investment management. But for decades, she harbored an interest in transitioning to technology.
For the majority of Meg’s career, this interest would’ve meant going back to square one: investing time and money in yet another degree. When the tech industry landscape began to change, developer demand grew and technical boot camps emerged — presenting her with the opportunity to make the jump into software development. Meg enrolled in GW Coding Boot Camp and never looked back. Read on to hear about her experience firsthand.
How was the day-to-day of the boot camp for you — and what were the immediate challenges?
I definitely found it challenging. The full-time boot camp required 25 hours a week in class and another 30 hours of work at home — for three months straight. The pace was brutal but necessary, and I quickly found that if I really focused and put in the suggested number of hours, it was doable. In the end, the boot camp is not about learning everything there is to know about full stack development. It’s about learning how to tackle problems, how to learn new technologies, and how to acquire the additional knowledge needed to get the job done — whatever that may be.
How were your relationships with your instructor, TAs, fellow students, and career advisor?
The instructor and TAs were knowledgeable, encouraging, and demanding — which was necessary given the demand of the program. We were repeatedly empowered to adopt a confident mindset about our skills, and our instructor helped instill that ownership in all of us. I had exceptionally patient and accessible TAs, and my fellow students were bright, friendly, enthusiastic, and hard-working. My career advisor was regularly in touch to ensure that I stayed on track with my job hunt, even after the boot camp ended.
Is there a group project that you were particularly proud of, or one that stood out to you?
My final group project was difficult but exciting. We structured it to solve a real-world problem, and we were proud of how far we got with it. Our success wasn’t just in the technology, but in the teamwork — we worked really hard to tackle problems together, and that definitely summed up the atmosphere of the boot camp as a whole.
I was on the older side of my class, so I was constantly working on projects with people in their 20s (young enough to be my children), but it was a really interesting intergenerational experience — and that held a lot of value for me.
What are you up to now, and how are you using your boot camp skills in your current role?
I’m now a developer and consultant in the federal services practice of Attain, LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in leading digital transformations. The firm appealed to me because of its strong core values, innovative spirit, and commitment to service. I utilize what I learned in the boot camp every single day.
The boot camp prepared me to use the Agile development process and tools, as well as work effectively on a development team. I’m working in languages outside of the full stack curriculum, but the boot camp taught me to quickly pick up any new skills I need. I’m now incredibly comfortable and confident starting from scratch and learning new technologies from the ground up.
Are you enjoying work? Where do you see yourself headed in the future?
I love my work! I look forward to logging on and working with my team every single day — it’s a fantastic feeling. In the future, I hope to stay, grow, and innovate with Attain.
If you had to sum everything up, how did the boot camp impact you?
The boot camp completely changed my life. After decades of being interested in this field, I am now living it every day. The program allowed me to enter a space that I never thought I’d be able to without completely starting over. Being able to dedicate three intensive months to making that transition was incredible, and I couldn’t be happier.
Ready to jump-start a career change? Explore GW Boot Camps in Coding, Data Analytics, UX/UI, Cybersecurity, FinTech, and Digital Marketing to get started.