“I wouldn’t be able to do it without the boot camp”: How Wayne Griffiths went from restaurant management to a career in coding

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As a physics undergraduate, Wayne Griffiths encountered coding — briefly. He was in the lab working on a nanotechnology thesis when his supervisor asked if Wayne had ever done any programming. 

He hadn’t, so his professor told him not to worry. Finishing the project might be harder, Wayne remembered being told, but he should just use the tools that were “already there” in the lab.

And that’s where Wayne’s brush with coding might have ended. After graduating, he left the sciences altogether, working for several years as the restaurant manager at a winery near his native Perth. Eventually, though, it was time for a change. 

“It would be really handy if I could write my own scripts, run my own programs,” Wayne recalled thinking. “I’ve got all this knowledge, but can’t really do anything with it.”

So after hearing about The University of Western Australia Coding Boot Camp from his girlfriend, Wayne enrolled — a decision that would change his life.

“It was a lot of long hours”

Apart from that abortive experience during undergrad, coding was totally new to Wayne when he started the boot camp. Unsurprisingly, those first few weeks were far from easy. “It was very difficult,” he said. “It was a lot of long hours, and you had to go and do your own research.”

But before long, Wayne realised he wasn’t alone. “All my worries and fears were alleviated when I understood that everyone was in the same boat,” he said. 

“A couple of my classmates already knew coding, but wanted to upskill. They were probably more nervous than me — they didn’t want to get shown up by someone who was learning faster.”

They shouldn’t have worried. As Wayne made clear, the boot camp was a wave that lifted all boats, with everyone soon getting to grips with coding in all its complexity. 

From mastering React to managing databases, Wayne said that everything he did was “completely hands-on” and always related to real situations in the workplace. 

“If I was on the right track, they’d tell me I was getting there”

Another highlight of Wayne’s boot camp experience was his interactions with trainers. For starters, he appreciated how upfront they were about the challenges of understanding a whole new field. “If there was an issue, they would point it out,” he said. “If I was on the right track, they’d tell me I was getting there.”

It helped, too, that Wayne’s trainers were eager to offer assistance. He was particularly impressed by Eumir — who Wayne describes as “very patient” and generally “fantastic” at getting the best out of students.

This enthusiasm was partnered with remarkable flexibility. “I learned so much from my tutors, even just after hours talking with them,” Wayne said. “They were usually available for half an hour after class — and that’s when I got most of my learnings.” 

This even extended to the wee small hours, Wayne added. “I’d submit a question at 2:00 in the morning and get a response back at 2:15 a.m. They were just great.”

“I wouldn’t be able to do it without the boot camp”

After finishing his course, Wayne set out to find a job — and again, the boot camp proved useful. Pretty soon, he was approached by Eumir (that popular trainer) who told him that UseVerb, an Australian tech firm with an office in Perth, was hiring software developers.

Wayne quickly threw his hat into the ring — and got hired. Right from the off, it was clear that this would have been impossible without his earlier education.

“I wouldn’t be able to do it without the boot camp,” Wayne said. “What I’m doing at UseVerb is exactly what we learned, exactly what we were taught, with exactly the same hands-on experience — just a little bit more complicated.” 

No wonder, then, that Wayne draws such a direct line between what he learned in the boot camp and his new career in coding. “The boot camp was a great way to get exposed to a completely new career and new skills,” he said. 

“It gave us the skills to not just learn what they taught us — but also to continue on and develop lifelong learning.” 

Want to kickstart a new career? Check out The University of Western Australia Boot Camps in coding, data analytics, and cybersecurity.

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