OCS Blog: No more homework or projects, it’s time to find where we fit

(Guest post by Andy von Dohren) The last two weeks have been a lot of work. I'm not talking about project work, which can actually be a lot of fun. I'm talking about mock interviews, resume writing, portfolio building and documentation writing work. Omaha Code School has done a lot for us over the last

Omaha Code School is under way, with a graduation date set for May 16. We can’t be there every day, but luckily, we’ve still got the inside story.

Andy von Dohren, one of the School’s 14 students, is blogging about his experience on his own site, Code School Adventures, and will be sharing some of his stories with SPN every other week. He isn’t a stranger to tech—he quit his job as an information security analyst for Mutual of Omaha to start Code School—but is new to coding. He won’t be going far, as Omaha Code School is down the block from Mutual of Omaha at Midtown Crossing. 


The last two weeks have been a lot of work. I’m not talking about project work, which can actually be a lot of fun. I’m talking about mock interviews, resume writing, portfolio building and documentation writing work.

Omaha Code School has done a lot for us over the last 12 weeks. They’ve taught us, helped us overcome difficult problems and provided mentors for us to learn from. But at no point have they been more helpful than the last two weeks. Lately we have been working on getting all our work ready to show to potential employers.

OCS found mentor after mentor willing to come review our resumes, give mock interviews and give us their prospective about what makes candidates stick out. It’s an eye-opening experience that preps you for the microscope that is the hiring process.

Two weeks ago, we took a much needed break to give a presentation for 1 Million Cups, a local entrepreneurship meetup. They asked us to give a couple of quick presentations about our group projects.

At first it was extremely intimidating. Roughly 50 people we had not met before in a giant lecture hall on UNO’s campus. As we got up to speak, I just put all that behind me and started to go through what we had practiced.

We talked about our client, SMAC! (Sock Monkeys Against Cancer), and how they needed a system to find angels for those in need. Everyone seemed to like what we had put together and were impressed at how far we had come in the first eleven weeks of class. It was a welcome dose of encouragement that we are starting to know what we’re talking about and can contribute to this community.

This was all building toward graduation night. A ton of people showed up to congratulate us on all the work we have put in and to see what we have been up to over the past twelve weeks. We had a short ceremony, with an inspiring commencement speech from Megan Hunt. We received our awesome wooden diplomas, and had some time to show off our projects to family and friends who came down to take a look. But this night was mainly a celebration. We ate, drank, took advantage of the photo booth, danced and ate some more. It was a great night that left me completely exhausted.

Now it’s been two days since we graduated from Omaha Code School. The pressure is off. No more homework. No more projects.

So now what? Where do we go from here? What is the next thing on this amazing journey we have all been on?

For most of us, the next step is a job fair Omaha Code School is putting together for us. They have attracted the attention from the who’s who in local development businesses. Graduates will be able to talk to each business and start to understand what makes them tick. Nothing is guaranteed, but we will see firsthand what companies are looking for and how we might fit into that void.

Lastly, I have enjoyed recapping my code school adventure for Silicon Prairie News over the last three months. I cannot thank Jordan Pascale and the team enough for giving me this opportunity to get the word out about what we are doing. It seems like every event I attend has someone coming up to me who has read a post or two and it has peaked their curiosity. I don’t think we would have garnered the attention we have if it was not for SPN and their willingness to cover this school. I can never truly express my thanks for all they have done. Thank you.

Read more blogs from Code School students, including Micahel Todd, Brandon NorrisCara Heacock, Kaitlyn Hovanec and Johnathon Leuth.

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