Bootcamp Grad Spotlight: Brian Cerney of Tech Elevator

After graduating from college in California, Brian worked in education for a few years as a teacher and guitar instructor. Eventually, he realized his aptitude for technology and coding - and the rest is history. He attended Tech Elevator’s Columbus Java cohort and went on to land a career as an Applications Developer at JPMorgan Chase.

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Tech Elevator | Skills Fund

What made you decide to attend a bootcamp?

Brian: “I’ve always had a fascination with code, and I’ve always seen myself as a problem-solver. After I graduated from California State University, Chico, I taught music at a middle school in East Los Angeles as part of a Year of Service. I then moved out to Ohio and continued my career in education, teaching in classrooms during the day and as a private guitar instructor in the evenings. To keep up with the music lessons competition and today’s digital age, I made a website and began to dive into digital advertising. After a few months, I realized that I enjoyed customizing and altering the website more than I liked creating the content. That realization coincided with my ultimate need for something more challenging and rewarding as a career. I immediately found free resources online (such as FreeCodeCamp and CodeAcademy) and started teaching myself the basics, but I needed something more. I found Tech Elevator and knew it was a perfect fit.”

So you left your job and started fresh to attend a bootcamp. Were you scared?

Brian: “Similar probably to everyone else in this situation - at first I was concerned about whether or not I would be able to get a job after graduation. My fears were immediately put to rest when I saw the Columbus cohort’s results. If I remember correctly, just about all of the students had jobs lined up at the end of the program.

I started winding down guitar lessons and focusing on my prep work for about two months prior to starting Tech Elevator. Once my income lessened, I needed to get my finances in order and figure out how to pay for the program. I was able to take out a loan through Skills Fund - it was easy and painless."

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Why did you pick Tech Elevator over other bootcamps?

Brian: “After I realized I wanted to attend a bootcamp, I began my research. I had heard of Tech Elevator before, so I went to visit their Columbus campus and attended an open house. I met a few members of the Tech Elevator team and got a feel for their culture. It became very clear that they’re genuinely interested in the success of their students.”

Tell me about the interview process at Tech Elevator.

Brian: “The process starts out with a 12-question aptitude test. After that, there’s a behavioral interview with a member of the Tech Elevator team. It was a conversation about culture, drive, and life experiences. Next, I did another version of the aptitude test, and that was it!”

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Let’s talk outcomes. Where are you now, and how’d you get there?

Brian: “Going into the bootcamp, I didn’t have much resume writing experience. Katie Detore, the Pathway Program Director, was a godsend. The Pathway Program brought in speakers and companies to meet with students. There are a few Matchmaking Events where students check out different companies and get a feel for where they’d like to work - and that’s where I found my job. Throughout the program, Katie and the Tech Elevator team were great at career guidance. I could come to them with any questions - how should I respond to recruiters? How do I negotiate salary? Etc. I ended up finding an awesome job at JPMorgan Chase. My first day was May 15th. It’s great so far - I’m surrounded by a great team and I learn more and more every day!"

Skills Fund’s partner Tech Elevator equips students with the skills required to get them where they want to be. Looking for a career in web development? Explore their website and take a short aptitude test here, and learn more about our partnership here.