A Developer's Journey: Lawrence Fitzgerald of Ironhack

Lawrence Part 1 Header.png

A Developer's Journey: Lawrence Fitzgerald of Ironhack (Part One)

In this series, we’re following Lawrence, a student currently in Ironhack's Miami Full-Time Web Development cohort. First things first: We’ve chatted with Lawrence before he jumped into the program to learn more about what he’s looking forward to about Ironhack!

What were you doing before you decided to attend a bootcamp?

Lawrence: "I was working full-time as a Field Service Technician for the Washington, DC Lottery. I studied programming on the side."

What made you decide to attend a bootcamp?

Lawrence: "After studying various computer languages for a few years, I realized I was reaching a point where I needed a mentor. I thought about contacting various professional programmers for pointers, but felt that was not enough."

How did you find out about Ironhack?

Lawrence: "I was using an application on my cell phone when an advertisement for Ironhack popped up. The advertisement was part of a discount program for SoloLearn users."

What made you decide on Ironhack over other bootcamps?

Lawrence: "When I saw the advertisement from Ironhack, something inside urged me to pay attention. After reading through all of the information on my phone, I went to the website to find out more. I also did a quick search on Google for some outside information about Ironhack.

Living in Washington, D.C., I had many bootcamp options to choose from. However, I wanted to go somewhere I had never been before. After reading about their campus locations, I decided on Miami because I wasn't quite ready yet to leave the country. Living near the beach doesn't hurt either!

I was impressed with the courses and material offered at Ironhack. I didn't just want to learn Web Design - I wanted to learn both the front-end and back-end sides of Web Development. I realized I would be very marketable with what I would learn from them. I figured this was a great opportunity to "go all in" and fully commit to making the career jump."

Walk me through the Ironhack admissions process. What was it like?

Lawrence: "After going to the Ironhack website, I selected the Full-Time Web Development course (one of four programs). I then selected the Miami campus and filled out the application. The application itself was incredibly quick and easy! Once my application was submitted, I was contacted by the Admissions Director, Alia, who then scheduled the first of three interviews.

The first interview was with Alia herself. The interview focused on my reasons for why I wanted to become a Web Developer, and why I chose Ironhack out of all of the other bootcamps. The next two interviews, the Career Assessment and Technical Interview, were scheduled for the following week. I was given some material to study in preparation for the Technical Interview.

The Career Assessment was handled by Daniel, who told me a little about himself and his role at Ironhack. We chatted about my plans and future career goals.

Last but not least, I did the Technical Interview with Nick. Nick gave me some small word problems that required me to code some solutions in Ruby. All three interviews were around 30 minutes each. Everyone was pleasant and made the interviews as simple and seamless as possible!"

How did you find out about Skills Fund?

Lawrence: "I had actually never heard of Skills Fund until I started looking up information on Ironhack!"

We’re glad that you found us! So what made you decide on Skills Fund over other financing options, like taking out a credit card or dipping into your savings?

Lawrence: "The key factor for me was the optional cost of living financing for the Full-Time Web Development course. Attending Ironhack required me to move several states away to Florida, and I can’t work while in the program due to its intensity. The stipend was vital to my needs. In addition to the benefit of cost of living financing, I received a direct email from a Skills Fund team member. They made sure to let me know to reach out if I had any questions. That personal touch influenced my decision greatly."

Walk me through the Skills Fund loan application process. What was it like?

Lawrence: "The process of applying for a Skills Fund loan was very easy and quick! I was actually provided with a direct link by Alia to apply specifically for Ironhack. The application literally did not take more than a few minutes. After I submitted my loan application, I received an email from Joseph over at Skills Fund informing me to reach out to him if I have any questions. That was actually surprising, impressive and reassuring!"

What are you most excited about going into the bootcamp?

Lawrence: "I'm excited to learn the MEAN stack."

What are you nervous about going into the bootcamp?

Lawrence: "I am definitely nervous about the CSS, actually! It seems like such a simple thing, but there are so many tags and ways to style everything that it can be overwhelming sometimes."

Where do you see yourself going after the bootcamp?

Lawrence: "I actually have two goals. My first goal is to help build interactive learning tools for people who want to learn new skills/trades, but have limited resources (time/money/physical access) to higher forms of education. My second goal is to start a software company built completely on -and supporting - Free/Open Source software."

As one of our revolutionary bootcamp partners, Ironhack offers full-time and part-time immersive programs in UX/UI Design and Web Development. Their mission is to create the next generation of creators, like Lawrence. Skills Fund is proud to offer students the option of tuition & cost of living financing for Ironhack programs.

Originally published June 13, 2017.