Hack Reactor Students With PhDs Add Coding to Their Wealth of Knowledge

Hack Reactor takes students with all sorts of backgrounds, ambitions and career paths. Many are Computer Science majors or Software Engineers looking to take their skills to the next level, and others have only picked up coding recently. Occasionally, someone who is very advanced in a non-CS field finds that Hack Reactor is the missing piece in a unique and exciting career. Here are three Hack Reactor students who came to the school having already earned a PhD. 

Fabrice Colas entered Hack Reactor with a PhD in Machine Learning.

Fabrice Colas entered Hack Reactor with a PhD in Machine Learning.

Fabrice Colas, a current Hack Reactor student, came to the school with a PhD in Machine Learning and a Postdoc in Human Genetics. So, it would be hard to fault him for settling with that. But he didn’t:

San Francisco is the Harvard / MIT of the tech-world, I have always been a techie, and being here feels like home. Besides, this is really where my know-how and my drive meet "the least resistance"; this matters a great deal as it is fine to feel resistance when you are a teenager or a young professional but now I am a battle-hardened expert with eight-years of experience designing top-grade predictive models. So, no more detours. Just the Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and Hack Reactor.

Though Colas is embarking on a new adventure, he isn't leaving his old studies behind:

“I acquired the skills to do big data analytics before Hack Reactor while working in human genetics,” Colas explains. “At Hack Reactor I am learning how to deliver the result of my big data analytics using web technologies.”

The vibe at Hack Reactor is unlike anywhere else that Colas has studied, and he finds the energy infectious: "The intensity is surprising. I wasn't expecting it to be that intense. I really love it."

Kate Jenkins had a PhD in Materials Science when she started at Hack Reactor. 

Kate Jenkins had a PhD in Materials Science when she started at Hack Reactor. 

Catherine Jenkins got deep enough into magnetic spectroscopy to see the strengths and weaknesses of the field. Eventually she came up against a limit that most took for granted, but Kate saw a problem that could be picked apart with the proper expertise. That’s where Hack Reactor came in:

When I say I am a full-stack developer, I almost literally mean it. I did research for years on leakage current and electron transport in magnetoelectric computer memory and spintronics, and Hack Reactor brought me right up the stack and out the other end to engineer the software on top.

Now, Kate has a job that combines all of her knowledge at a job she loves:

I could NOT have envisioned a more perfect job after Hack Reactor, both in the abstract and for myself in particular. Ejenta is this incredible tiny company doing artificial intelligence modeling of the data from a sensor platform we are building, so it actually matters for my job that I not only know how to, I don't know, query a cloud database through a RESTful API and password protect a healthcare website, but also understand the Bluetooth protocols underneath to architect our server calls.

Autumn Fjeld came to Hack Reactor with a PhD in Materials Science.

Autumn Fjeld came to Hack Reactor with a PhD in Materials Science.

Autumn Fjeld has a PhD in Materials Science, but she wasn't fully satisfied with the sort of work this led to:

I need color and design and the human aspect to be part of what I am building.  Enter JavaScript and web programming and Hack Reactor.... I’m ecstatic about the decision I made to redirect my career to software development, it is more satisfying than I imagined and I expect that feeling to grow after I start working.

Autumn graduated Hack Reactor in March, and is weighing multiple offers for work as a Software Developer. She thanks her three months at the school for where she is now:

The quality and precision of the curriculum at Hack Reactor is outstanding and the genuine student support, spanning the weeks prior to the course to months and years following the course, ensure that students succeed.

Jenkins, Fjeld and Colas all had fascinating and reputable careers before Hack Reactor, but each has found a new dimension to their life’s work through three intense months at the school.

Whether you have a PhD or nothing close, if you want to take your programming skills to an entirely new level, and start or advance a career as a Software Engineer, we encourage you to apply to Hack Reactor. Interested in hiring one of these geniuses or one of their stellar classmates? Contact us and request to come to our Hiring Day on May 20th.

Read more:

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