Lynda Wellhausen was mid-career when she decided to look into additional professional training. Mid-career during a global pandemic while looking for a new job. Suffice it to say, it was a challenging time for many reasons, made all the more challenging by the fact that she kept running into increasingly complicated questions during job interviews.
“I just started to feel like there were some things I didn't know,” said Lynda. “All of my career, I had been able to get things done, but the questions I was being asked were higher-level questions.”
This feeling – of running into knowledge and skills gaps even with years of high-quality job experience – is common in software engineering. It highlights an overall lack of training opportunities for those looking to pursue promotions, leadership roles, and other opportunities beyond their current one. For years, Lynda had worked as a web developer, front-end engineer, and software engineer, among other roles, but she was still running into this all-too-common sense of falling behind. She began looking for a new way forward.
“I realized that because of the experience I had, there were higher expectations of me. I wanted to be able to rise to that, and I felt that taking courses would be a good way to help me get there,” she said.
Up to that point, she’d tried some pre-recorded online classes. They were good for learning specific technologies, she said, but not necessarily for leveling up her career, which is what she was looking to do.
To reach that more encompassing goal, she decided to enroll in two of our Professional Development courses: Algorithms + Data Structures and Microservices + Orchestration, which are taught live online and offer a combination of theory and practice. Both courses represented spheres of knowledge that she wasn't particularly familiar with and that she reasoned would help her answer the tough questions she was being asked during interviews.
The two courses went well together, according to Lynda, though she advises others to take them back-to-back and not simultaneously like she did, depending on their personal availability. Regardless, the pairing served her well.
“Just the very fact that these courses are complimentary made me want to take them both. And because I do full stack development, it was an opportunity I didn't want to miss,” she said. “During the courses, you’re exposed to the tools, the methodology, and you're provided with the ability to do the work. The assignments give you confidence in your ability to do it. It all shows you how approachable these topics really are.”
Since taking the courses, Lynda’s career has taken on a different shape than she originally anticipated. Instead of continuing with various job interviews, she’s joined us here at Galvanize as an Alpha Tester for our growing slate of Professional Development courses. As one of the first people to take the courses, she’s helped us shape each one more precisely, crafting improved outcomes.
On top of that, she’s launched her own business – a full-service digital design agency that provides branding identity, advertising, design, and application development.
“With the work that I do, I wear a lot of different hats,” said Lynda. “Both courses have made me a better programmer and made me more confident in my abilities.”
For her agency, she’s consistently tackling a wide variety of projects. She could be creating a login system one day, an invoice system the next, and be using the rest of her time to implement various pieces of functionality for her clients. All of these projects relate to what she learned during both courses, but in particular, her agency work draws heavily on what was covered during Microservices + Orchestration.
“As I’m trying to get this digital agency up off the ground, and as I'm moving forward and working with different clients, the Microservices course is giving me ideas of how I want to architect various projects and what the best methodologies for deployment are,” she said. “It’s just nice to be able to see the pieces in the void and be able to grab them and put them together.”
As someone who not only took two of these courses as a professional, but now works on refining them and creating new ones as an Alpha Tester, Lynda is an excellent source of advice and guidance for anyone considering professional development courses for their own career advancement. She emphasizes the importance of doing the work and persevering through its inevitable challenges.
“My advice is to do the homework and be okay with struggling with it,” she said. “Don't worry if it's not all clicking right away. Just keep struggling with it. And don't stop putting the work in, because you'll get as much out of it as you put in.”
Learn more about our Professional Development courses for software engineers.