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Nissa Wollum exemplifies how quickly one can go from a fledgling beginner to a fully equipped software engineer. In six months, she went from Remote Prep, our online course for beginners, on to the immersive Hack Reactor Remote Beta, and is now teaching students in Remote Prep through our apprenticeship program and is a mentor in our intermediate course Fulcrum.
“It’s wild to teach the material I struggled with as a Remote Prep student,” says Wollum. “Now I can talk other people through it. That feels like the biggest change--how different the material looks six months later.”
After spending years helping others navigate the outdoors as a river guide and ski patrol, Wollum started looking for a more stable career. She started working for the state of California in an office job, but found that the software she had to use slowed her down with unnecessary and repetitive tasks. She started to explore coding as a way to make her work more efficient.
“After I finished Remote Prep, I suddenly knew how to do things,” she recalls. Not only that, but her second crack at our admissions process was a success.
“When I took the interview the second time [after completing Remote Prep], I had quite a bit more understanding of the material.”
Remote Prep is a demanding course--60 hours of challenging, engaging class time--and Wollum found that her classmates offered a wealth of technical and emotional support. Everyone struggles at points over the 20 three-hour classes, and having allies who are more than happy to help unstick a fellow coder made a big difference. This was a key change from self-study.
“The amount of group cohesion in Remote Prep really pulled me through,” she describes. “It’s super hard, but you are with other people that are dealing with that too. I’m still in contact with a lot of them. Some of my closest friends I met through Remote Prep.”
The online element of the program actually helped bring people closer together. Everyone stays connected through the class Slack channel.
“In person, sometimes you separate into groups,” Wollum notes. “Slack is a great equalizer. If you send out a message like, ‘who has 2 minutes to help me?’ you get a ton of responses. After graduating, it’s the same thing. People reach out to each other.”
The intense pace of Remote Prep helped ready Wollum for Hack Reactor Remote Beta. Here, the community expanded across the globe. Between her course and the one running concurrently, there were students in Korea, Poland, Canada and all over the U.S.
“It’s shocking how many practical skills you come out with,” she says. “I went to a liberal arts college, which was awesome, but what was great about Remote Beta is that you practice the skills so much that by the end you know how to do them.”
Now an instructor in Remote Prep and our intermediate course Fulcrum, Wollum identifies with her students.
“I’m their instructor, but in a year we’ll be peers and engineers. I know it’s just a few short months. It happens faster than you think it will.”