How a High School English Teacher Became a Developer at IBM

Zachary Melancon, a Full Stack Track student at Bloc, recently accepted a role at IBM as an Application Development Specialist. Landing a job at such a great company without having any prior programming experience is remarkable, and we wanted to ask Zach a few questions about how this high school teacher became a developer, and what others can learn from his journey. Below, Zach answers a few questions about his Bloc experience.

Zachary Melancon

Bloc: What were you doing before Bloc?

Zachary: “Before and during Bloc, I was an English teacher. I always enjoyed reading and creating works of fiction so, in college, I majored in English with a concentration in writing. Therefore, when I graduated, teaching English seemed like an occupation in which I could excel. However, not only is it hard to support a family with a teacher’s salary, but there is also very little upward mobility. In September 2015, my wife and I had our son, and I realized that I would have to change professions in order to be able to support them. Luckily for me, I discovered web development, which I found to be as creatively stimulating as writing had been to me previously.”

Bloc: Why did you end up taking Bloc?

Zachary: “As stated in the answer above, I found programming and web development to be interesting, and I connected with the creative aspect of it as well as the problem solving that it required. At the same time, I knew I would need to change my profession. One day, by coincidence, I was listening to NPR during a discussion they had about coding boot camps. At the time, I thought I would have to somehow find time to go back to school for two years or more, and maintain my job so that my family had a source of income while I was studying. After listening to that segment on NPR, I researched more online about coding boot camps, and found Bloc. With Bloc, I could not only keep my job, but I would also be provided with great instructional material and a mentor to help guide me through the material. Of all the coding boot camps I searched, Bloc was definitely the best choice.”

Bloc: How would you review Bloc? How did it change your life?

Zachary: “Almost immediately upon completing the course work on Bloc, I was able to get a job at IBM. As a teacher, though teaching has other rewards, it was hard for me to see my family ever getting to a point where we were financially comfortable. Now, knowing that, because of Bloc, I will be working for one of the biggest tech companies on the planet, I know that my family will be financially secure, and I know that I will be able grow in an industry that excites me.”


At Bloc, we’re driven to help individuals change their lives by transitioning into careers they’re passionate about. We offer mentor-led online programs comparable to in-person bootcamps. To check out the programs we offer, go here. If you’d like to read more about students’ experiences attending Bloc, this is the best place to find Bloc reviews.

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