One of our UX Design and Frontend Web Development Grads, Gemma Haylett, reflects back on her Bloc experience with tips and advice for anyone wanting to pursue their dreams and transition careers.
When Gemma graduated college with a BS in Computer Science, she found herself with few job opportunities, and eventually took a job in the aerospace industry. Ten years later, after Gemma’s husband landed his dream job, Gemma decided to take the plunge and go after what she loved, and that was coding. After spending 2 years trying to learn code on her own, Gemma enrolled in Bloc.
What Gemma is up to now:
After completing Bloc’s UX Design course, Gemma enrolled in Bloc’s Frontend Web Development course shortly after. Months later, Gemma landed a job as a Web Developer for Sephora where she currently works!
Gemma’s Advice and Experience:
What is the most important piece of advice you would give to an incoming student?
Be committed! I spent about 18-20 hours a week just on Bloc. I definitely cleared my calendar, and did it everyday. I think practicing everyday is one of the most important things someone can do. If you want to retain the information, then you need to practice as much as possible!
How did your experience with a mentor influence your experience?
One of the most important things I learned from Joey was that I was good enough. He gave me the confidence I needed, and honest feedback, which was very important to me. He also answered every question I had, and was always there for me.
What do you think your experience would be like had you not had a mentor?
I used to have issues with staying on track. Before I had a tendency of getting side tracked and dropping the projects I had been working on to pursue something else. When I came to Bloc, I trusted the material and Joey’s advice, and that helped me stay on track to be successful.
What do you think was the key to your success?
I’ll give a shout out to my husband! When you’re spending 18 hours a week practicing Bloc, theres no time to do dishes or laundry, so he definitely picked up the slack on that. And that was actually a huge feeling of relief. He’s always been a huge supporter of doing what I want.
Did you ever feel like quitting?
I was always motivated, until it came to the interviewing process. When I was looking for jobs, it was tough and I almost took a break. But luckily I didn’t because the next job I applied to I got! It all worked out; I’m now working at Sephora and extremely happy. There’s always options out there, you just have to be open to everything.
What phase of Bloc did you see the most personal growth. How were you able to work through it’s challenges?
When I posted my work on dribbble! I posted my project, Jott.ly on there, and got a ton of feedback! Putting myself out there made me realize that other people liked it, so networking and getting my work out there made me feel great.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell to the future students of Bloc?
I wish I had done it sooner..I was too scared to make that switch. But now that I have, I’m so much happier. There’s never a day that I regret my decision. Even when the BART ride is long, and I’m tired, I know I’ve made the right decision.
It’s also important to remember that you have to work hard after finishing Bloc as well. You don’t just land your dream job after graduating. Bloc definitely helps you, but you have to work for it!
Check out the rest of Gemma’s story and Capstone Project on our Alumni Page!