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Success Stories

Portrait of Julius

Julius Bzozowski

While searching for opportunities to expand on his background in graphic design & photography, Julius, explored the idea of learning to code. It seemed like the perfect complement to his existing technology toolbox; an in demand skill; and a challenge that would prove to be both formidable and mentally stimulating.

After a month of researching information on various bootcamps and completing a few coding tutorials online, he interviewed, was accepted, quit his full-time job, moved closer to St. Pete, worked tirelessly, and became a graduate of Cohort 8, affectionately dubbed “The Ocho” by a fellow classmate.

Despite the risks and challenges, Julius, now works for a premier, web design services company in Tampa. Having accomplished the personal goals he set for himself one year ago, he looks forward to the continued growth and development of his coding skills and to one day be combined with his love of golf.


Portrait of Venel

Venel Rene

From youth development to software development...

Meet Venel, a Juvenile Supervision Counselor studying human development turned Software Developer. Venel spent countless hours attempting to figure out ways to maximize his gaming experience to level the playing field against the youth he was supervising. While doing so, he found himself falling in love with everything he was learning about software so much that he decided to switch careers.

After graduating and several months of dedicated job hunting, he landed his first tech job at a local startup, Net Synergy Virtual Solutions, where he was able to gain knowledge, experience, and additional skills in data aggregation. In an effort to grow and expand his skillset even more, Venel recently took on an exciting new role as an Engineer at Salesforce.


Portrait of Brandyn

Brandyn Sullins

After college, Brandyn bounced between legal jobs while entertaining the idea of law school. After a large amount of soul searching, he decided a change needed to be made and performed a hard pivot; taking a leap of faith to attend SDG. Brandyn is a conscientious developer that cares about making programming enjoyable for everyone and solving challenges in pragmatic ways. In his spare time, he's a swim instructor and enjoys writing.


Portrait of Dat

Dat Tran

After having worked in corporate America for a couple years as a middle-manager, Dat went through a quarter life crisis. If this is how he is to spend 8-12 hours of his day, he needed to see what else was out there. After listening to the song Motto by Drake, he decided to leave his job and enroll with SDG. After 3 fantastic months of education, and 2 months of unemployment, he was hired at Operation PAR as an application developer. After a successful year there, he recently started working at Protect My Car as a Software Engineer II.


Crystal McGowan

After years of being a customer service and marketing guru, Crystal found herself to be a textbook example of someone that needed a life and career pivot. While she had taken an interest in coding, she made every excuse in the book to not invest in it professionally.

Thankfully, the SDG team and her stellar support system echoed every day: “You can’t afford NOT to invest in yourself, and you’re going to be great!” Crystal never looked back. The hours were studious and the caffeine ran rampant, but it’s one of the decisions she’s most proud of making.

After embracing the opportunity to work for a killer start-up company, she moved onto Raymond James Financial where she is an Associate Interactive Specialist. When she’s not dabbling in a CMS for Financial Advisors, you can catch her assisting with SDG Jr's kids coding classes and geeking out at development conferences.


Portrait of Taylor Cox

Taylor Cox

Hailing from Indiana, Taylor is a digital designer turned front-end developer by way of The Iron Yard and stealing her parents' ThinkPad as a child to write CSS for her Neopets profile page.

As a student in the final cohort of The Iron Yard in Tampa Bay, Taylor became ingrained in the community through the staff's encouragement to participate in local hackathons, meetups, and conferences.

Now, she serves as a co-organizer for SDG Jr. to promote the importance of learning technology and problem solving skills to a younger generation. Taylor is a coordinator and in for the SDG Jr's kids coding classes and has spoken at development conferences.


Portrait of Kristen

Kristen Swan-Grashel

When I first thought about going to a code school to change I knew it I knew it would be hard, especially with three young children to care for. I also knew it would be worth it in the end. The Iron Yard experience turned out to be just as hard as I ever imagined, but also just as worth it. I accomplished what I set out to do. And really, there are few things better in life than that. Achieving a goal you've worked hard for.


Portrait of Val

Valeria Benetti

Of all the choices I have ever made, coming to this has to be one of the greatest choices that my brain came up with. Not one day goes by since graduating have I been extremely grateful to the school for teaching me the valuable skill sets that I now know.


Portrait of Shaun Hailey

Shaun Hailey

I came to into this with zero programming background whatsoever. After over a decade in finance, a layoff put me into a position where I could explore a new career. This finally allowed me to do what I had wanted to do for many years--learn how to code.


Portrait of Mark Lombardi

Mark Lombardi-Nelson

I can't begin to express the gratitude and impact learning to code has made on our business, as well as my life. We built Shoot To Thrill Media, and I made the conscious decision to dive deep and learn to code soon after. This skillset has empowered me to provide for my family, impact my community, and grow my business in a way that would have not been possible without you. Thank you for empowering me to have the confidence and ability to follow my dreams.