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Katie Walsh

Katie Walsh

Junior Software Developer

Katie is driven by a passion for languages. When she was ready to change her career as a teacher, learning to program led her into a world of new languages and a job she loves. Here's Katie's story:

What were you doing before The Iron Yard?

I love languages. I love wrestling with syntax, producing new speech, and decoding foreign phrases. I’ve studied French, Chinese, and Persian. After earning my degree in comparative literature, I taught English as a Foreign Language.

As a teacher, I was able to share my love of English with my students. Outside the classroom, I practiced and honed my own language skills, discovering new words and phrases almost daily as I interacted with people.

So when I reached a pivot point in my career, I knew that I wanted to do something where I could work with language. I also knew that I want to keep refining my skills and to continue learning throughout my career.

Coding was a great fit for me. Now I get to work with another type of foreign language – programming languages. It’s a kind of translation; I take what humans want the computer to do, and I translate that idea into a language that the computer can understand.

What made you ultimately decide on attending The Iron Yard?

Once I decided to attend a code school, I began researching options across America. I had a long Google spreadsheet of schools with locations, languages taught, costs, and reviews. Given that many code schools were located in New York or San Francisco, I thought I would most likely have to relocate.

However, when I learned that The Iron Yard was opening up a campus right here in DC, I decided to check it out.

Ultimately what sold me on the Iron Yard was their approach to coding as a craft. I knew that I could only learn so much in three months, so I wanted to focus on the fundamentals. The Iron Yard emphasized the process of development – how to approach problems, how to find the right resources, and how to coordinate with other developers on a team.

I particularly liked that the program favored depth over breadth. A lot of code schools promised to teach full stack development in three months, but I preferred to focus on backend engineering and learn that part really well.

I felt that The Iron Yard program could help me build a solid foundation, and that I could continue to build on that foundation as I begin my career.

What are you doing now?

I’m still in my course, so right now I’m focusing on Rails and preparing for my final project. After the course, my goal is to keep learning and building my skill set! I hope to find a position as a junior developer where I can contribute to the product and learn from more experienced developers.

In particular, I’m interested in digital journalism because there is so much innovation happening with news media. There are many new platforms and products that are changing the way news is being produced, packaged and consumed, and I would love to work on one of them.

UPDATE: After graduation, Katie was hired as a junior software developer at an eCommerce company.

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More Student Stories

Katie followed the footsteps of hundreds and hundreds of students who have forged their own path by attending The Iron Yard. The graduates below have their own unique stories to tell as well. Whether you're looking to find a more fulfilling career or fulfill your love of technology, there are alumni who have walked your path.

Chelsea went from writing prose to writing code by attending The Iron Yard in Atlanta. Today, she has a great salary as a web designer for a startup company.

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Wonman used to work for a Senator on Capitol Hill. After an election loss left him jobless, he attended The Iron Yard and now works as a back-end developer.

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Mike was a freelance theatrical lighting technician, a job he loved but that didn't provide for his family. The Iron Yard helped him jump into a new career as a developer.

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Ryan spent more than a decade in finance before realizing he wanted more. Today, he's found career happiness as an Interaction Engineer with Benefitfocus.

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Andrew co-founded a startup and realized he could reach his goals faster if he learned to code. He and his partner can now innovate to meet customer demand.

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Richard's experience in graphic design led him to dabble in coding. Now, he's a full-time web engineer in Atlanta.

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Matt's story shows off what it's like to be a student at The Iron Yard.

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