Avery Bradley Quit His Job Before Boot Camp—Demonstrating the Value of Taking Big Risks

It was a computer science elective Avery Bradley took on a whim in college that gave him his first taste of software development. He really enjoyed the course, but as a math major, he realized there wasn’t much application for it within his degree. He soon forgot about it entirely.

After graduation, Avery became a math tutor at a local charter school, putting his degree to work in an educational setting. Despite the fact that he was able to help others, he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing from his career.

Avery had known for a while that he was interested in software. Thinking back to how much he had enjoyed that computer science class back in college, he realized that pursuing coding would not only expand his interests, but also make him a more attractive job candidate.

He began searching for coding opportunities online and soon stumbled across an ad for the Coding Boot Camp at UCR Extension. Avery immediately saw it as the opportunity he had been looking for and quit his job.

Taking the risk

It might have felt like a huge risk to some, but leaving a steady job before going to boot camp didn’t give Avery much concern.

“I was confident that the boot camp would lead me somewhere new,” Avery said. “Sure, it felt risky, but I figured now is the part of my life where I should be taking more risks.”

His first weeks in the program validated this decision. Avery remembers that right out of the gate, his instructors and TAs were bursting with enthusiasm and energy, eager to instill the same attitudes in their students.

With an educational background himself, Avery knew how exhausting it could be to maintain that much vigor in front of a class. It kept spirits in the classroom high. Soon, Avery was bonding with his fellow classmates on both academic and personal levels—he liked that everyone had a similar drive towards self-improvement.

“Most people were there because they were genuinely interested in software development and web development, and serious about pursuing a career in it after,” Avery said. “It was reassuring to be on this path with like-minded people at your side.”

Building the team

When the boot camp got into full swing and project groups started forming, Avery found himself drawn to a group of classmates he had bonded with early on. He credits a lot of his success in boot camp to how well he got along with his team.

“We had a really strong group,” Avery recalled. “That’s what made it stand out—we built real friendships with each other over the course of those six months. I still stay in touch with my boot camp friends.”

This cohesion gave the group the confidence to tackle some tougher-than-average projects.

For one of them, Avery and his group proposed that they create a web application with a focus on healthcare. When their instructor saw their proposal, he warned the group that what they wanted to accomplish might be ambitious given their current skill level. He nonetheless allowed the group to give it a shot. 

Two weeks later, the team submitted BetterHealth, a platform that connects patients and physicians online and allows them to communicate through instant messages on a platform with a modern interface. Avery admits that the platform wasn’t perfect, but he was pleased with everything the team accomplished. And the reaction from their instructor?

“When he saw the finished project, I felt like he was really impressed and satisfied with what we had done,” Avery said. “Our instructor always knew we could do it, he just wanted us to know what we were getting ourselves into.”

The sense of accomplishment after all that hard work was a highlight of the boot camp for Avery.

Following a passion

In between homework, class projects, and everything else going on at boot camp, Avery still found time to work on some passion projects. One such project was web-based gaming hub Aves Studios, which Avery envisions will one day be a destination for multiplayer gamers. Although it’s still a work in progress, Avery pours every bit of free time into bringing his site to life.

Avery loves the sense of fulfillment coding brings. To create something, all he has to do is think of an idea, program it, and release it into the world. Boot camp empowered Avery in a way he never felt before.

Beginning a new job

Avery now works as a systems analyst at Pacific Life, an insurance agency based out of California. His knowledge of the software development process affords him increased clarity that helps him excel in his role.

“It’s great to be a part of a team where everyone has years and years of experience,” Avery said. “I’m learning a lot every day and I love the new direction I’m heading in.”

When Avery first got word that he had secured his new job, he emailed his career advisor, Irene Tirella, immediately. 

“She was so happy for me when I told her! She had supported me for so long, it must’ve felt great for her too. Honestly, she was more excited than my mom was,” Avery laughed.

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