From Bike Shop Manager to Developer: Denver Resident Fred Lintz’s Big Shift

From age 15, Fred Lintz worked in bike shops—as a technician, sales rep, and then manager. He loved it, but knew it wasn’t what he wanted to do for life.

“I was working every weekend and it was exhausting. I needed something new,” Fred said.

That’s what he found at the University of Denver’s Coding Boot Camp.

An interest born of necessity

In 2008, Fred was managing a bike shop in Gainesville, Florida. It was the height of the recession and business was tough—making it difficult to pay an outside service to manage their website. When a co-worker suggested they manage the site on their own, Fred was on board.  

“We didn’t know what we were doing. But with the drag-and-drop features [in WordPress], we didn’t have to know a ton. We made a great site, saved money every month, and I was really interested in the possibilities,” he said.

Fred started teaching himself HTML and CSS coding basics. For practice, he’d visit his favorite sites and attempt to recreate them using what he’d learned.

He picked up a lot on his own, but he never thought this would be a career. At least, not until he moved to Denver.

The chance for change

When Fred relocated, he didn’t have any problems finding a bike shop job. But the daily grind started to wear on him again—and he realized it was time for a change.

That’s when he found DU’s Coding Boot Camp.

He knew he couldn’t take three months off work to study full time, and the flexibility of the part-time program caught his eye. Fred had watched friends gain success as coders—and took a leap of faith.

Committed to flourishing

From the get-go, Fred made the decision to do more than keep up with the assignments, homework, and projects. To handle the intense curriculum and keep from being overwhelmed, Fred broke each project down into bite-sized chunks.

“Looking at a problem as one big thing was too much. It helped me so much to look at only small sections at a time,” he said.

He’s carried this technique into his professional life, too—and a fast growing career as a developer.

Opportunity, realized

A few weeks before boot camp ended, Fred was at work when some people from SmartEtailing—the company that managed the bike shop’s website—walked through the door. One of the guests was the company’s president, Ryan Atkinson.

After a quick introduction and a conversation about coding, Fred found himself interviewing with SmartEtailing’s software manager and was hired as a Junior Web Developer.

The great news? SmartEtailing caters specifically to bike shops.

“One of the biggest things I learned at boot camp was how to problem solve. I developed this fantastic mindset that lets me approach things in the most logical and efficient way,” Fred said.

Within his first six months on the job, he used these skills to do everything from front end development and SQL queries to creating new features and squashing bugs. He also enjoyed a $12,000 a year bump in salary compared to his job at the bike shop.

At the end of that six month period, Fred was promoted to a Developer I position: an impressive milestone in his new career—one that came with yet another salary increase.

But for Fred, the money is just a perk. His real motivator is becoming the best coder, developer, and programmer he can be.  

“That’s where I find joy: in being good at what I do and working hard. Boot camp wasn’t a walk in the park, but I’d absolutely do it again. In fact, I wish I would’ve done it 10 years ago,” he said.

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