How an Online Boot Camp Gave This World Traveler Skills She Can Use to Work From Anywhere

Ashley Hart didn’t always know that she wanted to code, but she always knew that she wanted to travel. As a free spirit who loves living in new places, Ashley wanted a job that she could do from anywhere in the world.

Ashley’s career involved work in many fields, from nonprofit organizations to customer service centers. Interested in working remotely, Ashley decided to enroll in a graphic design program — and was surprised that the technical components came more naturally than the artistic pieces. 

As the gears turned, Ashley decided to enroll in the online University of Denver Coding Boot Camp. The remote boot camp ended up helping her build the exact skills needed to achieve her ultimate goal: following a career path that she could pursue from anywhere.

Committing to the challenge: Entering the field with full focus

At the start of boot camp, Ashley was new to coding: she came in with only a bit of HTML and CSS knowledge that barely scratched the surface of what she was about to learn. She knew mastering the material would be tough, but it was a challenge worth tackling if she wanted to carve out a stable yet flexible career for herself. 

“The boot camp was the first time in my life where I was ready to focus on something,” Ashley said. Used to moving around from industry to industry, the boot camp was a space where Ashley committed her time and attention to one thing: learning. And with all of her learning channeled online, she was also able to gain confidence using digital tools like Zoom to build the same strong relationships with other students and instructors one might expect from an in-person program. 

As new skills like JavaScript were introduced, Ashley started to worry that maybe she wasn’t up for the challenge. But she kept persisting through the hardest parts with total support from her instructors. Even though the class was held online, help was never far away. With breakout rooms on Zoom and flexible office hours that Ashley could fit into her schedule, online learning set her up to tackle even the toughest challenges.

Moving from zero to 100: Turning skills into projects 

Throughout the boot camp, learners don’t just gain skills — they apply them to real-world projects, like data analysis tools and functional apps. Online learners master many of the same tools that remote workers need to use, including different video conferencing technologies and communication platforms. The online boot camp enabled Ashley to work on projects remotely and collaborate with other team members to combine code and create functional final products, giving her a workplace-level knowledge of remote operations.

During her first project, Ashley felt the challenges piling up; it was her first time combining code with others and her first time navigating complex group projects remotely using Zoom. But by her second project, she had found a rhythm. For the final project, Ashley and her group used React — a JavaScript library she learned in the boot camp. The final product was a gaming app called Time to Kill, designed to help people pass time. Styled and built with complex code, the app was a functional program that could entertain users, connect them with cooking recipes, and engage in other activities. 

“I learned so much on that final project just by fixing all of the different mistakes that came up in the process,” Ashley said. “That’s how I learn best: responding to different issues, having lightbulb moments, and pushing the project forward with my group.”

Moreover, Ashley was fine-tuning her online work skills. Working with any team can be a challenge, but doing so online requires a unique set of skills. Collaborating, problem-solving, planning, and combining code virtually gave Ashley applicable experience that helped position her to succeed in remote work after completing the boot camp.

Getting on the road: Gearing up to go remote

With the help of instructors, peer support, and a lot of hard work, Ashley completed the boot camp strong and has kept going. “I’m still learning every day,” she said. 

Ashley has lived in Washington, road-tripped across the United States, traveled to Canada, and planted roots among the Rocky Mountains. Ashley left the boot camp determined to secure a position that combined her first love of travel with her newfound passion for coding. 

As she entered the world of recruiting, Ashley tapped the boot camp’s Career Services team to get support preparing for interviews and polishing her resume. Before long, she landed work as an independent contractor at First Turn Media, a creative technology company that helps small brands. 

“One of my main goals in [the] boot camp was to come out with a remote job, so I viewed every day as on-the-job training,” Ashley said. These skills have translated into Ashley’s everyday work, enabling her to keep doing the things she enjoys and discover new skills she never knew she had.

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