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How Skillcrush Transformed My Career: Meet Becca Slosberg

Warning: serious career inspiration ahead. You are about to read the true story of how this woman transformed her life with the skills she learned (and confidence she gained) in Skillcrush classes. This series of articles illustrates how you too can accelerate, transform and take your career up a notch: from meh to awesome! Skillcrush opened new doors for them and it can for you too. 

Meet Becca Slosberg. Becca was working as a digital marketer, but found her job a bit… uninspiring. She wanted to build beautiful websites instead of just writing about them! When she got laid off, she knew she needed to make a change. Cue Skillcrush. Read her amazing story, featuring a dash of hard work, a boost of confidence, and the magic of an upcoming wedding!

Tell us about your new job.  

I am a Front End Developer at The Atom Group, a web development agency. We have some pretty big clients, and we also work with a lot of graphic design agencies who don’t have the capacity to code the sites they design in house. I work in both open source and .NET frameworks.

What initially motivated you to seek out lessons in digital skills?

I had been a digital marketer for a while, doing content creation, social media and SEO, but my passion was really in the more technical side of the job. I loved being a part of the website redesigns for clients and working within the various CMS platforms.

I love building things, but I didn’t have sufficient skills to do that.  I did not go to school for technology (I was an English major!) so I didn’t know it was something I could just go learn. My fiance is also a developer and he had taught a few of his friends, who now work with him and make a really good living. So I was inspired to learn to code myself.

What was your life like before Skillcrush?

Before signing up for Skillcrush, I had been disillusioned with the world of digital marketing. Then, to make things worse I got laid off and did not feel that I had sufficient skills to get a job in a development capacity as of yet.

Being laid off was very difficult for us. We were barely able to get by, bills went unpaid for months, we even considered moving out of our house because we were struggling to pay the mortgage. At one point our power got turned off, not a good thing when you have electric heat in NH in the winter. So between financial struggles and not wanting to be a marketer anymore things were bleak, to say the least.

How has your life changed after Skillcrush?

A lot has changed since Skillcrush!

The Skillcrush course helped me to put everything I learned together, something that I had been lacking in other online classes and books. It wasn’t just hands-on projects… it really took you through the development and design process and gave you a holistic understanding.

On top of that the community of students, teachers and alumni was invaluable. Being able to ask questions and talk to real people was amazing.

I was able to get the confidence I needed to go out and apply for development positions (which was an experience in and of itself!). The Atom Group, in Portsmouth NH, is an amazing web development shop. It’s a great group of people who really strive to be the best and do cool work. They focus a lot on employee development and teaching new technologies. It is the perfect place to start. I have been here just a short 6 weeks and I have already learned so much.

I don’t think I would have been confident enough to even venture into an interview if it had not been for Skillcrush.

Also! Our finances are back on track and we are now able to pay for our wedding in July. I just ordered my dress!!

 

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6 comments

  1. Hi Lauren, thank you!

    Initially I was just learning what I could and trying to get an internship. I was learning through every means possible – books ( I really like the headfirst series and the missing manual series), other online classes (codecademy and dash), and yes I did consider Skillcrush 102 (still considering it). What I liked so much about Skillcrush, and why attribute a lot of success to it is that it really gave a holistic view of the process. What I mean is that, for example, Codecademy will teach you the coding language, but you will not understand how to actually create a website, to do an entire project, from start to finish. Nor will you learn the vocabulary you need to venture into an interview and not feel like a complete imposter! Skillcrush also has actual teachers and peers that you can speak to and ask questions, i can’t tell you how valuable that was to me, after taking other courses and reading books and trying to figure out what they heck they were asking me to do!

    After skillcrush, what I did the most was just making up projects for myself to do. Taking screen shots of websites i liked and then coding them up myself. Working in an agency I find that being able to use Photoshop to cut up a websites and code them pixel perfect is one of the most critical skills. Designers expect a good developer to be able to do this.I also was fortunate that my fiance is a developer and would also give me projects to work on and critique my progress. I highly recommend finding someone who can do that for you, I am sure plenty of Skillcrush alum would be happy to look at your work.

    For this particular job it helped that I had a lot of experience working with clients and using CMS tools like WordPress and Drupal (from my previous life as a digital marketer). Being in a web dev an agency It isn’t terribly different from when I worked at a digital marketing agency,

    I went to several interviews too, and I got burned a lot. The interview process was a learning experience in and of itself. I was able to figure out from these interviews what types of skills i needed and what I should be learning next. i would come home from the interviews with notes on what I didn’t know, what questions I got wrong and look them up. (Yes you will get tests in these interviews! I was asked to do written tests, oral tests just answering questions, and even asked to code something on their computer).

    I admit, I got lucky. The Atom Group was really excited about my passion and desire to learn and consume everything i could and so they took a chance on me. I still make mistakes, and I am still learning and refining my skills. Currently I am working on really mastering CSS3, as that seems to be something I really need in my current projects. Next I plan on focusing on JavaScript and jQuery (I may see you in Skillcrush 102!)

    • Sara Replied

      Thank you so much for sharing Becca! I am out of work, and doing 102. I am feeling that gut wrenching under qualified, and I too am a digital marketer trying to break away.

      I want to start going to interviews, so it is good to see that you just went for it even if you weren’t quite qualified yet, and used it to learn.

      I have an interview for a marketing job this Friday, as the bills are starting to build up, but my heart keeps saying don’t do it!

      • The interviews are a great learning experience, just remember that when you go try not to feel bad when they say no. It was hard, but i kept reminding myself that i was learning more about what i needed to know and how I could be a better developer and candidate.

        As for the marketing interview, I went on a few of those too, because lets face it, the bills wont pay themselves.Only you know what is right for you.

      • Tisha Replied

        Was learning from interviews as straight forward as paying attention to what kinds of things they’d ask of you and realizing that you’d have to prepare for the next time you got that question? What was it like when you couldn’t answer?

      • Yes and no. Some interviews actually gave me a written test, I asked them if I could have a copy of it to use a learning tool after the interview was over. It wasn’t so much just preparing for other interviews, it was also realizing what the gaps were in my knowledge and making a plan to learn those things, whether it was buying another book to read that got into the more nitty gritty details of CSS or if it was just Googling the definition of something. Not knowing the answers was awful, mortifying, i felt like an impostor and it just plain old sucked to be quite honest. BUT if you have never been in interviews like this, where they literally test you, its a very good experience, no matter how awful it feels.

  2. Lauren Williams Replied

    Great story– congrats on your success, Becca! Out of curiosity, what was your gameplan after completing your first Skillcrush class? Did you take Skillcrush 102? Did you just continue developing websites on your own to get more experience? How much “experience” did you have when the Atom Group hired you? How long between Skillcrush and your first dev job? Once again, congratulations! Hope to have a story like yours someday!

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