Launcher Stories – Meet Evan
Traditional education didn’t work for Evan. After working in the IT field and trying college, Evan enrolled in Launch Academy and finally felt everything click into place.
My name is Evan duBois, I was in Cohort 20, and I work at NantHealth. So I’ve had a lot of jobs over my life. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do. I started working in a children’s museum, then I worked in banking. I was trying to find a career and eventually, I found that I really liked tech, so I did tech support for a while, and found out that I didn’t enjoy the process of telling people to reboot their computer repeatedly, so I tried coding instead. I dabbled with it a little bit online, and found that I liked it and that it came more naturally to me than I expected.
So I started looking for different schools, different programs. I realized that getting a traditional four year degree wasn’t going to work quite as well for me, so I looked for different bootcamps, and I came across Launch Academy. Launch Academy worked really well for me. It was fast, but I still got a ton of knowledge out of it.
So I knew from early on that a traditional four year degree just wasn’t going to work out well for me. I have a learning disability that doesn’t crop up in too many things, but I have trouble with that translation from verbal to written, and the only time that it’s really a problem is school. I ended up doing a two year degree. I went to two different schools, jumping around, trying to figure out what to get my degree in. I started with accounting, I realized that was very boring, I bounced around a few different computer science degrees, which really slowed down the process. It took me four years, because I kept transferring, and I think the whole time I was just looking for that kind of guidance of just like, “This is what you should do, this program will work for you.”
And so funny enough, I’d actually heard about Launch when it was starting, I think around 2013. A friend of mine was enrolling in one of the first cohorts, and I had already planned to move out to Oregon to do something different and was like, “Well, that would’ve been good to know. Oh well, too late,” and then five years later, I’m working as tech support out in Oregon, realizing I’m really not enjoying it and I should’ve tried that coding.
And so I reached out to a few different people back here in Boston, and found out that more than just her had come to Launch, and they all had great things to say about it. I think verbatim, the response I kept getting was, “You get what you put into it,” and I didn’t understand that at the time, but it’s very much, just keep trying, you’ll figure it out. It’s going to be hard, but you’ll learn a lot. But the big barriers I ended up having was I had to move back from Oregon, and I had to realize whether I could do a different school out there. I already knew the reviews, the people here, moving was going to be a huge hassle. How do I get rid of all the stuff? There’s also just, is it worth shifting careers? I’d still be in tech, so a lot of that kind of transfers over, but it’s definitely not a one for one, coding is its own beast.
So what I found is that Launch clicked better for me, for where I was at. With a traditional schooling process, they’re much more structured on each individual class of what they’re allowed to accept. In elementary school, I was always told I couldn’t just use a spellchecker for everything, and in my schooling process, that was traditionally true. But as soon as you leave that and you go into the real world, that’s out the door, everybody Googles everything, everybody’s got a calculator in their pocket nowadays. And so what I found that worked for Launch is that they didn’t have to fit that strict structure. As long as you could prove that you were learning, that you were doing things, like they looked at the final product, much like the real world. Your boss isn’t going to care that you looked at a bunch of other people’s code to figure out how to solve your problem, they just care that you finished the project. And so, that kind of hands-on learning works a lot better for me, and I think a lot of other people too.
When I was here at Launch, we would have alumni nights, and so different alumni from different cohorts would come through and help you with your code. I took advantage of that in a different way. I needed help with my coding, but it was more I needed help mentally and being like, “I’m going to make it through this, right? There’s jobs afterwards?” And it was great talking to these people, and hearing from a bunch of different stories of where they had come from, where they had went. Some were still job hunting, some had landed a job immediately, and so then afterwards, I realized that’s kind of something I wanted to hand back.