Skip to content

Partner Spotlight

6 Learners Who Turned to Boot Camps as Affordable and Accelerated Pathways for Gaining In-demand Tech Skills

Written by 2U on Jul 27, 2022

Related content: Boot Camps, Learner Stories, Impact and Outcomes

Clockwise from top left: Melvin Hernandez, Cindy Pappas, Joshua Latour, Juan Pablo Sada, Zachary Grinacoff, Andy Durette

Craving more fulfillment or income. Getting let go from a job. Pursuing a passion never thought possible. As the 2021 Gallup-2U Boot Camp Graduates Study illustrates, there are countless reasons why people decide to learn new tech skills. But whether the educational journey is planned or unexpected, the program chosen needs to be worth the time and money committed.

The following six professionals—hailing from Tennessee to California, Toronto to Mexico City—chose a 2U-powered university boot camp because it was an affordable way to accelerate their tech skills learning with quality curriculum and instruction they knew they could trust. Whether they chose a part-time or full-time learning experience, they each found value in their boot camp’s combination of online flexibility, real-world instruction, and robust support services—and their investments paid off with rewarding jobs in web development, software engineering, data analytics, and more.

From Truck Driver to Tech in Tennessee

Joshua Latour had always been a technology tinkerer, but for most of his life, he believed he’d never have the time or money to pursue the credentials needed for the software engineering field. So he moved into commercial truck driving followed by a job at a marble and granite countertop company. After saving up a little extra cash, Joshua realized that education was finally an option—and coding boot camps were an affordable way to get the skills he needed. He enrolled in the part-time Vanderbilt University Coding Boot Camp and used his new skills to build an inventory system for his company, which then turned around and offered him a full-time web developer role.

From Project Manager to Promotion in Kansas

After spending 10 years as a paralegal, Cindy Pappas went to work for Sprint, where she was exposed to the world of data and loved it. Through the company’s tuition reimbursement program, she began researching data analytics education options and decided on the University of Kansas Data Analytics Boot Camp. Cindy acquired a loan to pay the tuition up front and was then reimbursed for half of it after earning her certificate. “Having alternative financing options was going to make or break this—it was amazing how accessible it became,” she says. She received a promotion right after the boot camp, going from project manager to business data analyst practically overnight.

From “DREAMer” to Web Developer in Chicago

Thanks to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) undocumented immigrants program, Melvin Hernandez was able to earn an associate degree in Engineering Science and Computer Engineering near where he grew up in Chicago. After two years of working as an electronics repair technician, he opened his own business—yet he knew his career prospects would be better with more education. The Northwestern Coding Boot Camp appealed to him because of both the university’s reputation and the program’s affordability. Within one month of earning his award of completion, Melvin secured a position as a web developer in Chicago and was recently promoted to software engineer.

From Layoff to New Languages in California

Zachary Grinacoff worked as a business systems analyst for almost three years, but then layoffs sent him back into the job market. In order to find a job that would make him happy, he knew he needed to acquire a whole new skill set. He was interested in data analytics but he wasn’t sure whether to pursue a master’s degree or enroll in an accelerated boot camp. Drawn by the small classroom sizes, broad curriculum, robust career services, and affordable cost, he ultimately chose The Data Analytics Boot Camp at UCI Continuing Education. With languages like Python, SQL, and JavaScript under his belt, he re-entered the job search and after a month received three job offers.

From Front-End to Full-Stack in Toronto

As a front-end web developer, Andy Durette felt limited in his career growth. He knew that learning full-stack development would give him the fulfillment and “big picture creative control” he was seeking, but after studying Art and Digital Media in college, he didn’t want to spend four more years on another degree. The University of Toronto SCS Coding Boot Camp offered the perfect alternative—an affordable option for gaining the skills he needed to advance his career in a short period of time. So Andy left his job to focus on the coding boot camp full-time, and soon after landed a software developer role, as well as the opportunity to be an assistant instructor for future coding boot camps.

From Data Buff to Business Analyst in Mexico City

Juan Pablo Sada had studied industrial engineering as an undergraduate in Mexico City. He was looking for a simple way to enhance his understanding of data analytics so he could launch a promising career in data science. The Tecnológico de Monterrey Data Analytics Boot Camp gave him a low-risk and relatively low-cost opportunity to explore new areas within the field. Directly after graduation, he began working as a business analyst at Ben and Frank, a trendy eyewear startup. “The boot camp really opened my mind,” he explains. “It also helped me realize that this is exactly what I want to be doing.”


Learn more about us.

At 2U, we’re on a mission—to eliminate the back row in higher education and help partners thrive in the digital age. To learn more about who we are and what we do, follow the links below.