Overcoming High Hurdles and Testing Limits: Sarah Niemann’s Pursuit of Web Development
Sarah Niemann has always enjoyed the challenge of jumping conceptual hurdles. “It takes a specific kind of person to want to continually shoulder problems and think in a solution-oriented way,” she said.
As a recent college graduate with a business entrepreneurship degree, Sarah sprinted into a role with Employment Technologies, a technology-focused simulation company. She ended up being placed on a hybrid marketing team and was tasked with integrating Salesforce software throughout the company’s platforms.
As a newbie to tech, the role forced Sarah to go from zero to one hundred overnight. She would eventually go on to tackle even more, becoming a full-stack web developer—but her journey started with a simple desire to find solutions to every problem she encountered.
From techless to tech wiz
Sarah never considered herself tech savvy. In fact, years ago, people would ask her a technology-related question before saying, “Oh, never mind—you don’t know.”
Suddenly, she found herself applying software to a large company’s systems. The opportunity helped her look at tech from a different angle, and she liked what she saw.
“Being constantly challenged made me realize that I really enjoyed problem-solving every day,” she said.
Sarah learned a significant amount about the coding space through her work and solo studies. Wanting to push her skills even further, she decided her next step would be enrolling in the UCF Coding Boot Camp.
Giving up freedom, finding community
Sarah knew the boot camp would be a time commitment. On top of working 40 hours a week, she was also planning her wedding, forcing her to focus that much harder.
“For six months, I barely had time for anything outside of coursework, class, and going to the grocery store,” she joked. “But my friends, family, and other personal relationships all became more rooted in understanding.”
Aside from having little free time, the boot camp was a wake-up call for Sarah. Despite her natural affinity for problem-solving, she realized coding does not come easily.
“You think you’re a superhero and can do it all, but the experience can be overwhelming,” she said.
Thankfully, Sarah developed close friendships during the boot camp—friends she could lean on for support in both learning and her personal life. She became especially reliant on the support of her project groups.
“Two of the girls I sat between even came to my wedding shower and baby shower,” she said.
Coding as a marathon, not a race
The concepts Sarah and her peers learned in class were consistently challenging, but the projects helped segment the boot camp and provide benchmarks to test students’ knowledge.
The first project Sarah worked on—her favorite—was one that her whole team was passionate to bring to fruition. “We built a tracker to display the location of the International Space Station using data coordinates and to tell users where they can view it based on their address,” she explained. The project was fun and allowed the group to really engage with the concepts they were learning.
Sarah’s second project was fueled by purpose. Inspired by a friend’s mission trip, Sarah sought to create a social good crowdfunding site that wouldn’t take a cut of the proceeds earned, unlike most major platforms.
The third and final project was one Sarah tackled on her own to prove her newfound skills. She built a task-completion app that could help on both professional and personal levels—keeping track of her coursework, as well as her school, bridal, and work to-dos.
“This was something I found incredibly useful, and it reminded me that getting creative in coding doesn’t have to start with a brand new idea,” Sarah said. “I took this as an opportunity to really practice what I was learning at the time.”
The sky’s the limit
Sarah tapped into the career services available through boot camp and was able to secure a role as a market analyst at her same company while in the program. Once she had developed her skills even further, she transitioned into a new position as a full-stack web developer and content analyst at Employment Technologies. The role synthesizes everything Sarah learned throughout the UCF Coding Boot Camp in front-end and back-end technologies.
Looking forward, she sees herself taking the industry hurdle by hurdle.
“So many people can benefit from technology, and I would ultimately love to jump into that even further,” Sarah said. “We can tell that artificial intelligence is the future and the sky’s the limit with what can be accomplished.”
Sarah encourages those following in her footsteps to prepare to put in the work and adopt the mindset of a true developer. Being willing to always hunt for a solution is essential if you want to succeed.
“People always ask me why I’m so interested in programming and coding, and I tell them that it’s because human beings are naturally challenged by adopting a solution-oriented point of view,” she said.