Code Labs Success Story - Patrick Oswald
How Patrick shifted his career focus from boats to software development because of Code Labs.
February 1, 2023
Before Code Labs
After earning his associate’s degree in pursuit of an engineering degree, Patrick ended up starting a small business that he owned and operated for over five years prior to beginning the Code Labs1 program.
Patrick’s Code Labs Experience
Name: Patrick Oswald
Job Title: Software Engineer at Computer Services, Inc.
Hometown: Paducah, KY
With zero coding experience and a passion for boating and entrepreneurship, Patrick entered into a completely new industry in software development with no clear idea where this path would take him.
“I would sum up my Code Labs experience as challenging, yet rewarding. In the beginning, the program pushed me to learn the fundamentals of web development, but by the end of the program, it gave me the confidence to enter the job market. I found it positive to pair program alongside individuals who were also aspiring to learn a new skill and the connections made with both the students and code coaches were valuable in my journey to becoming a web developer.”
Participants of the program are mentored by professional software developers – also known as code coaches – who guide them through the curriculum, employer capstone projects, and paid work experiences.
“The Codefi Code Coaches helped accelerate my understanding of the course material. They felt less like “teachers” and more like mentors — striking the right balance between offering solutions and encouraging me to seek out answers on my own. They were approachable and always quick to provide assistance and deeper explanation. They created a fun, open, and supportive learning environment that motivated me to explore concepts beyond the core course content.”
Employer partners play a vital role in the Code Labs program, becoming fully integrated into each cohort. They host employer-led capstone projects and paid work experiences, helping further connect trainees to the tech industry, and have the first pick of new digital talent ready for hire. Patrick worked with two employer partners during the course of his time in the program — Computer Services, Inc.2 and IHM Used Parts.3
“The most beneficial part of the employer capstone project was the collaboration with other students to apply what we had learned. During the capstone project, you realize where you and others have developed strengths, and it was a rewarding process to balance and utilize these to complete the project successfully. There was a lot of communication that took place both within the team and with the employer contacts. This internal and external collaboration provided insight into what it might be like working as a team of developers.”
Post-Graduation and How Code Labs has Impacted Patrick’s Life
Patrick was invited to participate in Codefi’s paid work experience under the mentorship of the Codefi Labs software developer team. Through this experience, he was introduced to working on a custom-built project, applying newly learned skills to meet project requirements while balancing weekly standups and one-on-ones with the lead developer.
“At first, it was a bit daunting laying code for a real-life project, but it quickly begin to feel natural to participate in daily standups, sprint reviews, and meetings with the client. This firsthand insight into the professional development process with a dedicated project manager and Codefi developers left me feeling more confident to apply for software development jobs. Seeing my impact on the new IHM website, I realized I was capable of contributing to projects at a professional level.”
Over the course of a year, Patrick went from owning and managing a boat detailing business while taking Code Labs to still owning his boat business and also becoming a full-time Software Engineer at CSI. He is living the best of “boat” worlds!
“Code Labs prepared me to enter a field in which I had little to no previous experience, opening the door for me to learn and explore new career paths. Upon completing this program, I was quickly able to put myself and my family in a better position and achieve a greater work-life balance in the process.”
Life for Patrick After Code Labs
Patrick’s time spent with the team at CSI has led him to have a healthy work-life balance allowing him to step away from his work at the end of the day and kickstart creativity and problem-solving with his team the very next morning!
“Code Labs was the tip of the iceberg in my journey as a developer. I’m currently employed at CSI as a software engineer working as part of our innovation team. This has exposed me to new programming languages and frameworks, some of which I’m now exploring through personal projects in my free time. Being a full-time developer has given me and my family more stability. Along with the ability to achieve a better work-life balance, a hybrid schedule has allowed me to better support my wife and daughter.”
Patrick’s Day in the Life as a Software Engineer
“A big part of my day-to-day as a software engineer is encountering new, unfamiliar situations and then, through collaboration and research, coming up with solutions. I am currently part of a team with a broad scope and enjoy exposure to diverse new concepts, technologies, and challenges all the time. There’s never a dull moment and always something new to discover right around the corner.”
Advice to Future Code Labs Applicants or Students
“Put the time in and stick it out to the end. There will be moments when you feel completely lost and want to give up — don’t do it! Continue to push forward and you will be amazed at what you comprehend and have achieved by the end of the program.”
“If web development is something that interests you, then the Code Labs program is a tremendous opportunity to explore it firsthand and one that can have tremendous impacts on your life. The content and support the program provides are top-notch and certainly worth the time commitment.”