From the Source: Kaylyn Van Norstrand

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I have two bachelor degrees, TV & Digital Film and Public Relations. I also have a masters in Marketing & Communications. Out of school, my first job was a paralegal job—it got me out of Dunkin’ Donuts—and I’ve been stuck in paralegal work for about three and a half years working both foreclosures and collections. Basically, it was never a career that I wanted to continue with. I wanted a complete change.

My boyfriend went through Galvanize and when I saw the type of work he was doing, I wanted to learn, only different because I wanted to implement my design and marketing skills within websites. I took online coding courses, teaching myself for three months, with a full time job. I’d come home from my paralegal job and work a couple hours, if I had the time. One day, I came to Galvanize with my boyfriend and his instructor, Michael Herman, saw where I was at with the coding skills I developed and suggested I apply.


Kaylyn Van Norstrand at the Gather cafe in Denver, Colorado.

All my schooling beforehand has come pretty easy to me. This has been a lot more difficult. In the first few weeks, Javascript was extremely hard for me. It’s taken a lot of practice but now, honestly, I’m more confident with it. I’m not afraid to jump in and start working with something. Learning the backend portion hasn’t been that difficult for me. Everything was clicking together to the point that I had most of what I needed to make an app completely functional.

The instructors have helped a lot, especially with difficult issues. Michael, one weekend, when I was dealing with social authentication, he was there on Slack with me, working through it with me. Every time I’ve had a problem, the instructors have been there. And there are a few classmates, we work through problems together. It’s helpful seeing how others work through problems.

Over my break week, I’ve been helping my boyfriend with front end work for a company called CloudForest. His boss wanted to meet and she found out I have a marketing background too. Now I’m working with them as a front end developer and marketer, designing web pages to better connect with customers. The ideas I gave them on how to make the platform more marketable, they loved instantly.

What I really want, in the long run, is to combine marketing, design and development together and this internship is the start of it. I now have the skills to actually believe that I can do this as a career. It gives me more confidence to know this is the right path to follow.

-Kaylyn Van Norstrand, Full Stack Web Development student in Denver, Colorado. You can find her on Linkedin.

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