From the Source: Why Former Personal Trainer Andrew Vandermeer Learned to Code


I owned my own personal training business and I coached at a CrossFit gym before coming to Galvanize. I’d been doing that for about eight years and was looking for something else. I almost got my pilot’s license. I got my mortgage broker’s license. I tried some real estate stuff, just bounced around a little bit. And a friend of mine introduced me to Matt Leach and the HTML CSS class, and that just totally stuck. And I was like “Cool, this is what I want to do.”

One of my clients was a pilot, so he got me into that. I took their beginner’s level course and just flew a few times. I got about eight hours under my belt.

It’s more of an expensive hobby than anything else. Unless you go to like the Air Force or you’re coming out of the military, you can fly planes then. But for a civilian, it’s years before you actually get a job that you could actually do something with flying. Hopefully, after graduating and getting a job, I can pick that back up and actually get my certification, then I’m gonna do that.

One of my friends did some side projects with Matt. And Matt was the instructor. Seeing him going into it, code looks like hieroglyphics and a completely different language, which was also something that I was thinking about doing. I was trying to pick up another language. So why not learn computer language?

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It was pretty cool to apply creativity with the logic and the programming. Especially getting into more JavaScript, it was nice to have that challenge on my mind rather than what I’ve been doing with my body for the past eight years.

From owning my own business, I feel like networking has been a strength of mine. Especially coming into this world, you find people that are a little bit more introverted, and they have a problem with that.

It’s been nice to hit networking events with some of my people, my cohort, because then I can introduce them and teach them about body language and like how somebody’s talking to you, how to respond back and how to push them a little bit. So I’m grateful that I’ve had eight years of running my own business to market and build my own business and then have to switch that over and just basically apply it to networking and marketing in the coding world.

Getting into personal training, it was a really strong passion of mine. And after about eight years of it, it just kind of became work. I didn’t really lose my passion for it, but I missed being able to go to the gym and work out with my friends and get the stress out of the day and then move on.

I’m really excited about code, because code will, hopefully, eventually build that back up where I won’t have to go to the gym to work. I can go to play. And I can enjoy doing code and doing what I need to do throughout the day and then go workout and then go about my day. So I’m really looking forward to that.

For people thinking about doing the immersive program, I would definitely try to do as much pre-work as possible. The more JavaScript that you can kind of grok, the better you’re gonna be. Definitely, the workshop totally helped. If I walked into this program without anything, I’d totally be behind and having to do more one-on-one time and putting more work on top of the 10 or 12-hour days that I’m already doing.

Also rest. Lot’s of rest. There are some nights where you just want to keep working, and you just have to know when to turn it off.

-Andrew Vandermeer, Galvanize Web Development Immersive student in Denver, Colorado. You can find him on LinkedIn.


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