How Galvanize helped Bryan Brophy retune his life.
In the summer of 2010, Bryan Brophy was lying on his bunk in the back of a tour bus parked in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on the phone with his wife who was home in Nashville. As they talked that night, Brophy, 23, had this feeling that a career on stage as a musician might not be the future he was after. Although traveling to perform night after night had its thrills, living out of a suitcase and waking up in an endless string of hotel rooms had become more stressful than fulfilling. Brophy and his wife decided that when he got home they were going to pack their belongings and head west to Seattle in search of a new life.
A combination of family ties, a rich artistic culture, and a budding tech industry led them to the Emerald City. Brophy picked up a barista job to pay the bills while he researched his next move. Shortly thereafter, he landed a temporary gig as an apprentice in the electrical union, which sparked in him a passion for math. While most kids were learning about the subject in high school, Brophy was skipping class to play music. Now, though, he found that he was fascinated by electrical circuits, algebra, and trigonometry.
Brophy started to think he might actually make a decent math teacher. He was energized by the thought of trying to inspire other kids who were uninterested in solving complex equations in high school. “I thought it would be powerful if I could share my story with students,” Brophy says. Problem was, he’d dropped out of high school to pursue music; if he wanted to teach, he’d have to go back to school.
To support his family—Brophy and his wife had since had their first child—Brophy worked full-time in the restaurant industry and enrolled in a full load of night classes at a local community college. A few years in, however, he’d become frustrated by the lack of time he had to spend with his wife and young daughter—and he was still years away from earning his degree. “When it dawned on me that I had two or three years of school left before I could stop working every moment of my life,” Brophy says, “I realized there had to be a better way to get the education I was looking for.”
At this point in early 2016, the technology boom occurring in Silicon Valley had spread to cities such as Austin, Denver, and Seattle. Brophy had a couple friends who were software developers and in talking with them realized that his newfound interest in math might also apply to coding. He started to explore the industry and found there were bootcamps where he could learn those skills in a fraction of time it was going to take to finish his math degree.
With his daughter in mind, Brophy shifted his career path once more. “I researched the hell out of every bootcamp in Seattle,” he says. “Galvanize offered a longer experience that seemed more professional; some of the other schools felt a little more like developer factories that take your money and spit you out a few months later whether you’re ready or not.” With only a month of self-taught coding experience, Brophy applied and was accepted to Galvanize Seattle’s six-month immersive Web Development program.
He excelled as a student—even while hanging onto his part-time weekend restaurant job. He also found time to volunteer as an instructor at free Learn to Code meetups hosted by Galvanize around the city. This fall, after five months in the program, Brophy accepted a job as a full-time web developer by High Seas Consulting, a San Francisco based web development company that’s also a member at Galvanize’s Seattle campus.
“Working for High Seas has been a dream come true,” Brophy says. “Before coming to Galvanize, I was drowning underneath the pressure of my future. Now I’m making more than twice as much money as I was before, and I don’t have to work every second of my life. Most importantly, I’m able to provide a life for my family that I never thought would be possible.”