Fernando Aguilar Made the Impossible Possible—with a Little Help from a Coding Boot Camp and a Loan to Pay for It

It can be difficult to develop a “whatever-it-takes” mentality to make the impossible possible. But for Fernando Aguilar, who completed the University of Arizona Coding Boot Camp, this drive comes naturally. 

Fernando’s path to the boot camp wasn’t exactly linear. He worked as a pharmacy technician and was known by his colleagues as the go-to IT guy. The thought of doing something more with computers was always at the back of his mind. Then one day, an opportunity came to the forefront in a serendipitous way. With the help of a loan, Fernando was able to propel himself forward. 

An unexpected chance for change 

After four years as a pharmacy tech, Fernando wasn’t exactly living his dream—but he wasn’t actively looking to make a career move either. Then he and his wife happened across an advertisement for the UA boot camp while browsing Facebook, and the cogs began to turn in Fernando’s mind.

“I turned to my wife and asked, ‘What do you think about me changing my career?’” he said.

She was understandably a little hesitant at first. After all, Fernando was already working two jobs and finances were tight. 

It seemed like a stretch, but Fernando knew they would manage somehow. He researched the program’s success rates and career placement services, and the numbers gave him the confidence he needed to enroll. When he found out about loan payment options, such as those offered by Climb, he realized they could be the ticket to his new career. 

“I wondered how in the world I would pay it back, but then I realized: it’s an investment in my future,” he said. “It’s a small investment, but a good investment.” 

Navigating new challenges 

When Fernando first stepped into the boot camp classroom, nearly six years had passed since he tackled computer science in high school. 

“I had the understanding of what most functions do and why things work,” he said. “My biggest challenge was to find the correct syntax to write it.” 

With all the time he was committing to class and his two jobs, Fernando found it was a struggle to squeeze in coding practice. Yet somehow, he got it all done. He discovered he loved working with JavaScript and React—and he was able to use this passion to inject fun and creativity into the projects he was doing. 

“My favorite was probably our second-to-last project,” said Fernando. “My group made a digital cookbook site where users could plug in the ingredients they had in the pantry and generate recipes they could make.” 

Building something from scratch was incredibly satisfying. But nothing was more satisfying than what came at the end of the boot camp. 

The road to a dream career

One of the main skills Fernando took away from the boot camp was being able to learn new things—fast. This helped make him more marketable to employers. As he began his job hunt, he also made great use of the boot camp’s career services

“I worked closely with my advisor, Heather Hans, to help make some introductions and give me insight into which companies were hiring,” he said. 

Even with this head start, the job market was tough.

“I was constantly applying to postings on ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Glassdoor, and Dice,” he said. “I did a full overhaul of my resume and career profiles so that employers knew I was no longer a pharmacy technician and had this extra experience.” 

He ended up landing a role as a software developer with Cyber Dive Corp., a company specializing in internet safety for kids—and peace of mind for parents. Fernando sees infinitely more opportunities for progression than in his previous career path, and he couldn’t be more excited to pursue them. 

Where there’s a will, there’s a way

Fernando credits the excellent support system for making his boot camp journey possible. Whether it’s using fellow classmates as a sounding board or exploring loans and flexible payment options, students can lean on Trilogy’s extensive resources to help make their dreams become reality. 

Of course, Fernando’s strong-willed determination also helped.

“My main advice would be to know it gets tough, but you can stick with it and use everything you’re given,” he said. “If I can move on from the program and be successful, even in my situation, anyone can.” 

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