From High School Dropout to Coder: Kevin Davis’s Journey to Career and Life Happiness
When Kevin Davis was put in charge of an auto-parts warehouse, he noticed something strange.
“There wasn’t any official record keeping. They’d just write things down on scraps of paper and throw them away,” he said. “I thought this was crazy.”
Kevin decided to take improvements into his own hands and digitize the records himself. He didn’t know it then, but this choice would put him on the path to a stellar new career—and better quality of life.
The turning point
To build an entire record system from scratch, there was a lot that Kevin had to learn, starting with code.
“I was going to school online for business management and I thought I’ll just take a C++ class as an elective,” he said.
Kevin liked it so much that he immediately switched majors, using his new software knowledge to revamp the warehouse system. Something was missing, though. He felt he wasn’t progressing fast enough in his studies, which was making it hard for him to pursue the career he really wanted.
“I wanted to move into software development, but it was taking me years to get my degree. I didn’t graduate high school, so I felt I didn’t have a lot of options outside of online courses,” he said. “Meanwhile, I’m working crazy 60-hour weeks and hating my job.”
Something had to give. Determined to find a solution, Kevin started looking at boot camps. The University of Arizona Coding Boot Camp caught his eye. The curriculum included React, something Kevin knew was a “big deal.” He decided to enroll.
Learning to love learning
“I’m not a good student,” Kevin admitted. At least, this used to be true. As it turned out, the problem was not a lack of interest—Kevin had just been stuck in the wrong learning environments.
As an aural learner, he struggled in the online world, having to read every lesson. In the boot camp setting, everything clicked, and soon Kevin was thriving.
“In that sense, the boot camp was a lot simpler than college. I learned those concepts a lot quicker and on the first go,” he said.
Though lessons felt easier, they certainly required a lot of work.
“The classes are like exposure,” Kevin said. “You’ll find out about a concept and then have to go home and do 40 hours of extra work to learn everything. If you’re not ahead, you’re behind.”
After two weeks of the boot camp, Kevin was sold. The fast pace and real-world nature of the coursework made it feel both relevant and thrilling.
“I had done classes before where you only learn a small subset of coding that you may or may not use in the real world,” Kevin said. “With the Trilogy-powered program, they teach you what you need at breakneck speed. I loved it.”
A new path at last
With his newfound skills and confidence, Kevin was ready to make a serious change. By chance, his cousin had a friend who needed a developer to join his company, Lindsey Forwarders. Though he didn’t have a high school or college degree, Kevin was given a trial run.
The freight forwarding company was growing fast, and Kevin was tasked with updating and maintaining the server. On his first day, though, similar to his first day at his previous job, he noticed something strange.
“The previous software guy was self-taught. When he built the server, he did it with no relationships, so everything was free-flowing,” Kevin said. “I said to my boss We gotta scrap this whole thing.”
Kevin buckled down and created a data-filled, rock-solid server. This initiative would quickly pay off.
Proving his worth
Recognizing his value to the team, Kevin’s boss quickly hired him as a full-time developer—complete with a surprising starting salary.
“I figured that changing careers I was going to have to take a big pay cut to be a junior developer,” Kevin said. “During our initial talks, I was transparent with my boss that I was currently making $75K, knowing he wouldn’t meet it. But he did.”
The money was an added bonus. Kevin was just thrilled to be doing a job he enjoys—and one which gave him a better quality of life.
“I went from 60-hour work weeks to 40-hour work weeks, plus overtime,” he said.
With a better work-life balance, Kevin is able to bring more energy to both his work and home lives. The future has never looked brighter.
“I play racquetball in the mornings, come home to play with my kids before school, go to work, come home, play with my kids more, and I’m not tired,” he said. “My wife and I broke down and cried recently because of how good things are. All of the problems I had because of my old job are gone, and it’s all because of the boot camp.”