How Stephen Webb Went From Front of House to Front End Coding

Until recently, coding was the last thing on Stephen Webb’s mind. Running a pair of stores with his dad, he was busy keeping a business going and customers happy. But after six years in the retail game, Stephen found himself seeking a new challenge. 

“After so many years, I fell out of love with retail,” Stephen said. “I was looking for other things.” Having always been interested in coding though he never studied it properly — Stephen began dabbling with courses online.

Unfortunately, the options all lacked the detail and structure he craved. “The biggest thing for me was having deadlines, someone to push you,” Stephen explained, “plus having a teacher to support you.” 

After hunting on Google, Stephen found Vanderbilt University Coding Boot Camp and quickly enrolled: a decision that would wind up transforming his life — and career. 

“The Boot Camp Builds You From the Ground Up”

From the beginning, Stephen knew he had chosen the right program. “The boot camp builds you from the ground up,” he said. “They assume you have no prior knowledge and give you really good prep work before classes start to get your feet wet. Then they get you started with HTML and CSS, before diving into JavaScript.”

It was at this point that Stephen found his calling. While intrigued with backend languages like Python and node, he focused squarely on front-end development — perfecting pages that website readers would actually see. 

“I fell in love with the front end of things — with CSS, and then incorporating that into JavaScript,” he explained. This was especially true after he got more confident, with rigorous homework assignments and a plethora of group projects. 

Even better, adds Stephen, his instructors were always there to help when he got stuck. “Our TA was awesome,” he said. “I think everybody that’s teaching has sort of been in our shoes before, so they want to help you. How we do is a reflection on them.”

“The Front End Guy” 

By the end of the boot camp, Stephen had become known as the “front end guy” — something he brilliantly leveraged in his job search. 

“I marketed my strengths and passions,” he said. “Once I graduated, I decided to market myself as a front end developer. I redid my portfolio three or four times, and just tried to make it visually appealing.” 

Still, landing a dream role wasn’t easy. Stephen applied to nearly 100 jobs and secured interviews for just ten, making perseverance key. 

Looking back, he’s keen to emphasize how his boot camp experience helped throughout the entire process. Leaning on everything he’d learned in class, Stephen eventually snagged a role as a front end developer at the mobile marketing company Tatango. At work, he credits his soft skills to the boot camp’s collaborative model. “Working together on a team and having a good experience was huge. I don’t think I could have learned that on my own.” 

Today, he can say with certainty: “Enrolling in the boot camp was the best decision that I’ve made in my life. I have no regrets.”

“The Hardest Thing Is Just Getting Started”

Stephen may have no plans to leave his current role — “I’m just happy to be able to learn under a lot of really smart people” — but he is already excited to continue the journey he began in the boot camp. “The hardest thing is just starting out,” he said. “I would love to have the skills to land future jobs more easily.” 

There’s no reason to doubt him. From the front desk to the front end, he’s already come so far — and there’s no telling where life will lead him next.  

Want to switch careers and gain new skills along the way? Learn about Vanderbilt University Boot Camps in coding, data analytics, cybersecurity, and digital marketing.

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