How a Marketing Professional Used JavaScript to Transition into Tech

By: Emily Gregor

When you’re considering a career change, there’s often more to it than meets the eye. 

For 2019 Grace Hopper alumnae Wendy Sung, the immigration process added an additional roadblock. “It’s been a long journey for me. I went to school for advertising and I didn’t like it, but I stuck with it for six years,” Wendy said. “When you’re an immigrant on a work visa, you have to work in your field of study, but once I got my green card, I could evaluate what I wanted to do with my life.”

Interested in a career that enabled her to use both her creative and strategic skills, she started exploring coding and software engineering. “I evaluated my biggest values: intellectual stimulation, creativity, and continuous learning, and coding ticked off those boxes,” she said. “I researched different bootcamps and even considered going back to school to get a master’s, but ultimately, attending a bootcamp was the most affordable option for me.”

Grace Hopper students studying

As she continued her search, she worked alongside developers as a client strategist for a startup to make sure coding was the right fit. “I worked with engineers who were mostly men and, on occasion, experienced microaggressions and mansplaining, which I knew I wanted to avoid in a bootcamp environment.” Her experience led her to Fullstack Academy’s Grace Hopper program, a deferred-tuition option for students who identify as women, nonbinary, or gender nonconforming.

“I evaluated my biggest values: intellectual stimulation, creativity, and continuous learning, and coding ticked off those boxes,” — Wendy Sung, Software Engineer at Etsy

At first, she thought being in an all-women bootcamp would be intimidating, but over time, she found it inspiring and helpful. “When we were struggling in the junior phase, people were supporting each other, and it was really great to be in that environment,” Wendy said. “If I had done this alone, it would’ve been so much harder.”

During her program, she mastered JavaScript and was able to add multiple projects to her portfolio. “Having JavaScript as my second language was pretty useful. It’s obviously a very declarative language, so it seems intuitive, and it’s web-native, so if you’re going to be operating on the web, you need to know JavaScript,” Wendy said. “There’s always going to be something you don’t know in software engineering. It’s so limitless and it just keeps growing, no matter how far you advance up the ladder or how much experience you have.”

“There’s always going to be something you don’t know in software engineering. It’s so limitless and it just keeps growing, no matter how far you advance up the ladder or how much experience you have.”

After completing her teaching fellowship in July of 2019, Wendy joined Etsy as a software engineer. As for how her bootcamp education has helped her professionally so far, she says, “Aside from the technical coding skills … it’s the ability to learn new things quickly through developing a close understanding of your personal learning style in the context of coding. Essentially: knowing how to learn.”

“Aside from the technical coding skills … it’s the ability to learn new things quickly through developing a close understanding of your personal learning style in the context of coding. Essentially: knowing how to learn.”

If you’re considering a career change and think coding might be the right fit, start exploring the industry and talk to people in the field to see if you’d like it. Wendy’s advice? “The tech world is changing so quickly every day. Embrace the skills you’ve acquired in your previous industries and don’t be ashamed of them or think they’re irrelevant,” she says. “Once you’ve accumulated a certain level of experience, it can be hard to justify changing careers, but if you’re not feeling fulfilled and you think you have the interest and knack for it, it might be worth biting the bullet and pursuing a career that you’ll ultimately be happier with.”

Interested in learning more about the Grace Hopper program? Attend one of our upcoming information sessions in New York, Chicago, or online. 


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