Changing Keys: One Student’s Surprising Journey From Music Teacher to Front End Developer

Embarking on a new career is never easy — but Northwestern Coding Boot Camp helped Adi Cepela launch a fulfilling career in front end development without skipping a beat. 

Adi understands the level of commitment that it takes to master a new skill. After all, she’s played the violin for 18 years. To her, a few months of coding boot camp sounded like it would be a breeze. Explore Adi’s full boot camp experience below to learn more about her journey and the skills she picked up along the way. 

A change of heart

“Music has always been a huge part of my life,” said Adi Cepela. It was supposed to be her career, too. “In high school, I thought music was going to be my job forever,” she explained. 

After graduating from VanderCook College of Music with a degree in music education, Adi started living what she thought was her dream — teaching music to middle school students and playing violin in the community orchestra. Quickly, Adi discovered that her love for music was outmatched by the emotional toll of teaching. 

“Trying to share my passion and being met with negativity and brick walls took a lot out of me.” Ultimately, Adi decided that she needed a change. 

Life after music 

Adi’s life mission had always been simple: music or nothing. “I didn’t have a backup plan,” she shared. After painstakingly crafting what she thought was the perfect narrative, she needed to rewrite her story — with only the milk-white surface of a blank canvas to comfort her. 

“I started exploring basic office work. I really just wanted to get out of education,” said Adi. After spending some time thinking about what a career outside of music might look like, she still didn’t have a clear answer. 

Then, rather suddenly, Adi discovered her interest in web development and never looked back. After seeing an ad online for Northwestern Coding Boot Camp for full stack development, Adi realized that she had nothing to lose. “I was looking for a new career, so I clicked on the ad and tried some Codecademy demos just to see what it was all about — or if I even liked coding,” she shared. 

Adi was at an endpoint in her career as a music teacher. “I was either going to keep struggling and hoping for a better outcome, or I was going to make a change and try something new,” she said. 

Northwestern Coding Boot Camp was the perfect next step. 

New skills for a new career

During the boot camp, Adi picked up vital skills and laid the groundwork for a fulfilling career in web development. “Within the first two weeks we were learning HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and Node — all of which I use regularly now,” she shared. 

In addition to teaching industry-specific skills, the program helped Adi prepare for a career in a team-focused environment. “Learning how to work in groups and as part of a team is important if you want to succeed,” she explained.

The boot camp also gave Adi the guidance she needed to build a strong portfolio of professional-caliber work during the program — which helped her land a job in web development shortly after completing the program.

A perfect balance

Starting a new career has already made Adi happier. “The stress is still there, but it’s a good stress,” she said. Instead of getting bogged down by the pressure of teaching, Adi is now busy using her creativity to provide clients with elegant solutions to their digital problems. 

The boot camp also gave Adi the freedom she needed to find fulfillment in and outside of work for the first time in her career. Now, alongside her career in front end web development, Adi continues playing violin in the community orchestra — striking a perfect balance between her lifelong passions and newfound interests.

Looking to change your tune? Explore the Northwestern Boot Camps offered in Coding, Data Science, Cybersecurity, and FinTech.

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