Student Spotlight: Jolene Melanson


January 31, 2024

8Minute Read

In high school, people called Jolene Melanson “bossy.” But, her classmates never objected to being in her group projects. After all, she knew how to lead and get everyone an A.  

She’s taken these natural-born leadership skills with her throughout her post-high school career, too. Whether as a Tech Consultant at Target or a Team Member at McDonald’s she’s always found ways to step up and lead.  

Being “bossy” has also led to Jolene’s latest endeavor: instructing a computer what to do by being a front-end and back-end developer student (and then mentor!) here at Promineo Tech.  

Discovering Promineo Tech through Nashua Community College 

“I always wanted to get into a coding bootcamp, but everything was so expensive. I knew I needed a bootcamp to hold me accountable, rather than just me,” says Jolene. 

In 2020, during an online job fair focused on the tech and manufacturing sectors, Jolene stumbled upon Promineo Tech software development bootcamps through Nashua Community College (NCC). The discovery of this new and affordable bootcamp option ignited a conversation with our admissions team and led to Jolene enrolling. 

The average coding boot camp costs more than $13,500. Through our innovative flipped-teaching and faculty model, our partners are able to offer comparable, quality programs for nearly a 4th of the average tuition. Learn more here. 

Facing financial constraints, Jolene secured COVID funding to make her bootcamp journey possible. “I was working at McDonald’s at the time, so I had no extra money and it was just perfect timing,” says Jolene.  

“My father-in-law is a software engineer, so he told me about how he doesn’t have a degree and how it may be tough, but you can become a software engineer without a degree if you try hard enough.” 

Motivated not only by the prospect of a new career but also by a vision of expressing creativity through software development, she took the plunge. 

“With software development, I can make webpages, I can make games, I can do a bunch of things, which makes the stuff that’s in my head into a reality. So it gives me a lot of freedom to express myself,” Jolene says. 

One way she’s currently expressing herself with her new coding skills is by creating her own video game. An RPG (role-playing game), centered around themes of inaction, choice, morality, and identity, showcases Jolene’s technical prowess but a profound ability to translate ideas into interactive experiences. 

Wondering how to pay for the pursuit of your passion? Read: How to Pay for Your Bootcamp 


Embracing failure in the learning journey  

While learning to code has been fulfilling on many levels, Jolene’s journey hasn’t been without its challenges. The fear of failure, a common hurdle for many, compelled Jolene to reevaluate her relationship with it. A saying on her phone wallpaper became a guiding principle: “Success requires the sacrifice of failure.” Embracing the notion that failure is a form of self-improvement, she navigated the bootcamp with a mindset focused on continuous growth. 

“You shouldn’t be afraid to fail, or sound silly, or think that you’re asking a dumb question. A question is a question, no matter what. And you can learn from anyone,” says Jolene 

Jolene’s learning journey through the front- and back-end bootcamps at Promineo Tech went beyond technical skills—because you get what you give, and Jolene gave it her all and then some. She actively participated in study groups, evolving from a quiet observer to a mentor, honing not only programming abilities but also essential soft skills. The experience emphasized the value of teamwork, communication, leadership, and the importance of seeking help when needed. 

“I like saying the word ‘failure’ because people always use it in a negative tone, but really it’s just self-improvement in disguise. You should embrace failure. Especially because when you are done, no one’s going to remember the many failures you had. I had people that were looking up to me and saying, ‘Wow, you’re the best programmer I know.’ I failed a bunch. But no one remembered my failures. They remembered the end result.” 

Jolene’s favorite part of her bootcamp experience was working with mentors and other students… 

“I think it just really helps when you have mentors. You have someone in your corner, it’s not only you that’s cheerleading for yourself. There’s mentors, there’s teachers, there are people that want to help you. Plus, you can create groups with other students and have this comaraderie and not be alone while you’re learning,” Jolene says.  

“Sure, you could technically do all that in self-guided learning, but it’s harder to do it by yourself, especially when you’re shy and especially when other people could cancel on you. Say, I make a group and then they keep bailing on me at the last minute, then I don’t have motivation to do that and I’m all alone.” 

After graduating from Promineo Tech, Jolene briefly became a mentor for the program—a role she found fitting and rewarding, before landing a full-time job at Liberty Mutual.  

“I was basically already being a mentor. I would help people in the help [Slack] channels or I’d help people in office hours or just message them and be like, ‘Hey, do you need help?’ So, when I got into actually being a mentor, it was nice. I’m very patient, and that helped,” says Jolene. 

A growing number of tech giants and startups alike are recognizing the value of coding bootcamp graduates. Read: Do Companies Actually Hire Bootcamp Grads?  


Second time’s a charm: landing a job at Liberty Mutual 

Jolene’s patience helped with more than just being a mentor—it made a big difference in her job search as well. 

“I landed the job the second time that I interviewed with Liberty Mutual, not the first time,” Jolene emphasizes. “So, even if you don’t get in the first time, it’s good to try to stay in touch with the recruiter. Never burn a bridge. And just try your best, no matter what. Even if it’s a no, it’s only a no for now.” 

Jolene is currently a Technology Associate at Liberty Mutual. While the position shares similarities with a software developer, the unique structure at Liberty Mutual frames it as a comprehensive learning and growth opportunity. Working on projects that require bringing ideas to life, Jolene collaborates with a team of 3-5 individuals, engaging in communication, opening repositories, acquiring new skills, designing interfaces, and creating mockups. 

“I like working at Liberty Mutual a lot. It’s very, very nice. We have a hybrid work model, but most of the time I am working remotely, which is a very nice thing,” says Jolene.  

One of the standout aspects of Jolene’s experience at Liberty Mutual so far is the incredible synergy within her tech search team. Open communication is not just encouraged; it’s embedded in their team culture. They share ideas, tackle challenges collectively, and foster an environment where everyone’s voice is heard.  

Recently there was a moment when Jolene found herself at a crossroads. Feeling a bit overwhelmed and frustrated, she realized that her preferred method of diving deep into research clashed with the team’s approach of embracing the bare minimum and diving straight into action. She took a brave step and shared her sentiments with the team, expressing her concern about feeling left behind. 

To her surprise, the team responded with understanding and empathy. She wasn’t alone in her feelings, and their collective honesty led to a reevaluation of the entire learning process. Together, they crafted new guidelines that accommodated different learning styles and ensured that no team member felt isolated or overwhelmed. 

“I have great communication with my team and a great team just in general,” Jolene says.  

Coding bootcamps that offer job guarantees cloud the reality of a real-life career change. Read: Why Bootcamps with Job Guarantees Aren’t What They Seem 


Navigating the job search journey 

It took Jolene 11 months to land her software development job post-bootcamp. While a long job search journey can undoubtedly test one’s patience and resilience, the ultimate goal of landing a fulfilling job and establishing a stable career path makes the endeavor worthwhile. Jolene shared insights into navigating this prolonged job search and maintaining motivation along the way… 

  1. Network and connect

During the job search, networking becomes a crucial aspect of the process. Engaging with recruiters, attending industry events, and connecting with professionals in the field can open doors to potential opportunities. Building a network not only enhances visibility but also allows others to vouch for your skills and expertise. 

  1. Attend office hours

Continue attending office hours, even after graduation. These sessions provide a valuable space to stay connected, offer assistance to fellow learners, and, most importantly, keep one’s skills sharp. It’s a symbiotic relationship where both giving and receiving support contribute to a sense of community and ongoing learning. 

“You kind of have the best of both worlds after you graduate,” says Jolene. “You can learn everything that you want to online and still get support from people in the office hours, so you always have someone in your corner.”  

  1. Learn continuously 

The fear of losing skills is a legitimate concern for many. However, actively participating in educational programs, workshops, or even independent projects can serve as a means to keep skills sharp and continuously learn. For Jolene, she built her video game to keep her skills sharp during her job search. 


The future is bright 

With dreams of releasing her video game and ultimately creating more, Jolene continues to find full-time fulfillment at Liberty Mutual and hopes to grow within the company.   

Feeling inspired by Jolene’s story? Explore how you can pave your own path to a rewarding tech career with available programs at Promineo Tech. 

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