Finding His Superpower: How Brian Lora’s Fail-Fast Mentality Got Him His Dream Job in Software
Every kid wants to be a superhero someday. Brian Lora was able to do it.
“It’s corny, but I was always interested in software because that is a superpower,” he said. “Understanding software, I can create anything that that comes to my mind. That’s the closest thing to being an actual superhero.”
With that goal in mind, Brian decided to put on his cape and enroll in the Columbia Engineering Coding Boot Camp—a move that changed his life for the better.
A quick start to a new life
After graduating from a school in the Bronx with an associate’s degree in business administration and management, Brian fell into a role he wasn’t entirely interested in: accounts receivable at a New York warehouse. The job was just a paycheck. But while he went through the motions, Brian’s mind was elsewhere—daydreaming about his old dream of being a superhero.
So he began teaching himself to code.
“I started having some conversations with people about the boot camp to learn more” Brian said. “They didn’t have to do much convincing. I was sold immediately.”
Just a couple of days later, Brian took the preliminary test. Within a week of finding the boot camp, he was in, ready to discover his superpower.
Working through the fears
On the first day of the boot camp, Brian was excited but nervous, which was a new feeling for him.
“I’m generally a very confident person since I have a sales background,” he said. “But most of the coding I’d done previously was in my home. Now I was in a room of bright minds. It was nerve-wracking.”
His fears quickly melted away. “From the first day, the instructor and TAs broke that barrier. They were ready and able to answer any questions I had,” Brian said. “After the first week, I was very comfortable. It was a very conducive environment for learning, and I felt right at home.”
It’s sometimes good to fail
Brian went into the boot camp with a desire to fail fast.
“I live by this ideology where if you’re going into this new venture, you want to get feedback on mistakes as soon as possible,” he said. “That way, you can start rectifying the mistakes.”
His three class projects gave him this opportunity. The first project—a website like StubHub where users could find local events—was definitely the hardest. Not only did Brian and his teammates have to navigate the newness of the software languages, they also had to figure out how to work together. But by the next project, the class had grown to know each other well, and the work felt so much more manageable and enjoyable as a result.
For the final project—Brian’s favorite of the three—he decided to work alone to test his skills through his fail-fast philosophy. He created a networking platform for people with technical backgrounds to come together and create projects together or find new job opportunities.
The platform was ideal for boot camp grads looking to forge ahead in their new software careers. But Brian had no use for it himself. He managed to find a career on his own.
Becoming a superhero
Two months into the boot camp, Brian put his ideology to the test and began to search for a new career. “After getting some confidence in my skills and feeling more comfortable, I decided to start applying to jobs,” he said. If nothing else, he figured he’d get better at interviewing, which would benefit him after graduating.
But what started out as just interview practice quickly turned into an unexpected opportunity. “I got a response from a start-up called Cryzen,” Brian said. “Though it was just an admin role, I figured I would be working with decision-makers at a small company, and maybe I could weasel my way into software.”
His plan worked. During the interview process, Brian’s newfound skills impressed the founders‚ but not as much as his willingness to learn. He was hired immediately.
Since landing the new gig, Brian has been able to blend his background in business with his new understanding of software to create the perfect job. “At the warehouse, I took a position because it was the best-paying position I had the skills for,” he said. “At Cryzen, it’s almost night and day. I get to work on software which is my passion, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Looking back, Brian knows that he couldn’t have gotten where he is today without the boot camp. His self-taught skills could only take him so far. The structure and support of the course helped him find the superpowers he always knew he had.
“I would advise anyone to take the course. You have all to gain and nothing to lose. The experience has been amazing,” Brian said. “I’ve acquired skills, thought processes, and new connections. The support was incredible. Even now, two months removed from graduation, the TAs are still answering our questions in the Slack channel!”
Brian is finally the superhero he set out to be. And with his coding superpower unleashed, he can do anything. Maybe even change the world.