Software Engineering Bootcamp
Alexander Aboutanos
Before Springboard:
High school teacher
After Springboard:
Software development consultant at Sogeti
“The career coaches at Springboard were top-level recruiters from big companies who knew all the tricks of the trade, and they gave me the tools to succeed when the time came.”
“The career coaches at Springboard were top-level recruiters from big companies who knew all the tricks of the trade, and they gave me the tools to succeed when the time came.”
Meet Alexander Aboutanos, a graduate of Springboard’s Software Engineering Bootcamp.

Alexander Aboutanos has two bachelor’s degrees, one in religion and the other in philosophy. For two years, he taught at the Holy Spirit Preparatory School in Georgia, educating students in history, language, philosophy, theology, and mathematics.

His first year of teaching was copacetic. He loved imparting knowledge to amenable young minds. But his priorities changed when his first child was born. Living in the suburbs of Atlanta, his commute to the city center (1.5 hours one way with lousy traffic) ate up too much time, especially with a young family at home. Alexander began to dream of working remotely.

A friend who graduated from Springboard’s Software Engineering Bootcamp encouraged him to switch careers, just like he’d done. “He told me it was possible to have a completely different career in nine months, regardless of your background,” Alexander recalls. “At first, I thought it was just a pipe dream.” The same month he graduated from Springboard, Alexander landed a job as a software development consultant for Sogeti, a subsidiary of the Capgemini Group. As for that remote job he dreamed of? He has it now.

Tell me about your career path before Springboard.

I earned degrees in religion and philosophy. I taught humanities at a high school and loved it for the first year. Things suddenly changed when I had a baby. The long commute became difficult. I began to envision something else for my family.

Why did you decide to study software engineering?

I wanted to provide well for my child, so I knew I needed to change careers. I wasn’t sure what to do. I was already locked into a career and had all these degrees, so I didn’t want to return to school.

I learned about Springboard from a friend who’d completed the Software Engineering Bootcamp. The more I spoke to him, the more he gave me confidence.

How has being a software engineer helped you reach your goal of providing for your family and spending more time with your kids?

I get to work remotely, support my wife, and spend more time with my child. In tech, there are so many opportunities for advancement or to take your career in different directions. That was exciting to me and a way to ensure I could provide for my kids day in and day out, even in a challenging economy.

What do you hope to accomplish in the next few years?

Honestly, I'm not sure. As a full-stack developer, I can go in many directions. I could move into management. I can further my technical knowledge to the ‘nth’ degree. The beauty of it is there are a lot of options. I learn something new in my job every single day.

Tell me about your new role as a software development consultant at Sogeti. What does your day-to-day look like?

Sogeti is owned by Capgemini, one of the largest IT consulting firms in the world. We consult for Chick-fil-A. I’m on a small team that handles customer feedback and reviews. Our team handles the back-end portion of receiving customer reviews and responding appropriately.

It’s fun. Chick-fil-A does an excellent job caring for its customers, and I get to see how that’s implemented. I'm good friends with a few of my colleagues, and we have a supportive environment where people are willing to help whenever you need it.

Why did you choose Springboard?

Before choosing Springboard, I considered other options, including a four-year bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or just teaching myself. If I had to choose again, I would choose the bootcamp, hands-down.

A four-year degree would take too long, especially with a family to provide for. Then there’s the cost of the degree. Bootcamps teach you the exact skills employers look for.

What was your schedule like during Springboard?

I would teach in the mornings and afternoons. I’d get home at five. I would study from 5 pm to 10 pm during the week and on Saturdays and Sundays. It was hard work, but after six months of doing that, I was ready to switch careers.

What did you think of the curriculum? Did you like the way it was structured?

Honestly, the content focuses precisely on what employers are looking for. Do you know about APIs? Do you have a grasp of two or three of the most popular programming languages? When it was time to interview for jobs, I was ready to say yes to all of those things.

Who was your mentor, and how was your relationship with them?

My mentor was Jasmeet Singh [senior software engineer at HashiCorp]. He’s worked at some top-level companies in Silicon Valley. He was incredibly technically competent and took care of me as a mentee. He had a baby at the same time as I did, so we’d send pictures and commiserate over the sleepless nights. In addition to his immense expertise, we had a great personal connection. I graduated two years ago, but he continues to be the main person I reach out to and ask questions. He’s just a great guy.

Did you experience any challenges learning the material without a technical background?

You start from step one all the way to building your own full-scale web application. You can send the link to your friends. I learned about APIs and JWTs (JSON Web Tokens). I was trained in Python and JavaScript. I didn’t know why I needed to know these things while I was learning, but now I can look back and say that was super valuable information and see the logic behind it.

What did you think of the career coaching?

My career coaching sessions were super helpful. Also, there was an entire portion of the Springboard curriculum that was career-focused. I learned how to build an attractive LinkedIn profile. Some of the career coaches were top-level recruiters from big companies who knew all the tricks of the trade, and they gave me the tools to succeed when the time came.

What was the most helpful advice you received from your career coaches?

They reminded me to get involved in my local community and meet people, shake their hands, and ask about their work. At the end of the day, it’s about who you know. I landed my job through a friend of a friend who was able to vouch for me.

Many people are understandably concerned about the recent mass layoffs in tech, which might lead them to reconsider entering this industry. What advice would you give them?

I see technological advancement as the future and think it will continue to push the economy forward. When you become a developer, you’ll face imposter syndrome. You think everybody else knows everything. It takes fortitude and confidence to say, “I’m going to get in there. I can do this. Companies are looking for my skills.” Information is at your fingertips–whether you use ChatGPT or Google, it’s all right there. My company is hiring a few senior Java developers.

Since you mentioned ChatGPT, what are your thoughts on how generative AI will impact the software engineering profession?

Most of what we do in software development is trying to automate processes. Whenever something is automated, there has to be someone at the helm learning how to use the new automation tool. Even though I use ChatGPT in my work, I’m somewhat confident our jobs aren’t threatened by it because there will always be somebody who needs to operate and maintain these automation tools.

What do you use ChatGPT for?

I use it whenever I need to ask a question about software development. Its answers are usually helpful or at least provide a starting point that tells me where to go next. We recently implemented a static code analysis tool called SonarQube, which improves unit test coverage, scans code, and finds bugs. I find it beneficial for the APIs we operate with.

What was the most valuable part of your Springboard experience?

My relationship with my mentor. Having an industry professional look over your work and tell you how to succeed gives you confidence. He believed I could do this and knew I was on the right track.

What do your friends and family think of your career switch?

I spend more time with my family, and they can sense that I am genuinely a happier person. They can see that my success in the tech industry has been very positive for me. My two-year-old son gets to spend more time with me now that I don’t spend so much time in the car.

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