September 2022 Student of the Month: Nereida Rondon
Growing up, Nereida Rondon was one of the little girls who always knew she wanted to be a teacher. From instructing a room full of teddy bears around her childhood chalkboard to teaching high school geometry and calculus, she’s always had a passion for learning and helping others do the same.
As a student herself, she learned that she quite enjoyed math and had a real knack for it. While she always wanted to be a teacher, it was not until middle school that she decided she specifically wanted to teach math. After graduating from high school, Nereida took a yearlong sabbatical that happened to turn into four years but was able to jump back in the saddle – or desk, rather – and earn her Bachelor of Science in Secondary Math Education at Florida SouthWestern State College then start her career as a high school math teacher.
Nereida enjoyed over a decade of teaching the next generation math and critical thinking skills before she decided to look into what else she might experience in a career. “The only type of promotion in education is to become administration, and while I’ve been department chair and head of clubs before, being an admin is not what I wanted long term.” Nereida shared. She also said she really didn’t want to leave the kids behind, but it was time for the next chapter in her life. The only question at that point was what would be the title of that next chapter?
In 2020, with all the chaos of COVID and other life events, Nereida felt enlightened. She knew it was time to make a change. She wanted to do something different but did not want to return to college because of how expensive and long it would be. So, down the rabbit hole, she went. Should she start a business? What would it be? Maybe something in instructional design and development for adults? These students would be more intrinsically motivated than high school students who had to be there. What to do?
She eventually started down the path of instructional design which led her to learn about Agile, pedagogy versus andragogy, and other design topics, and she started to make a portfolio. Then, Nereida wanted to make a website for her portfolio and started playing around with HTML5. “I really liked doing this,” she shared, “so, then I thought maybe I should do something different that I enjoy, and that could be coding.”
She then enrolled in a 3-week course that she completed in 1 week and really enjoyed it which left her wanting more. Shortly after, she was randomly on Facebook and saw that her alma mater, FSW, was promoting a new coding bootcamp they had launched in partnership with Promineo Tech. She went to the website, took a cognitive ability assessment (that she scored very high on), spoke with an enrollment advisor, and joined the bootcamp!
While being a math all-star is not necessary to excel at coding, Nereida said that her previous experience did help her early on in the program, especially with algorithms. Nereida shared how having an established pattern of learning has also helped her excel in the program. “Teachers do have to learn a lot of stuff all of the time, and we have to figure it out and then help other people learn it. Even outside of being a teacher, if I need to figure something out – I figure it out.” Such patterns and clarity in determination have been key to her success in learning to code.
When asked about the hardest part of learning to code, Nereida shared that finding where to start can be difficult sometimes. With one project, Nereida felt like she was just copying the code in the videos, but it wasn’t until she tweaked the code to make it her own that she started truly understanding how it worked. Because of that starter, the next big project that came around posed no threat to her. She was able to build the classic card game War without the need for any help.
When asked what her favorite part of the program was, Nereida shared a few things that she really enjoyed, including video content that was very clear and explicit, the creative freedom in picking what projects to build, access to a slack community and the ability to interact, communicate, and observe the discussions, and most of all, the one-on-one mentor sessions. “It’s nice having someone to talk to even if it’s just random questions. If I know I’m going to have a meeting with a mentor later, I’ll write a list of questions ahead of time.”
A video of one of the projects Nereida created in her Front End Software Development program.
With just a few weeks left of her 18-week Front End Software Developer coding bootcamp, Nereida’s plan is to continue learning and practicing to code and by the end of the current school year start a new role as a software developer. In fact, she has already started her continued education with another online course! However, she says that she would not have known where to start on some of the course activities had it not been for what she’s learned at Promineo Tech thus far.
Nereida’s dream job would be to combine her teaching expertise with her newfound love for coding and find a role at an EdTech company building software to improve education and change lives.
Huge congrats to Nereida for being selected as Promineo Tech’s September 2022 Student of the Month! We can’t wait to see where you take your career and how you shape the industry!