The Intersection of Design and Tech: How One Boot Camp Student Found a Career Using Skills Old and New
Clayton Bondy developed a casual interest in coding during his time at Louisiana State University. While majoring in architecture, he decided to take on a minor in digital media arts. This allowed him to dabble in video game development, and he soon developed a passion for tech. Little did he know that this experience would one day inspire him to turn a minor interest into a major part of his life.
“I realized pretty quickly in college that architecture proper was not really what I was interested in doing as a career,” Clayton said. “I picked up the minor in my third year as I was searching for an alternative, and after a winding start to my professional design career, I started to feel the pull back into tech.”
After pursuing an array of design-oriented jobs and never quite finding the right fit, Clayton began researching online coding boot camp programs. That’s when he found The Coding Boot Camp at UT Austin.
With his foundational knowledge of the tech industry, Clayton was excited to join a program that would help foster and enhance his skills. The boot camp’s setting and structure played a major role in this.
“I loved the experience of being in a classroom and learning from an instructor in person,” he said. “It was great to collaborate with classmates. That was something I had been looking for in a boot camp program.”
Despite his earlier dabblings, many of the topics the boot camp covered were things Clayton had never come across before. He had to put in the work both in and outside the classroom to gain a better understanding of the higher-level concepts.
“The instructors were so helpful. When we were working on exercises, they would always be available,” he said. “There was also an hour after class where we could meet with them and review new material or work through coding problems.”
Finding real-world inspiration
In the city of Austin, a law was passed in March 2018 to help regulate the amount of food waste in the city. All food waste now has to be donated or composted instead of being sent to a landfill. Clayton and his group were inspired by this ordinance to create an application that would help people in Austin become more sustainable.
Called Ground, the application would help coffee shops and restaurants connect with people who wanted to recycle their used coffee grounds. This would not only help with composting and natural fertilization efforts but also incentivize people to be more mindful of their food waste production.
“It was a way to help people dispose of the grounds in an environmentally friendly way,” said Clayton. “I think it turned out to be really successful.”
Applying skills old and new
Since completing boot camp, Clayton has been busy with his new job as a design technologist intern at Frog, a global design and strategy firm. Clayton was the 2nd boot camp hire for Frog Design, who partners with our Industry Insights & Impact team to connect with job seekers from UT Austin Boot Camps. The best part of his new role? He’s able to utilize both his new coding skills and his background in design.
“Once I started looking for a job, I knew I wanted a role that would be a hybrid of design and development,” Clayton said. “I’ve been working a lot on the front-end code with a focus on preserving design intent, which is exactly where I wanted to be.”
Clayton hopes to continue working in environments that allow him to use his design background and skills in coding. After a different start to his career, he’s found the place where he’s meant to be—an intersection of design and tech— and believes boot camp can help others do the same.
“Don’t be afraid to take the leap,” he said.