The Story of Shannon Lance: Marital Separation to Six-Figure Salary in Six Months

There are many uses for adversity. They don’t always show up until they are tested…difficulty may tap into unexpected strengths.
-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Sometimes, turning lemonade from lemons is not enough. Sometimes you have to take down the whole lemon tree in order to start over and discover your true potential. The best moments in life are rarely free.
This is Shannon Lance’s story, a recent Bellevue Coding Dojo student. Shannon’s childhood was, to all intents and purposes a normal life. After achieving good grades in highschool, she earned a Bachelor’s in musical education at Pacific Lutheran University. She taught after school, worked at the airport nearby, and enjoyed having fun with her friends and family, as most 20-year olds do.
After having her first two children, she took a break from teaching and had two more over the years. Shannon said that she didn’t mind putting her teaching on hold because she wanted to spend her time raising her children and the money was “just a filler income” since her husband made the majority of the household income.
“It happened so quickly.”
Shannon’s life was full of surprises. She lost her husband, had to make a sudden move, and struggled to support her family financially.
I was fired at the beginning June 2018 I spent July in panic, asking myself, “Do I need to …’?” I had not worked as a teacher in four years, and I was at home with my children. I have very little children. I am trying to plan. What should I do with my children? How can I afford everything?’ That was the question I struggled with all July.
Shannon learned about coding bootcamps from her brother-in law while discussing her options. Shannon was not computer savvy. She admitted that she used her phone to search for the right-click function on a Mac. But she knew she had to find a way she could provide for her children.
“I came in with no computer skills or coding education.”
After much research, Shannon applied to Coding Dojo and was accepted into the August 2018 cohort. Between her application and the start date of the program, it took Shannon only two to three months. This gave her very little time to move to Bellevue. Talk about a quick life transition.
Shannon’s struggle with adversity did not end there. Our fully-immersive program is intense and we are open with all students. It’s not easy, but it will transform your life. Shannon’s story is an example of this. Fortunately, Shannon had a supportive cohort to draw on during the 14-week program. Although she was able to grasp the concepts, she estimated that the coursework took her half the time it took her to complete than her peers. Whiteboarding was her forte and she enjoyed the algorithm exercises. However, balancing family life and coursework was a challenge.
It was completely insane. To take care of my children while I was at school, I had to hire an nanny. My time was taken up by school. There were days when I only saw my children for 15 minutes per day. It was very difficult. It was very difficult. I couldn’t spend weekends with them because I was studying. My oldest daughter, she just turned 10. She would come in and weep and say, “I miss your so much,” and, “This is so difficult.” I would respond, “You know what?” We have six weeks to go. We can do it. “We did it, we counted down each day. Sometimes it took hours to get through it.
Shannon was nearing her graduation date and met with Mark Smith, the Managing Director, to discuss her career options. They reviewed her marketable skills and set up her LinkedIn profile.
Her teaching background helped her to use an agile workflow process and she was skilled at prioritizing and multitasking – both essential skills in fast-paced development environments.
Graduation day was over, and then came the job search. After months of rain clouds, it was finally time for some sunshine in Shannon’s life.
“I only looked for six days before I received the offer.”
Shannon applied for the position of Service Manager Development at the Bellevue-based SAP Concur. The job was hers within a week of applying and the six-figure salary was also hers. Shannon celebrated with her family with a well-deserved celebration, complete with surprise paperconfetti from her children, as she finally saw the end of the tunnel.
Shannon was financially stable enough to purchase a horse for her 9-year old daughter, but she was unable to do so.