From Music Teacher to Developer

Jackson Carr
June 23, 2023
5 min read

They say musicians make great software developers. Thanks to their performance background, attention to detail, and innate need to perfect their parts, musicians tend to be analytical, logical and methodical—skills that the best coders also possess.

Clay Terry was no exception.

Before Covalence, he was a music teacher. He spent a total five years teaching between three different cities, all while making music of his own. Eventually, he decided he wanted to pursue a new career as a developer and enrolled in Covalence.

During his time as a student, Clay built an app called LinkTank, a social network to connect charitable organizations with potential volunteers. Shortly after graduating, he moved to Tallahassee, Florida where he had to build his professional network in the tech industry from the ground up. Clay took the advice of his advisors at Covalence and identified key people that would make for good connections. He took the initiative to reach out to them with invitations for a free cup of coffee in an effort to connect and learn about the tech scene in his area.

One of the people who responded to Clay’s outreach was Ryan Kopinsky, Director of I/O Avenue, a workforce development program that provides a pathway to high-wage technology jobs in Tallahassee. The first meeting with Ryan led to a great conversation about the area, landing consulting work, and I/O Avenue which had just began its first cohort a few weeks earlier. Ryan asked if Clay would speak to the class about his experience as a bootcamp graduate. He prepared a presentation covering everything from bootcamp life to job hunting, and how to get the absolute most out of the experience. The presentation was very well received and marked the beginning of his relationship with the students, Ryan, the rest of the staff, and I/O Avenue. A few weeks later, Ryan approached him about teaching the JavaScript portions of the class and serving as an assistant for other topics which revolved around Ruby on Rails.

Ruby on Rails is not something Covalence teaches; however, Covalence does teach you how to be a self-sufficient developer.

Clay was given a strong foundation and the ability to quickly learn new programming languages. He took what he had and ran with it. He had no experience with Ruby on Rails, but he knew as a previous educator in order to be most effective, he would need to learn Ruby and the Rails framework. So he dove in, read ahead, took advantage of other online resources and generally tried to immerse himself in Rails as much as possible. Not only did he teach himself these languages, he was then able to successfully teach others at I/O Avenue. Soon after his first class, he was given more responsibility as an instructor.

“My experience is based on learning by doing and trying to take advantage of every opportunity I've been given.” - Clay Terry

Since he moved to Tallahassee, Clay has not only taught others how to code, he has recently started a new job as a C#/.NET Developer at the Paul Consulting Group (working with more languages Covalence didn’t teach). Clay’s drive and initiative have allowed him to move up in his career very quickly and his passion for learning has enabled him to open so many new doors for himself as a developer. He is still teaching at I/O Avenue and continues to be an avid music maker, playing the guitar and singing in the choir at St. John's Episcopal Church in Tallahassee.

Interested in how Covalence can help you learn a new skill or change your career? Get started today by browsing our Course Catalog or scheduling a consult with us!

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