Series offers realistic look at what it's like to graduate from Zip Code Wilmington - Delaware


Mar. 1, 2016 7:24 am

Series offers realistic look at what it’s like to graduate from Zip Code Wilmington

Four installments from WHYY/NewsWorks follow Zip Code grads Sean Strauss and Joel Guevara through thick and thin.

The class of 19 on Zip Code Wilmington's first day.

(Photo by Jim Stewart)

WHYY/NewsWorks’ Avi Wolfman-Arent recently published a four-part series called “Life Reprogrammed” following the journey of two students from Zip Code Wilmington’s inaugural class last fall. It’s worth a read for a realistic peek at what life is like during and after Zip Code.

In “Life Reprogrammed: Boot camp begins to build a better code,” we meet Sean Strauss, 29, who was stuck in a rut living with his parents and wrestling with depression and health issues that precipitated from a car accident. We also meet Joel Guevara, 28, a Marine cancer-survivor who had been working in carpentry.

The second installment, “Life Reprogrammed: Inside the infomercial” explores what a day in the life of a Zip Code student looks like and instructor Tariq Hook’s teaching process.

In “Life Reprogrammed: ‘Am I gonna succeed?’” Wolfman-Arent conducts a progress report with Strauss and Guevara during the fall class. At this point, Strauss is shining. He’s a coding natural, has made friends amongst other coders and is happy to have found a new purpose.

Guevara, on the other hand, struggles. His relationship with his girlfriend of five years is dissolving, and the coding isn’t coming to him naturally. But once he’s single, he buckles down and resolves to be a coding scholar, and, ultimately, a coder with a fresh start.

The final installment, “Life Reprogrammed: Ups and downs lead to a steady path forward after coding boot camp,” paints a picture of what life after Zip Code looks like, and, like most things in life, it’s not perfect. Strauss is thrilled to land a coding job at Capital One, but things at Zip Code don’t end exactly the way he would’ve liked. Guevara, broke and sleeping on his ex-girlfriend’s couch, begins losing hope at landing an apprenticeship, much less a job. He eventually gets an apprenticeship at Diamond Technologies and dreams of an even fresher start out west.


Lindsay Podraza

Lindsay Podraza is formerly the lead reporter for Delaware in after writing as a contributor. She is an ex-newspaper reporter turned freelance writer who moved to Wilmington in June 2014. The Charlotte native studied journalism at the University of North Carolina, loves proper grammar and has a weakness for sweet tea.

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