Diversity & Inclusion
Career development / Coding / Women in tech

Dany was a recruiter but now she wants to code

Dany Bourjolly Smith is attempting a code-driven career change. We caught up with her at GDI Wilmington's Coffee and Code event.

Dany with her husband Ian. (Courtesy photo)

There seems to be a trend in professionals transitioning careers and carrying skills into the next chapter of their lives. Dany Bourjolly Smith is in the same boat. She told me about her story when we met at GDI’s Coffee and Code event earlier this month.
She applied to Zip Code Wilmington once and was rejected, but she doesn’t plan on giving up easily. Just like Aaliyah said, “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.” That’s exactly what Smith is doing.
Smith graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in the ’90s with a degree in English with hopes of becoming a professor. Instead, she was offered a job as a buyer for sportswear at Hecht’s department store (which was acquired by Macy’s in 2005). Smith traveled between trade shows in New York City and St. Louis before she went into sales. That was when she was recruited by CEB (formerly known as Corporate Executive Board). She worked there for 10 years, recruiting for Fortune 1000 companies.
But now she wants to code.
“I have my own consulting clients, but I have found that the idea of the current [job] market here in Delaware and the idea of [staying] in my field are not two that align,” she said. “I’m 42 and I’m not independently wealthy. I actually have time to have a 20-25-year career.”
Smith relocated to Delaware for her husband Ian’s job, he’s the program director at Youth Advocate Programs. She has since decided to teach herself JavaScript using Code Academy and W3Schools.com.
“It’s kind of like losing weight, you can’t keep eating snacks and losing weight,” she said. “It’s been the most humbling experience of my life.”
Once she finally masters JS, Smith hopes to use her problem-solving skills from her human resources background to solve problems through code.

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