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Free Code Camp Philly: A career changer’s way to give back

Blackfynn developer Daniel Hunter and Maryann Roth are organizing a meetup for students of FreeCodeCamp.

Daniel Hunter, developer at Blackfynn, made the leap into tech from the music industry. (Courtesy photo)
Blackfynn developer Daniel Hunter had decided enough was enough.

In 2014, Hunter left his Brooklyn job working in sales and marketing in the music industry to pursue a career in tech. The motivation for his dream was two-fold: Improving his financial situation while allowing him to find meaning in what he was doing. Some 1,400 hours of self-taught code skills later, he moved to Philly and found his first full-time dev job.

Now Hunter is looking to help others make the scary leap into tech. Alongside fellow developer Maryann Roth, Hunter put together a Meetup group called Free Code Camp Philly to create a community of support for students of FreeCodeCamp, the San Francisco-based company looking to democratize access to tech jobs.

“The inspiration for starting this community comes from so many places,” Hunter, also a Coded by Kids instructor, told “I personally transitioned from sales and marketing to tech a few years ago through an apprenticeship program at P’unk Ave and want to pay it forward. I’m stoked to have engineers from all over the city come out and support.”

The group is hosting its first free event Thursday at WeWork NoLibs: a study hall-like session with local devs volunteering time as tutors.

“We’re targeting adults looking to change careers and transition into tech as engineers as well as those who want to learn how to code in order to build their own products,” Hunter said. “People can reach out to me directly if they want to volunteer.”

(Related: Here are lessons for employers on helping career changers join your team. Here are even more lessons on career changing from Girl Develop It’s career-changer panel at Philly Tech Week 2017.)

“Communities like freeCodeCamp are invaluable spaces to get encouragement and to connect with people who have similar struggles,” said Hunter. “Do everything you can to find someone to hold you accountable and to remind you that what you’re doing is difficult but you can make it.”


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