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Where are they now? Boxing Coach turns to Software Development

We’ve had so many student success stories come out over the years and we wanted to check in with a few of the graduates and see ‘Where are they now?’ 

Honoring the first Software Development AND the first Microsoft cohort by Apprenti, we interviewed Roscoe Bass

We are so grateful for each of our graduates. With each cohort, we listen and learn from every student on how we can improve the experience to encourage and support their growth and success. With so many firsts, Roscoe and his cohort were resilient and determined and we were able to grow together to create a winning experience.

 You can read the first blog post we have of Roscoe back in 2019 here. He was also featured in a Geekwire article that talked about the Apprenti Program.

Tell us a little bit about your background and where you were working prior to the program.

My career path has been one of many pivots. Fresh out of high school, I became an Air Traffic Controller for the US Navy. From there I pivoted into being a banker, then again to owning my own business of being a body part courier for hospitals, then to construction, then vacuum cleaner salesman, then company swag sales and design, then bill collector, then pest control technician, and many more. Most recently before becoming a software engineer, I was a boxing coach.

How did you find out about Apprenti’s Apprenticeship program?

My girlfriend found an article on Facebook highlighting the program and shared it with me. The article contained a link to the ApprentiCareers.org site where I read up on what they were about and what they were trying to accomplish.

Which program did you end up completing and when?

I decided to go with the Software Engineer track and graduated from the program in November of 2018.

What made you decide to join the program?

I wanted a career path that offered medical benefits and a financial future. While coaching boxing holds a special place in my heart, it doesn’t check either of those boxes. Also, being someone who learns and adapts very quickly, I needed something that would challenge me more than any of my previous career choices, something that would hold my interest.

What was the biggest challenge for you during the program?

Imposter Syndrome, the feeling of not belonging. For me, it was because I was one of the few in my cohort who did not have any prior software development experience. I kept comparing myself to everyone else, and became my own worst enemy.

How would you describe your experience with the TLG Instructor-led portion of the program

Honestly, there were some wrenches stuck in the learning machine at first. The initial instructor, while knowledgeable of their craft, was not a great fit for all the various experience levels in the class. But thankfully TLG was receptive to student feedback and were able to course-correct halfway through. After making a couple of tweaks, both by allowing for the class moderator, Michelle Metzger, to lead an “inception” boot camp (a boot camp within a boot camp) to allow for those of us, like myself, behind the curve to catch up and bringing in Rennie Araucto to lead the capstone projects, the end result was a beneficial experience that I still reflect on to this day.

What did you enjoy the most during the program?

Seeing the growth of myself and my peers, both technically and socially as we came together as a team to push ourselves to graduation. It was awe-inspiring.

It’s been a few years now since you graduated, what have some of your professional accomplishments been since then?

I was hired full-time at Microsoft about a month after graduation. I’m amazed to report that I have been promoted twice since being hired and am now a technical lead and subject matter expert on my team. Last year, I was elected to co-chair the Microsoft Apprenticeship Programs Advisory Board, and while the position was only active for that year, it was an honor to be able to serve the apprenticeship community in that way.

What has helped you the most with your career in Software Engineering since joining Microsoft

There are 2 main things. First is my desire to learn, absorb, and apply as absolute much as possible. Second is my ability to expand my network with meaningful and beneficial relationships, this comes in especially handy when building bridges between teams.

How has a career in tech changed your life?

Financially, my quality of life has improved tenfold. I became financially independent last year and rebuilt my credit. Most recently, I bought my first house, which is something I never thought I would be able to accomplish on my own.

Mentally, I have found a career that always keeps me on my toes. I never find myself bored or plateauing, as there is always something new to learn and explore.

Emotionally, I have a newfound confidence in myself. As I’ve found a place where I feel I belong with my team at Microsoft. I truly feel empowered to accomplish anything I set my mind to.

If you had one piece of advice for someone that had little to no experience in the tech industry that’s interested in getting into Software Engineering what would it be?

Be wary of always getting things right. While getting something to work the way you want it to may feel good, the best lessons come from making mistakes. You should want to make mistakes, as they are so valuable that if you find yourself not making any, you may not be challenging yourself enough to continue your growth.