Alumni Spotlight: How One Gamer Leveled Up Her Career With a Coding Boot Camp
Cami La Porte's career
was the stuff most kids
She got her start as a streaming gamer and freelance video
producer and quickly moved on to work for top-tier gaming
companies like Blizzard Entertainment.
But despite working in a field she loved, Cami wasn't
“I was in love with my job as a game producer and project
manager supporting character artists that made in-game skins.
I'm a pretty huge gamer,” Cami said. “The only problem is that
I never actually touched the products I was launching because
I didn't have the coding background.”
More than anything, Cami wanted to understand the code
behind the games. That meant a radical career pivot—and
a return to the classroom.
“I was tired of feeling stuck on the sidelines,” she said.
“I wanted to take pride in actually watching my code get
deployed. That's a feeling I could never get as a producer.”
A challenge turns into an opportunity
Unfortunately for Cami, her career shift began under less-than-
“I had to leave work for health reasons,” she said. “To be
honest, I thought my career was over. I kept getting endless
bad news after each surgery.”
Cami took some time away from her career to focus on her
health. While it was a struggle, her time off came with a silver
“I was at a point in my life where I began to reflect and think
about what I wanted while I was recovering. The idea of
going back to school started as a way to keep me from being
depressed,” Cami said.
Cami took as many free online coding classes as she could
find, but after a while, she realized she needed more formal
training to make any serious career changes. Her early gaming
and streaming success, however, meant that Cami didn't have
the same educational background as many of her peers.
“I didn't go to college. I love to learn but it wasn't my path
before,” said Cami. “I was 18 when I got my first job and I've
always worked with people who have degrees and technical
experience. I always felt either underpaid or behind.”
At age 30, she didn't want to take four years out of an
already successful career. That's when she found The Coding
Boot Camp at UCI.
“I did a ton of research before signing up for the UCI coding
boot camp, and the thing that sold me on the program was
their extensive career support path,” Cami said. “I was coming
from a freelance background, so getting me to be employer
competitive was vital.”
Back in the game
Cami enrolled in UCI's full-time, 12-week coding boot camp
to upgrade her skills and get back to work as quickly as
possible. Initially, though, she was concerned about her lack
of coding experience.
“I'd been a managing producer and content creator, but I was
nervous about my inexperience with actual code,” Cami said.
“I wasn't one of the people in class that just got things right
away, but once I worked it enough, concepts started coming
Despite her fears, Cami found that support from her teachers,
TAs, and classmates helped her succeed.
“I took for granted how valuable it is to have teachers and
faculty invested in your success,” she said. “I loved being in
an educational setting. I never had that when I was younger.”
Cami had to put in a lot of time and hard work to stay on
track, but she knew it would be worth it in the end.
“The full-time boot camp is a really fast course. You learn
something then move on, which meant I had to practice on
my own time,” said Cami. “I'd show up at 7 a.m. and study
or do homework. If I'd just done the four-hour classes and
then gone home I wouldn't have gotten where I am.”
In fact, Cami's hard work paid off before she even finished
“My teacher actually recommended me for my current
position as a back-end software engineer role at TensorIoT.
He noticed my hard work and asked if I was interested in the
job,” Cami said. “I'd been looking for a new job for months
before the boot camp. I went to school and got one before
I even graduated!”
Career power up
Cami's coursework proved instrumental to landing her new
job because it focused on using real-world data to build
projects that solve actual problems.
“For our very first project we used NASA and SpaceX APIs
to build a website that featured things like a photo of space
every day and the current position of the ISS,” Cami said.
“It was so easy to build because we loved the idea, but it
was also a preview of what it would be like to work in a
field where you're passionate about your product.”
That passion continues to drive Cami to learn challenging
but rewarding new concepts and skills, even after graduation.
“I need to get AWS certified for my new job, but I'm excited
about it,” Cami said. “In the past, I'd take my time with stuff,
but the boot camp really pushes you through new concepts
in a matter of hours. I'm able to absorb difficult concepts
more quickly now and break them down into something I
can understand and use.”
A new way to play
Her health on track and her career revitalized, Cami feels
there's no limit to what she can now achieve.
“This opportunity has opened so many doors for me, when I
believed there was nothing left to open,” she said. “I feel like
I can do stuff now. I have the courage to try really difficult
things and expect more from myself.”
Cami has big plans for the future.
“In five years, I'd like to be developing my own app,” Cami
said. “One single guy designed and built my favorite game
of all time. One guy. He's my hero, and I'd like to do something
For anyone on the fence about enrolling in a boot camp,
Cami has one piece of wisdom to share.
“You're worth getting an education,” she said. “Wherever you
come from, or how dumb you think you are, you deserve a
chance to learn something that you love and a chance to do
something that you want to learn. Grab the bull by the horns.
Ask questions. The UCI boot camp gave me all the tools I
needed to make this happen. This course is for you.”
Ready to level up your career? Explore Trilogy-powered boot
camps in coding, data analytics, cybersecurity, or UX/UI
design at ce.uci.edu/bootcamps.