How the Johnston Brothers Strengthened Their Family Bond through Coding

Some say that being close to family is the most important thing you can do. Family can provide comfort and safety in times of distress, and just in life in general. That being said, it’s important to find ways to connect with family members, especially as life brings about growth and change. 

For Michael, Matt, and Sam Johnston—three brothers—one way they strengthened their family bond was by pursuing a career in code.

The three Johnston brothers were always close. And it just so happened that in the most recent year they all found themselves in the same place in life career-wise—trying to figure out what to do long term. After doing some research and committing themselves to changing their career paths, the three Johnston brothers all enrolled in the Web Development Program at DevMountain. 

Read on to get their whole story. 

Pre-Bootcamp Days

Before attending coding bootcamp, the Johnston brothers were exploring other careers, or education, opportunities.

Michael Johnston and his wife.

Michael had previously attended Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah and graduated with a degree in business management. After finishing his college education, he landed a job at Blue Host, hired on in retention. He worked his way from there to sales, and eventually ended up as a senior manager over support. 

Michael’s brother, Matt, also got a job a Blue Host as a manager of customer experience after receiving his degree in Linguistics at BYU. At Blue Host, he often worked with the development teams, gaining his first exposure to what web development really looks like. 

After both brothers spent nearly eight years with Blue Host, the company decided to merge operations and support into a sister company location in Tempe, Arizona. That meant that Michael and Matt would either have to move to Tempe, or find a new job. 

They were okay with what they were doing at Blue Host, but they knew that wasn’t what they wanted to do long term, which ultimately meant the move wasn’t worth it for them. So, they came to a point where they were ready to make a bold move and make a career switch. 

Sam, on the other hand, is the youngest of the brothers and was pursuing a degree in Economics at BYU. He originally wanted to get a CS degree because he knew he wanted to write code for a living, but that was going to take too much time and money. He also knew that you could work in development without a degree. So, he started exploring other options and came across DevMountain. 

The three brothers started talking together about what they were doing, and where they would like to be. After talking and exploring options, Matt decided he was ready to learn how to code. 

Matt Goes to DevMountain

Timing was a big reason why Matt was the first brother to enroll in coding bootcamp. With Blue Host’s big move to Tempe, he had a break from a job and had done his research enough to know that DevMountain was where he wanted to go to learn how to code. 

Matt Johnston and his wife and kids.

Matt didn’t have much experience coding before attending bootcamp. He did, however, dabble in coding a little bit before his first day. And the pre-course work he was assigned before the first day of the course helped a lot. 

“Overall, I loved my experience [at DevMountain],” Matt said. “The location and mentors were great. And, there was an easy transition from the pre-course work to being fully immersed in the program.”

One of Matt’s favorite aspects of bootcamp was how he not only learned how to code, but also how he learned how to learn and find resources. This really helped him land a job post-DevMountain. 

Sam and Michael Go to DevMountain

Sam and Michael knew they wanted to go through the course, but what finally pushed them to go through with it was hearing about Matt’s positive experience and the opportunity to go through the course together. 

“My wife and I were pregnant for the first time when I decided to go through the course,” Michael said. “My job at the time had no benefits. That was upsetting because we are a growing family. So, I knew it was time to get into a career that could support me and my family the way we needed it to.”

Before fully committing to DevMountain, Michael did his research. Aside from his brother Matt telling him it was a positive experience, he also reached out to a few grads to see what their experiences were. After talking with grads, he decided it was time for him to go through the course. Then, he talked to Sam about taking the course with him. 

Sam Johnston and his wife.

Sam had been wanting to go through the course and loved the idea of doing it with his brother. 

So, they enrolled together. 

From the get go, Sam and Michael were thrilled to have each other’s support. Over time, they realized and utilized each other’s strengths and skills. 

“We would be working on a problem and we would send each other different problems we’d run into,” Sam said. “We would, and still do, use each others’ strengths to get through stuff.”

Aside from enjoying the experience of learning how to code together, the Johnston brothers also enjoyed getting to know other members of their cohort. Because bootcamp was a project-based curriculum, they had many opportunities to work with new people on different projects. 

Where are they now? 

For Matt, he found a contractor job quickly after finishing bootcamp. The contract was for a local startup, and was only supposed to last a month. He built an add-on feature to an existing mobile and web application, which involved several new coding languages he had to learn. The startup he was working for liked Matt’s work so much that they hired him on full time. Currently, he works on developing the startup’s application—fixing bugs, creating new features, giving updates, etc. 

Michael found a job posted on KSL that looked like a job he wanted. Right after he applied, he landed an interview. Using DevMountain’s Career Support Team, his interview went really well and now he has a full-time web developer job at that company.

Because Sam paused college for bootcamp, he wanted to go back to finish his degree. He found a web developer job in the athletic department at BYU and he now manages the BYU Cougars’ website while finishing his college degree. 

Closer than Ever 

The three Johnston brothers were always close. Now having been through coding bootcamp, and all being in developer jobs, they are closer than ever. 

“At family get togethers, everyone else gets annoyed because we are always talking about coding,” Sam said. “We are also always sending each other code snippets to get ideas. It’s nice to have another thing in common with my brothers.”

Being in the same career and loving code just gives the Johnston brothers another reason to hang out, Michael mentioned. 

Now that the brothers are into their careers and love what they’re doing, they’re planning on building an app together in a coding language they don’t already know. They’re still talking about an app idea, but they are excited for the opportunity there. 

Jacob, the Brother-in-Law, Goes to DevMountain

All three Johnston brothers loved their experience at DevMountain so much that they often recommend others to do what they did and take the course. In fact, Michael told his brother-in-law, Jacob Madsen, that he needed to do the course. And he did. 

“I knew that I wanted to get into coding,” Jacob said. “And I wasn’t sure what that really looked like or what triggered it. I just knew that’s what I wanted. So I went to Utah Valley University (UVU) to learn. After being in the program for two years, I didn’t feel like I could create anything. So, my brother-in-law, [Michael], told me about DevMountain and it sounded like what I wanted to do. So I did it.”

Jacob said that within two weeks of being at coding bootcamp he had learned the same amount he had learned in the two years he had attended UVU. Jacob enjoyed DevMountain’s culture and project-based learning; it was exactly what he was looking for. 

Three weeks before graduating bootcamp, DevMountain shared a job link with Jacob’s cohort. On a dare, Jacob applied. Before he knew it, he went through the interview process and landed the job. Right out of bootcamp, Jacob started his full-time web developer job. 

“Now I’m in a job that I actually enjoy,” Jacob said. “I love being able to build stuff. It’s not just about the money for me.”

Jacob also participates in the Johnston brothers’ discussions about coding and the possibility of building their own app. 

Thinking about doing a coding bootcamp? This is what the Johnston brothers have to say about it.

Matt Johnston: I knew going into it how much I enjoyed coding, but it’s not for everyone. You can get a good feel for how it is beforehand. Apply and do the pre-course work to the course. That will give you a good idea for how coding is. I’m happy in a job for the first time in my life. Because of that, I’m always happy at home now, too. 

Michael Johnston: Reach out to someone who has been through the course. Finding someone I could talk to about their experience at bootcamp was super helpful for me. I also looked at reviews, connected with grads on LinkedIn, and asked so many questions. Hearing other people’s experiences really pushed me there. 

Sam Johnston: It took me a year to make the decision to go. If it’s fear that’s holding you back, DevMountain gives you opportunities within the first weeks where you could back out. Try coding on your own before to see if it’s interesting to you. Making the decision to come to bootcamp is hard. But, if you’re unhappy with where you’re at, then why not take the opportunity. 

Jacob Madsen: If you’re not happy, then why not change?

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