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Returning to Workforce, Mother Reinvigorates Tech Skills

Cristal King of Rutgers Coding Bootcamp

By Padraig Ryan

Cristal King—who left her job as a programmer and analyst more than a decade ago to take care of her young family—knew she needed to sharpen her skills and learn new computer language in order to get back into the rapidly changing technology job market.

“Before I left, web development wasn’t nearly as advanced and robust as it is now,” said Cristal. “I know how quickly technology changes and I knew that I needed to have the skill-set that goes along with it.”

According to the Harvard Business Review, 90 percent of women who leave their jobs to take care of their family, like Cristal, said they want to reboot their careers and get back into the workforce.

Cristal wasn’t sure exactly where to go to get the training she needed to make this happen. When she first decided that she wanted a job in technology, after working as a sales representative for U.S. Healthcare, she enrolled and graduated from The Chubb Institute. At the time, web development was still in its infancy.

That program enabled Cristal to develop the necessary skills to become a programmer and an analyst, where she provided support to electronic data interchange systems, even working with programmers in Spain to ensure successful system conversions.

“It was around the time they were coming up on the Y2K scare and the demand for programmers was going through the roof,” Cristal said. “It was definitely an exciting field to go into, similar to how it is now.”

Cristal was interested in attending a program similar to the one offered at the now defunct Chubb Institute but was unable to locate one of the qualities she was seeking until a friend—who was working in the technology industry—told her about the Rutgers Coding Bootcamp offered by the Rutgers Division of Continuing Studies. 

“I was really excited when I looked into the program and I jumped at the opportunity,” said Cristal who lives with her family in West Orange. “It was exactly what I was looking for and the fact that it was offered by Rutgers made it even more enticing.”

Cristal is among 375 graduates who have participated in the extensive six-month program. She went to class two nights a week, spent four hours there on Saturday and worked countless hours at home honing new skills that will enable her to become a “full stack” software developer.  

With web development jobs expected to increase by 20 percent over the next five years, Cristal is now poised to fill one of these high-paying positions. “The bootcamp was more challenging than I’d ever imagined it would be but definitely in a good way,” she said. 

Cristal—who is excited about re-entering the technology sector—said she learned everything she needed from the Rutgers Bootcamp about HTML, CSS and JavaScript, the basic building blocks of the web.

“With the rise of mobile apps and the development of smartphones, everything has changed so dramatically,” said Cristal. “The coding bootcamp provided me with the tools I need to move forward in the industry.”

Cristal—who credits her mother for embracing technology and sharing these interests—may not have envisioned working in computer technology when she first started out on her career path, but now she can’t imagine doing anything else.

Exactly what the future holds is unclear. Cristal is confident she can make a significant contribution in front-end web development as well as working on back-end development with the servers, applications and databases. With web development light years ahead of where it was when she got started in the 1990s, Cristal believes she has a wealth of opportunities ahead of her.

“I would really love to dig in, continue learning and eventually become an expert,” Cristal said. “I want to use my new skills that I learned at the Rutgers Coding Bootcamp to be a great asset to my future employer.”

To find out more about the Rutgers Coding Bootcamp, or to enroll in the program, call 732-430-2144 or visit us the Rutgers Coding Bootcamp website.


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