From Waiter to IT Project Manager: How CNM Helped this Sandoval County Resident Start a New Career in Tech

Ryan Buchholz enrolled in a CNM Deep Dive Coding Bootcamp for free and now works for one of Albuquerque’s biggest tech companies
May 26, 2021

Ryan Buchholz has done a lot of different things. He worked as a waiter, tried his hand at football coaching, worked in data entry, and then marketing. He enjoyed each job, but never felt like he’d found a career.

Then he learned about CNM’s Deep Dive Coding Bootcamps, where students learn in-demand technology skills during fast-tracked, immersive trainings. As someone who’d long loved computers, he decided to enroll in the Full Stack Web Development bootcamp, where students spend 10 weeks learning the fundamentals of modern web development. He was also fortunate to receive funding from the Workforce Connection of Central New Mexico, which covered the entire cost of his bootcamp.

“I felt like I had missed my calling by not studying something like computer science, so being able to enroll in a program where I got high-quality training and was done in just 10 weeks and got everything paid for….it was a no brainer,” Ryan says. 

After completing the bootcamp, Ryan applied for a number of different positions and quickly landed one with Rural Sourcing Inc., or RSI, which helps third-party companies with software development. Ryan could have interviewed as a software developer, but instead chose to come in as a project manager.

With previous experience in the service industry, he says project management suited him. In the job he facilitates communication between RSI’s clients and the RSI software developers. More specifically, he ensures expectations are clearly delivered, deadlines are met, and clients get exactly what they need.

On the RSI side, he ensures the developers have what they need to deliver the software and also leads daily and weekly meetings where the developers get to give feedback and talk about how to improve their workflow.

“In this position I still get to use the software development training I received in the bootcamp, but I also get to use a lot of the soft skills I’ve developed over time like problem solving and interpersonal communication,” Ryan says. “Ultimately, it’s a great position for me because I love keeping things organized and I love solving problems.”

Down the road, Ryan looks forward to growing his career as a project manager. There are a number of certificates he can tackle that will allow him to advance, and he’s excited about the work RSI is doing for clients across the US.

Ryan says anyone else who’s considering a bootcamp should also give it a try. A new round of funding for Sandoval County residents like him is now available through a program called Upskill Sandoval.

"We are excited to offer Upskill Sandoval as a workforce development program that maximizes access to financial support for training and education to help build Sandoval County's economy," says Jerry Schalow, President and CEO of the Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce and Board Chair for the Workforce Connection of Central New Mexico. “In addition to careers in technology like Ryan’s, I am focused on careers in the skilled trades, and Upskill Sandoval is a pathway to those as well.”  

If people can have a new career in tech or a trade and get their education paid for in full, why not give it a try, Ryan says. Returning to school changed his life and can do the same for others.

“What do you have to lose?” he says.

Learn more about the Upskill Sandoval program here and Deep Dive here.