How I went from history teacher to iOS developer in 11 months

Brandon Fong
7 min readNov 25, 2020
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

In December of 2018 I had just left a job with Teach for America as an 8th grade US History and Music teacher. I was making $40,000. I wasn’t able to continue teaching, and I didn’t have many other describable, lucrative skills. I had majored in Cultural Anthropology with minors in Spanish, International Studies, and Music Technology, without any relevant internship experience. Suffice to say, I was playing with toys my whole life until I found myself in a grown-up world without a real plan.

I wasn’t sure what to do next.

Fast forward to January of 2020, when I finally became an iOS developer at a tech startup, working on a bunch of interesting and beautiful iOS apps. I was offered $80,000. Exactly double my old salary, as well as free lunch, and WFH on Fridays. As I was shout-singing Congratulations by Post Malone on my drive back from the interview where I got my offer, 2020 was looking like my year (perhaps I was the only one who felt that way).

How I did it

I’m guessing there are people out there who want to know two things:

  1. Did I know any coding before?
  2. Did I go to a code bootcamp?

Yes, both of these questions will be answered.


First, you might be saying:

“Hold up, Dec 2018 — Jan 2020, that’s 13 months! ARGH. I’ve been clickbAITED AGAIN.”

when you’ve been duped yet again by a 19yo youtuber

no. That’s because it was February, 2019 that I had actually decided that I wanted to learn Swift, Xcode and be an iOS app developer.

That was because my dad told me I should learn how to build an app for his restaurants to do online ordering. (He does POS systems for restaurants.) I started learning with Swift Playgrounds, an iPad and Mac app meant to teach kids how to code using cute little characters that you control with Swift. After a bit, I started realizing that I would rather spend my time coding than playing Breath of the Wild. That’s when I knew this is what I wanted to do. It was possibly the first time

Brandon Fong

iOS Developer, musician, language-enthusiast, former history teacher. ENFP. Empath. Always learning. Work portfolio: