Sydney Stern Miller, May 18, 2021 | 5 min read

Candidate Spotlight: Kelani Mueller

We asked Kelani Mueller to share her experience at Tech Talent South and talk about the future, and Kelani delivered! Check out her insightful perspective on all things coding: how she started learning on her own, why she chose TTS, and her honest advice to anyone considering applying to a coding Bootcamp. 

Kelani recently completed the full-stack web development program at TechTalent South. She studied music at Loyola University New Orleans, earning a bachelor of arts in music. She has interests in composition, sound, lighting, and stage management. Kelani is actively working towards landing a tech-related role. In her free time, she loves to run, read, listen to music, and explore the outdoors!

Born in Guangzhou, China, but has lived in Peru, Turkey, and Laos, Kelani has attended the International School Beijing (2004-5), Colegio Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Istanbul International Community School (2010-14), and Vientiane International School. She speaks English, Spanish and knows basic Chinese, French and Turkish.



What were you doing before TTS?
I recently graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a B.A. in music. I enjoy composing, listening to various musical styles, and working as a sound, lighting, and stage technician for music and non-music-related events (one of my current part-time jobs). A year ago, a Tech Talent South member reached out to me directly regarding the Graduate Accelerator Program (GAP). As someone with minimal programming experience, I was very interested in learning more. I did not have a set career path in mind, which gave me an excellent opportunity to broaden my horizons. Even though I grew up as an international student living in China, Peru, Turkey, and Laos, technology-related courses were always integrated into the school curriculum. I still remember creating projects using many different platforms, such as google sketch up, Wix, Weebly, WordPress, video editing software, and so much more. One of my fondest memories is building a “program” that teaches kids how to cup stack!


What course(s) did you take with TTS?
I took the java full-stack web development course (full time). Except for pre-course material and learning from online resources, I came in with minimal programming experience and felt that this course would be a good starting point. Given such a short period, I was exposed to a wealth of material and web development concepts that I hope to apply soon. However, there is still so much for me to learn. Since completing the program, I have been re-familiarizing myself with java concepts and building projects using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript!


How did taking this course remotely impact how you connected with your cohort and instructors?
While remote learning was very convenient, I still found it challenging to create meaningful connections with my instructor and peers. Since finishing college online during the pandemic, I am confident that I perform better in an in-person learning environment. I much prefer interacting with instructors and peers in person, as I am sure many people do. However, thanks to the technological resources that we have, there are still ways to engage and provide positive learning experiences!


Tell us about your favorite project!
I enjoyed building SpringBoot projects using eclipse, particularly the Twitter clone project. However, I find that I learn best by example, and the process of completing this larger-scale project was advantageous. At this point, I was able to solidify my understanding of MVC design patterns and the relationship between front-end and back-end programming.


What has been the biggest challenge in your tech journey?
One of the biggest challenges for me has been finding jobs as a new programmer coming into the tech industry. There have been many times where I have felt defeated because of my lack of qualifications and experience. Nonetheless, I am doing the very best to persevere and learn as much as I can.


What have you learned about yourself over the past year?
If there is one thing that I have learned, coming out of college during a pandemic, actively looking and applying for jobs, feeling uncertain and anxious about myself, my experience, whether or not I am qualified for a particular job, is to be patient with myself and to have more faith in myself. I am someone who thrives off of schedule and routine. Since finishing college, I have been doing my best to keep a routine: exercising, working two part-time jobs, and finding free time to sharpen my programming skills. I strive to take each day as it comes and become present whenever. I can.


What are your personal and career goals for the future? 
I would love to work on the creative side of tech (visual, artistic, design) and any way that incorporates my passion for music, health, and fitness.


What projects are you working on now?
I have been working on several small-scale HTML, CSS, and JavaScript projects inspired by other programmers. In addition, I revisited resources from the full stack java program so that I could prepare for a hiring assessment. I have also completed several course assignments again to solidify my understanding of core concepts.


How has your background helped get you to this point?
Thanks to Tech Talent South, I feel that I have a strong foundation/baseline as a junior-level programmer and several projects that I am proud of.


When you’re not coding, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I am running, listening to music, reading, and any other kind of outdoor activity.


What is your favorite quote, mantra, or piece of advice?
“I don’t want to lose myself in someone else’s dream. I know I was made with the purpose to reach past the surface, live life fearlessly. I want nothing less than to be who I’m meant to be” – Lyrics by Anthem Lights.


What is one meal you ate as a kid that you still love and eat today?


What does the world need more of?


Name a woman (or women), past or present, whom you admire or look up to.
Teri Mueller, Renee Mueller, Abby Wambach, Hilary Hahn, Jacqueline du Pré, Kamala Harris, Michelle Obama, Kelly Clarkson, Demi Lovato (the list goes on).

What would you tell yourself fifteen years ago that you wish you knew then?
Grades do not define you! You are more capable than you think!


Connect with Kelani on Linkedin, Instagram, and Facebook!


Are you interested in hiring Kelani or more folks like her? We’ve got you covered.

Are you a recent or soon-to-be College Graduate who’s still trying to figure out your next move?  
If you’re looking to start a career that provides you with growth, flexibility, and a nice paycheck, then look no further than Tech Talent South’s Graduate Accelerator Program!

GAP is a highly competitive program that underwrites recent graduates of top-tier liberal arts colleges for our foundational courses. We do the easy part of giving them the technical chops needed to be exceptional leaders in technical fields; then, we pipeline them into corporate programs.