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You decided to take the plunge and attend a coding bootcamp. Now comes the harder part–getting a job AFTER a coding bootcamp! In this post, I’ll be discussing things that I did in order to get my career started and some tips to help you get a job after a coding bootcamp.
As I mentioned in previous posts regarding coding bootcamps, you are going to get out of this what you put into it. Finding a job after a coding bootcamp is no different.
It is going to require extra preparation on top of what you might have left to complete for the bootcamp. Some bootcamps may help prepare you for what looking for a development job is like, but mine did not offer much in terms of interview preparation or career advice outside of what I already knew from being in the workforce.
How to Get a Job After a Coding Bootcamp: #1 – Get Started BEFORE Your Coding Bootcamp Ends
One thing about me, and it certainly can be both a positive and negative attribute, is that I am constantly thinking ahead. Before I even set foot in my first coding bootcamp session, I was already thinking about how I was going to get a job after the coding bootcamp ended.
In my bootcamp, we had a career services coordinator whose job was to help us find a job. I told her from day one that I was open to an internship at any point during or after the boot camp. However, I knew that I was going to have to put in some effort on my end as well.
I started to look at job postings to see what companies were hiring junior developers and the types of skills that they were looking for in those candidates.
I encourage you to let everyone in your circle know that you are enrolled in a coding bootcamp–you never know who might have a great connection for you and can help you get a job. In fact, I found out about my first job out of the coding bootcamp from a guy I played softball with on the weekends. My friend and I mentioned that we were developers in training, and it just so happened that his company was starting a program for junior developers.
The point is start early and use all of your resources. Getting a job after a coding bootcamp is going to be the hardest developer job to obtain in your career for the sheer fact that you basically have no experience. The more work you can do in advance, the better.
How to Get a Job After a Coding Bootcamp: #2 – Prepare for Coding Interviews
When I interviewed for my internship, part of the process was a whiteboard exercise and I am pretty sure I totally bombed. I say “pretty sure” because I don’t remember a thing. I was so nervous.
Part of the reason I was so nervous was because I hadn’t really prepared for any type of assessment. If you want to get a job after a coding bootcamp, you need to prepare for coding specific exercises and questions. My coding bootcamp did not do a very good job of preparing us for this process. I remember walking into the interview not knowing what to expect.
There are a few things to keep in mind as it relates to expectations and preparation for a coding interview. Keep in mind that every job you’re applying for should know that you are a coding bootcamp attendee. Additionally, pay attention to the interview process. This is very indicative of how the organization works and how they treat their employees.
If you are being asked computer science specific questions and expected to get them right, I would say that job is not for you for a number of reasons. It is very unreasonable to think that a coding bootcamp grad would be answering such questions correctly, and if that is the expectation it is probably not going to be an environment that you will thrive in.
Do your best to study the fundamentals of the technologies that you have learned in your coding bootcamp. Employers that you want to work for are looking for your ability to think through problems and your understanding of core concepts. They aren’t looking for mastery!
Bonus points for you if you can answer the following question: What is a closure? A correct answer will be sure to get you a job after a coding bootcamp!
How to Get a Job After a Coding Bootcamp: #3 – Be Willing to Take a Step Back
As of writing this post, I am 36 years young. I transitioned to a career in web development at the age of 33, after over 10 years on a completely different career path. I had to mentally and financially prepare myself to take a giant step back and start my career all over again.
Was it easy? Absolutely not.
I still struggle with the fact that I’ve only been doing this for a few years, and someone else my age could have been doing this for 15+ years at this point. And you know what? That’s okay.
The other part of this is the potential financial hit that you will possibly be taking in order to get your foot in the door. This may not always be the case, and hopefully this is not even something that you will have to consider. It very likely depends on where you were in your career prior to this transition.
If you can find a paid internship or a junior developer program (For example, Fidelity Investments has the Leap Program), I think that is the ideal place to get your start. I knew that I needed to get some real work experience and see what the day-to-day was like as a web developer. Your coding bootcamp is most likely NOT going to prepare you for what it’s like to work in a true development environment.
For me, being an intern for a few months was a great way to ease into a completely new job path with completely new expectations and processes. The expectations for interns is fairly low and there is significantly less pressure.
But don’t feel like you need to take any old job that comes along. Make sure wherever you go it is a good fit. Ask good questions and do your research.
Getting a Job After a Coding Bootcamp
What was your experience? How long did it take you to find a job? What advice would you have given yourself? I’d love to hear of your experiences!