Jaypatrick shares how he used Coding Dojo Career Services to his advantage in the job hunt

Jaypatrick is a Coding Dojo Grad who now works for iHerb.com, an online company that sells health products.  Jaypatrick returned to field questions from Coding Dojo career advisor Tiffany Dedeaux and current students about his experience at Coding Dojo as well as his post-graduation tips.

tiffanyTiffany’s Questions

Q1) As your career advisor, I remember you came to me and said “I want a job by the end of the month.” What was on your mind at that point?

I was limited on funds at the time. I did not have a well thought out plan and I didn’t really know where I wanted to go. I remember before I attended Coding Dojo I had seen their ads that said they promised to teach you not only how to code but how to be self-sufficient and how to learn. That was important to me and that was what drew me in. So when I came to you and said I want a job it was because I had also remembered Coding Dojo had promised to help me find a job in their ads.

Q2) How did the advisors help you find a job? What were your steps?

Well for starters Angela is the best. Everything she says is “gold”. I followed her instructions step by step. I watched the webinars. I fixed up my LinkedIn accordingly. If you take the extra step to follow the LinkedIn webinar instructions, it really helps the way you are perceived through recruiters.

Q3) So you had come to me asking for help to find a job and by the 3rd week you were juggling two job offers. Take us through that process.

Remember when you talk to recruiters you should always to think of things from their perspective. The recruiter makes everything sound nice because it is their job. They’ll do anything to get you to say yes if you are a qualified candidate. If they sense this is one of your first job interviews they can be cut throat because they know you’re ill prepared. Trust your gut, talk to your advisor for how to talk to a recruiter. As an extra tip, it really helps when you talk to the manager, including the recruiter, to know what the company is really like.

Q4) After the job offers, how did you go about negotiating salaries?

My first thought was I’ll take whatever I can get at this point. However, I listened to Coding Dojo advisors and went to salary.com to check out the job titles I wanted and to see their median salaries. I looked at the job description I had recently applied for and saw HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I thought “This is something I can do. I know most of this pretty well from Coding Dojo,” so I went into the interview knowing I was qualified and what salary to ask for. Needless to say when they exceeded my offer it was a surreal experience but I am still glad I went in prepared.

Student Questions

Q1) You said you graduated in June [2015], and found a job in September [2015]? What did you do in between that time?

Honestly, I was struggling to finish my portfolio. I really wanted something I could present and talk about with the company I would work for. It became a full time job, I was so focused on building it. I was working at home, Starbucks, everywhere. However, when my interviews happened, none of them brought up my portfolio. That was kind of sad but looking back on it, I still would have gone through the process of creating my portfolio because it allowed me to go through all my past projects at the Dojo. It gave me something to talk about in my interviews. It really helps to have something to show recruiters but even more important, is your ability to talk about your projects, what you have done with them, and how you went about making them.

Q2) What were some of your interviews like?

Since I had made a bunch of accounts on job sites like Dice, Glassdoor, Indeed, recruiters were calling me. One of the first calls was a brief phone interview. They asked about my background, experience, and desires for future. After the call they sent me an email with an algorithm to solve in a limited time. I never heard back from them but it was a good experience. For the job I have now, our recruiter did a group interview. They asked basic questions like what we were looking to do career-wise and how we would go about managing a project. A week after, there was a coding interview. I shared my screen with a team of interviewers. It was scary. They asked me to do 5 different things and watched how I went about solving every step. I was so nervous I messed up on easy stuff. However, I still stumbled through it all and awhile after that I received the job offer.

Q3) What is your educational/work experience background?

I attended the Art Institute of Orange County from 2011 to 2012. I learned basic HTML and Java Script. I learned more design concepts and the steps to create a user experience including some E-commerce. After that I got a job in Long Beach doing digital signage. I was working with a small team that didn’t have someone who knew how to code very well. I was constantly looking up stuff and figuring out code. I was working on single page websites that have interactive websites. I was just copying code and using resources like Hacked Up projects, J Query library, and Stack overflow. After I left that job and came to the Dojo. It was as if a whole new world opened up. The Dojo instructors explained things to me that I had never understood before, but was now seeing from a totally new perspective. They really dig deep and start small with specifics before building out to bigger concepts. I just remember constantly saying “Oh that’s what that means.” Or “Oh so that’s what that is used for”. Coding Dojo really gives you the correct ideas about how to use languages and why we use them. My programming confidence increased dramatically.

Q4) Where do you work and for how long do you usually work?

I work for a place called iHerb.com, they are a dispensary of healthy products like vitamins and what not (no, it is not a pot shop). I usually work from 7AM to 6PM just because I like to show up a little earlier with my commute. My job title is Jr. Front End Developer. At our company we have many different departments for the website. The workflow is meet twice a week every morning, discuss things we’ve done and what’s holding us back. What problems did we have? What is going to happen next? It is a collaborative environment for sure. We all want to make sure our process is as streamlined as possible and good ideas come from everyone. As far as project completion goes, I remember when I was working on this small little customer survey box that would appear on the end of an order page. I went out to lunch one day and when I came back in they told me that they had scrapped that idea and would probably use it for another month. That is just the way things are sometimes. It didn’t bother me at all, but it’s something you have to realize when you are working with a lot of different frameworks; companies’ plans change just as fast as the projects you work on. So it is good to have a varied experience in multiple frameworks no matter what language you want to excel at.

Q5) Advice for current students?

Remember why you are here. When I was a student I went to the Dojo from 6AM to 7PM every day if I could. I worked hard at it because I was paying for it. I wanted to get as much out of it as I could, even if that meant meeting instructors on the weekends. I just felt like it was good to keep going. Coding Dojo truly exemplifies the meaning of “you get what you put in”. If you are determined and want to learn more, the Coding Dojo team will work just as hard for you in return. Especially when it comes to career advice later on.

For those of you who are graduating soon. Don’t only apply for the job you want. Apply to as many relevant places as you can. The more interviews you go to the better you will get at dealing with recruiters. You will become an experienced interviewee. Seriously. Get better at talking about yourself and develop your own story. You want to be able to convey everything important about yourself in a short time. Just remember that this is a learned skill and experience is experience.

Follow these links, if you would like to learn more about Coding Dojo alumni testimonials or our past alumni panel. For Jobs at iHerb.com click here.

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