Congratulations! You did it! After months of long days, and even longer nights, staring at your computer screen, working on coding for 70-90 hours a week while pounding 5-8 cups of coffee a day, you completed the bootcamp! The good news for students completing the bootcamp is that the hardest part of your journey to become a Developer is over but that does not mean your hard work stops here. For most bootcamp grads, finding that first position in Development is a challenge in itself. One of the biggest threats that bootcamp grads have towards establishing themselves in this field is the atrophying of skills before landing a role as a Developer.
Being with Coding Dojo as a Career Services Manager for over 8 months now, I have had the pleasure of taking 8 different cohorts of graduates through Career Readiness Week. Each CRW, CSM’s cover everything that students need to know in order to start a career in tech, but the reality is that most will not find employment immediately after graduating. Think about: Unless you started your job search, networking, and recruiter talks before completing the bootcamp, it’s not very likely you will begin working for a company as a Developer any sooner than a month simply because of the amount of time the normal hiring process takes.
This fact, mixed with the natural tendency of people to rapidly lose information that they rapidly learn, can put recent grads in a tough spot where they might actually lose the knowledge needed to land their dream job before they get a chance to interview for it. Not to mention the fact that most students will interview with several companies before landing a role. For this reason, it’s very important that students stay “game ready” while in pursuit of their first opportunity in coding after the bootcamp. In this blog I will be going over 4 essential things that EVERY bootcamp grad should do between graduation and signing a offer letter to stay ready for development opportunities that will come their way because as the saying goes, “you don’t have to get ready if you stay ready.”
Algorithms, Algorithms, Algorithms…
I know this one you’ve heard from every single instructor, ABL, TA, CSM, online video, Tech Talk presenter, etc., and that’s because it’s true. Algorithms are the equivalent to new developers that running is to being a Marathoner. In order to stay “game ready” for your next technical interview, practice algorithms daily.
Spread your Knowledge
One thing students never seem to have enough of during the bootcamp is time. Students learn so much during their time in the bootcamp and at such a fast pace, their skills and confidence might not be where they want it to be. The best advice I’ve ever been given on how to learn something is to teach it to someone else.Try finding someone you know who has a interest in coding, maybe a family member or roomate, and teach them some of the coding you’ve learned at the bootcamp. Teaching someone will not only strengthen your knowledge and confidence in a subject, but also forces you to spend even more time in the curriculum you learned at Coding Dojo.It’s no secret why our TA’s have so much success when hitting the job market: they now they have the confidence and additional time spent immersed in coding that some might need to succeed.
Go where the “Tech” is
One really cool thing about the Tech field is that it has no shortage of people and places who are there to support the growth of local Tech communities. Find out who these people and places are and go make connections! Most cities have places and events focused on creating inclusive, diverse and fun spaces serving as de facto “homes” for tech. Spend as much time as possible at these places, immersing yourself in your local Tech scene.
Had a really cool project you worked on during one of your project week but wanted to add a cool feature? Had a idea for a website or product during the bootcamp but didn’t have the time or knowledge to bring it to life? Want to build and perfect a portfolio site to showcase to employers? Have a friend who needs a website built but can’t afford to hire a developer? Now is the time to work on any and everything you want to. Without the need to dedicate all of your time to learning the curriculum taught by the bootcamp, you can now use your newfound development skills to work on cool things that you have a passion for. The key thing is you’re working on something that not only strengthens your skills, but also gives you something cool to employer when they ask you what you’re working on.
Beginning a career in a new field can be one of the most daunting task one can face. As someone who has done it himself, I know the anxiety and uncertainty that one feels when facing the all too familiar feeling of looking for a job, but in a field that so unfamiliar. Because of this, its very important that students stay “game ready” when in pursuit of employment after the bootcamp. There is no guarantee of when that moment will come when you’re sitting in front of the employer of your dreams, but when you do, you want to make sure you’re in the best possible situation to take full advantage of any opportunities that might come your way.