Getting a tech job after a coding bootcamp is very possible, but not necessarily pain-free.
The days/weeks/months after a bootcamp is completed come with a learning curve of their own, and often include rejection and serious contemplations of what you’re doing with your life.
(Unless you come in with a job offer or some serious leads — lucky you!)
In the bootcamp, you learn more than you ever have in a short period of time. You will build strong foundations for learning how to code.
However, you are not going to learn enough to pass most coding challenges. You will not be ready to have discussions where you confidently share your opinions on different languages and technologies. To top it all off, you might not have any professional technical experience to show your worth.
You will feel like an imposter.
Due to your un-readiness, as well as some skeptics in the industry who doubt the legitimacy of these non-accredited programs, you are going to constantly be rejected for not meeting expectations.
It takes on average six months to find a job after a coding bootcamp. Thankfully, after nearly seven months, and moving across the country, my misery came to an end. I got (and have) a job that I love.
If you’re contemplating a12-week coding bootcamp, remember that it is not a quick $15k hack for changing the direction of your life because you are:
A. not satisfied with you current job or personal life
B. not happy with how much you make
C. assuming you will find a job shortly after the program ends
D. somewhat curious/interested/intrigued about what tech is like
You have to really want this to make it to the end.
Quite a few students in my cohort went back to their old industry/job function after a few months post-bootcamp. Some have also gotten very coveted jobs — it honestly goes both ways!
Here are some tips to stay motivated and to help you land your first job after the coding bootcamp.
Get some real world experience volunteering
It’s important to continue to improve your skills while also working on your team-working skills. Having your code out there that is actually in-production and in active use is the best way to prove yourself and contribute.
Taproot foundation connects nonprofit organizations with skilled volunteers.
I used this site to find opportunities in my area, as well as remotely. I worked as a frontend developer for a mental-health site, part-time, remotely.
My role was to convert Wireframes (created on Zeplin) to React components. I split my “free time” between job searching/interviewing and volunteering.
We had weekly conference calls and I was learning much faster and more efficiently than if I were to find another YouTube tutorial/project to follow along.
Not only was I contributing to a cause I cared about, I was given a lot of mentorship by my teammates and was also given some leeway if I had a busy week if I had something going on — such as interviews. Check it out here.
Get some real world experience, in general
Better than working solo, working on your own projects is being out there.
Be open to internships and apprenticeships. Many of them are open to bootcamp grads, and the chances of you getting accepted into those are much higher than landing a full-time job at the same company. The chances of you getting hired from completing an internship at the same company are very high too!
Ask around your network to see if anyone needs some help with something — maybe a professional website needs some fixing up, or ask a local business if you can offer some help. These are great to add to your portfolio!
Have a decent portfolio site — because it is being judged
This isn’t an industry where your resume tells all. Resumes are accompanied by websites. Those are your two assets, as you submit your faceless application.
Your website is an ongoing showcase of some of your best work.
There is where you tell your story. Take advantage of this opportunity to demonstrate competency and professionalism.
During many interviews I went on, my website was commented on. My Medium articles were sometimes also mentioned.
Here is a checklist of things you should include:
❏ Bio/about section
❏ Projects (ideally deployed) with documented source code (Github)
❏ Downloadable resume
❏ Relevant social media profiles: LinkedIn, Twitter
❏ Easy-to-find contact information
❏ Custom web url
❏ Responsive design
Here is some inspiration.
Use LinkedIn effectively
LinkedIn is the face you put out to the world, so put yourself in a good light. Often, as soon as your application is considered, employers look at your LinkedIn.
First things first, make sure your profile is complete, the more detail the better. Have a professional photo, a detailed bio and resume.
The more details you include about your work history, the less recruiters/hiring managers will have to guess about your background. The more chances you have for getting contacted.
Help recruiters find you by having the right preferences on the career interests section of LinkedIn where you can let recruiters know you are open to jobs. Put where you are in your job search, what job titles you are open to, what cities/locations and types of jobs you are open to.
You can also look for mentors in your industry that you would like career advice from, sort of like a mentorship program. You can select what sort of preferences you have in order to get recommendations.
You can choose to get advice from someone who is in your region, from your college, or is your 1st or 2nd degree LinkedIn connection.
Attend networking events, Meetups, Hackathons
The key message here is to put yourself out there.
PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE.
Do not hide behind a screen, applying to hundreds of applications and hoping for some good luck to kick in.
You are competing against thousands of bootcamp grads, who have the same tech experience as you, so go out there and put a face and personality to your name.
Meet people, attend events. I met great people who were also looking to increase their knowledge of tech, get a job, and some even helped me with my job search.
A great way to find these types of events is by going on Meetup.com, and looking in the Tech group category. You can search by city or zip code.
(FYI: a lot of these events have free pizza, snacks and drinks!)
Add who you connect with on LinkedIn, and this will only help you be more relevant in recruiters’ searches.
Another great event to participate in is a Hackathon. Not only is it a great way to show that you are actively involved in the tech community, but you’ll acquire industry-related skills, learn more, and network with peers and industry-level experts.
Study for the interview: coding challenges
The hiring managers will certainly question whether you have the skills to take on the job, especially if you don’t have any prior professional tech experience.
Coding challenges range from the simple FizzBuzz challenge or something more complex, such as building an entire app. You’re going to have to spend extra time beyond the coding bootcamp
You can use this website to practice technical interview questions: https://interviewing.io/
I also practiced by going on Glassdoor and reading what questions people posted that they were asked. I’d practice those questions, and topics that they covered.
Sometimes, they ask the exact same questions!
Have a support-group to lean on
You can’t get through this without your friends. The best support I got was from other students from my cohort, or former bootcamp-graduates who understood my journey and pain points.
Personally, at times, it was a bit tough leaning on non-tech/bootcamp friends (and venting to them). Often my well-meaning friends would ask after just two months of unemployment, “how long do you think it will be before you go back to your old job?”
But don’t let this discourage you…push on!