I've recently graduated from Flatiron School's Online Software Engineering program (December 4th 2019 - woo hoo! 🎉 ), and like many other bootcamp grads out there I've hit the overwhelmed stage of "What now?!". The structure of school spoiled my learning in the sense that it easily laid out where to focus, what to learn.. pretty much what direction I had to take to reach the obvious end goal - Graduation! But where do I go from here?!
I decided to put my efforts into 3 buckets to keep me on track towards my new end goal - Landing a developer job! 😄
- Networking - Online + in person
- Learning / Practice - Udemy + side projects
- Guidance - Mentors + accountability partners
Networking is huge - you never know who you'll meet, what you'll learn and I can guarantee you'll be surprised with something new each time. My go-to with online networking is Twitter (follow me! @heysarahpaz), and I can't say enough about how amazing the community has been throughout my dev journey. I've met some great friends who've become accountability partners and have impacted my growth as a developer immensely. 🙏
Part of being a developer is getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, and yup - socializing as an introvert is one of those things! But, hitting up Meetup's is a great way to put yourself out there within your local community. This is something I am actively working on. Just earlier this week I attended a QueerJS Meetup, connected with a fellow dev who's hiring and passed along my resume.
My go-to's right now are:
- DEV.to (of course! - I try reading at least 1 blog a day.)
- Code challenges (Codewars, LeetCode, HackerRank etc.) - Great to do paired with a friend!
- Side projects
- Ongoing project (e.g. personal website build)
Even with networking and learning, I still felt (and feel!) overwhelmed. And as much as I pushed back on track, I would often find myself falling off. This is when I realized I needed more guidance, and reached out to my good friend Twitter in search of a mentor.
I highly recommend this approach to any code newbie, junior dev, or recent grad! I couldn't believe the amount of people who jumped at the opportunity to offer help. Just this week I had 3 mentorship calls! Aside from Twitter, I also reached out to a mentor on Coding Coach.
But don't think that a mentor is the only way to go - guidance comes in many forms, and alongside these mentors I have a handful of accountability partners who I check-in with daily. Even more so, participating in #100DaysofCode is great for accountability as well!
Figuring out "What now?!" is tough. But narrowing down your goals and focuses with some guidance, a community, and persistence will get you through this weird gray area between graduation and getting a job. Well, at least that's what I believe!
Lastly, I want to end off with a few takeaways from my mentor calls this week:
- Build small projects (2-3 week limit) - for inspiration look up API's you're interested in and work with those. (e.g. think of ways to display the data etc.)
- Be involved - network, meet the local community
- Be active - blog, GitHub contributions etc.
If you've got any other tips to share, please let me know! I'm fresh on my journey and always open to new tips / advice.