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Life After Coding Boot Camp During COVID-19

mrshawnhum profile image Shawn Humphreys ・4 min read

I know I am not the only one seeking their first dev job even with the pandemic. Although I have read several articles suggesting that companies are hiring more than ever, I have talked to several of my colleagues that have been ghosted by recruiters and receiving the usual "Thank you for applying, but we have found a more qualified candidate". You can probably relate to me if you have applied to 100+ entry-level jobs even if 80% of them "require 3-5 years of experience".

Software Engineer meme

Background

I have recently graduated from my coding boot camp at Saint Louis, Missouri. The course I took was a 12-week JavaScript course that dove into developing full-stack M.E.R.N web applications(I believe they have just changed the course to just front-end after I graduated). Although I had a great experience and did well in my class, I have no background in tech and I don't have any formal education of any sort other than the coding boot camp. From the start, I know in my heart that I had to work harder than my peers who have X amount of experience in this or a Bachelor of Science in that. A big tip I can give to those about to start their journey is to spend at least two or three months self-learning before you start any coding boot camp. Here is how I benefited from this approach:

  1. I had the basics down, so I was able to understand the foundation better than some of my classmates.
  2. I took at least 2-4 weeks to understand exactly what language I want to learn and what field of tech I wanted to pursue.
  3. If I was stuck in a certain topic while self-learning, I could go back to it while in school and be prepared to ask important questions that could help you understand the topic.

If you plan on joining any coding boot camp, I highly recommend attending in-person classes vs attending online classes. Although there are several benefits to online classes(who doesn't enjoy only having to wear a t-shirt and pajama pants?!), it helps to have someone over your shoulder and be able to locate your problem right then and there. It might be difficult to find any school having in-person classes currently, but my class size was small enough that we were able to attend classes in the biggest room the school had and took a lot of precautions including 6 feet or more of the distance between each other and temperature checks as we walk in the door.

After Graduation

After I graduated from school, I took a couple of weeks off to spend time with my family. After so many restless nights completing projects and a lot of energy drinks later, it will take a toll on you if you don't listen to your body. I have applied to a few jobs during that time, but my main focus was to REST. After the two week vacation, my main focus was to apply for any job that I can get. I applied anywhere from F.A.A.N.G companies to small startups and the best I have received was one coding test and a phone interview. The school has been a big help providing listings that I have not found, but still seem to either get a rejection email or no communication whatsoever. Each week, I have made a goal to continuously improve anything I feel might have set me back from receiving a call from a company. I have started to decrease the number of applications I fill out and have shifted my focus to connecting to recruiters/managers on any forms of contact available. Another improvement I have made is to create more unique portfolio pieces that can stand out to employers.

Current Situation

During my time in school, I did have a part-time position in sales with an interest in offering full-time after graduation. I have spoken to my employer and was informed that there were no full-time positions available at this time unless I was willing to wait until the holiday season. Unfortunately with no employer expressing interest in hiring me as a developer as well as only having a month's worth of finances to work part-time, I will be seeking another part-time opportunity, until an opportunity arises for me as a software engineer in JavaScript/React. The remaining time I will have will be dedicated to either applying for employment as a software engineer or strengthening my portfolio with unique and exciting projects. I am determined that my efforts will be paid off in the near future and hopefully will soon write another blog about my experience as a new developer.

Contact Me

I would love to hear from the Dev community on how they were successful in obtaining their first developer position in a similar background. I am active on Twitter(@shawnhumstl) if you prefer to reach out to me there! Thank you for reading until the end!

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Shawn Humphreys

@mrshawnhum

Currently in search of a Junior Software Developer position! I enjoy React, Nodejs, and steaks!

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