How To Make The Most Of Your Coding Bootcamp Experience

Posted by Quora, contributor on 13 December 2017 13:58:17 CET


After you graduated from coding bootcamp how long did it take you to get a job and what was your starting salary? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Gabriele O'Connor, Software Engineer, on Quora:

I can only speak to my own (and my fellow bootcamp grads') experience but I graduated from the Flatiron School in mid-October 2015, received an offer two weeks later at an NYC-based startup and began my first day of work the week after. 

Some others in my cohort got jobs around the same time I did but most got a job a month or so after. From what I've heard from people in my cohort about their starting salaries, all of ours are right around the $74.5k average for Flatiron grads.

My biggest takeaways from going to a bootcamp and getting a job quickly are:

  • Find a bootcamp with a great job placement rate. That was a top priority for me because I was leaving a job to become a developer and having no income for months at a time -- while living in New York -- is pretty darn scary. It was also important to me because it's a strong indicator of the program's quality; if employers keep returning to hire from the same bootcamp, then that bootcamp is obviously turning out high-quality developers. I was accepted to several schools but ultimately chose Flatiron because of a friend's recommendation and because of their (independently validated) 98% job placement rate.
  • The technology stack isn't that important. A decent number of people from my cohort use Ruby on Rails -- the main technology we learned at Flatiron -- in their current jobs but a lot of us are using different languages, libraries, frameworks, etc. in our jobs (I use Javascript and PHP, primarily). Going into interviews for a junior developer position, most of what the company's looking for is sufficient technical prowess, problem-solving skills, an ability to learn quickly, and culture fit. You're not expected to be an expert in a specific language but should have a solid foundation in programming fundamentals, which will allow you to quickly pick up whatever tech stack the company uses.
  • Network! You should make the most of your time to go to meetups, programming events, hackathons, etc. whenever you can. A lot of companies hire through employee referrals so the more contacts you have in the tech community, the better chance you have at getting hired quickly. Even better is if the bootcamp you go to has a good careers department with wide contacts within the tech community; when you interview at a bootcamp, you should ask your interviewer for details about what the job placement process is like and what companies previous grads have gone on to.
  • Start practicing algorithmic problem-solving as soon as you can. You've probably heard that technical interviews are scary. They are! But they're a lot less scary when you've trained your brain to be more adept at solving the types of questions you might receive in them. Some great resources for developing this problem-solving muscle areProject Euler, Hackerrank, Coderbyte and Codewars, and there are often beginner-friendly meetups devoted to algorithmic problem-solving. I also recommend a book called Cracking the Coding Interview, which breaks down some fundamental computer science concepts into chapters and coding challenges.

In terms of using what I learned at bootcamp and feeling prepared for my job, I was definitely able to hit the ground running but feel like I still have a lot to learn, especially in terms of software architecture, devOps, scalability, etc. (though I'm not sure if many junior developers graduate school and have a handle on that stuff immediately). I have great mentorship and challenging work, so even though I'm still very much a junior developer, I'm learning a ton and my skills are getting stronger every day.

Hope these tips are helpful and best of luck in figuring out your programming path!

This question originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.




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