I have friends who have just graduated coding bootcamps, and I know others who are in a similar situation. One of the fellows I follow on Twitter – Kyle Shevlin – put out this call for advice last night, and I wanted to capture it here to share with others as well.
I use “out there” in quotes because of our current situation – with the coronavirus keeping us physically distant, I don’t recommend actually going out in public at the moment. However, there are groups of folks out there still socializing despite our conditions – thanks to the technology of Zoom / Teams / Hangouts / Skype and others, we can still socialize virtually. There are also things like Twitter (especially #CodeNewbie Twitter Chats) and Slack for socializing.
I recommend checking out Meetup.com for groups that use the technology that you want to work in. See if they have virtual meetings, virtual coffee/tea/chats, or virtual happy hours. (And it’s ok to drink non-alcohol at a virtual happy hour – not all of us drink.) Get out there and meet folks who may be great to learn from, grow with, and possibly find a new job.
Practice using your words with people you trust. If you accidentally mix up interface and implementation and dependency injection, know that you have friends who can help you get those words straight. If you are uncertain about concepts, talk with those in the field to get a better understanding. The more you practice using your words – the terminology we use in the field – the more confident you may feel about using them in an interview setting.
If there are others you trust, have them review your resume. The last thing you want on your resume are typos, misinformation, or other things that could make you look bad. You really want to portray yourself to the best of your abilities.
Some folks feel like this is an outdated tradition. However, when a manager has a pile of resumes that could pass buzzword bingo, the cover letter makes you stand out. It shows your personality and what you bring to the table. Sell yourself. Make yourself stand out.
In another post, I will share my story of why I believe the cover letter can be powerful, especially at a junior level. I ended up creating an internship opportunity for myself one summer because of the cover letter. While that was ages ago, it still will work today.
I know many coding bootcamp grads are career changers. People from all walks of life go through coding bootcamps. However, I know many coding bootcamp grads who are quick to dismiss their past careers as irrelevant. Managed a team? Had to deal with talking to people? Serving people? Communicating with others? Team player? While these aren’t technical skills, they are skills that can’t easily be taught but still carry forward and are relevant in tech.
If you aren’t on Twitter yet – intimidated by it, tired of the noise (use muting!), or otherwise – and you just graduated a bootcamp, please follow the #CodeNewbie community. Whether you’re new to tech, new to a technology, or just want to support new folks to the community, #CodeNewbie is a welcoming community of new devs and old-timers who support them and others in between. It’s a good way to find others who are in similar situations who can support you. And you never know where your next job opportunity may come from!
Welcome to the wide world of tech!
If you have any questions about growing your career or if you have any advice for newcomers to tech, leave a comment here!