Bootcamp Grad Struggles

Hi Everyone - first post here as I just learned about this forum! :blush: I started to first dabble with learning code by utilizing freeCodeCamp’s resources which then led to me applying to a full-time 6 month coding bootcamp. Once I got accepted, I left my comfortable/full-time Marketing/BD role to pursue my dream of becoming a Software Engineer!

I graduated from my bootcamp in Sept 2018 and took some time to build my portfolio along with a few projects to showcase. Fall/Winter tend to be slower hiring months, so despite applying for jobs during this time, I didn’t get much traction on the interview front until after first of the year. I’m about 8 months post graduation and am still on the job hunt. I’ve applied to 200+ junior/entry level jobs in my area (as I’m not in a position to relocate) and have not received any offers… yet. As they say, that first dev job is the hardest to secure so I’m doing my best to keep my chin up! :woman_technologist:

I feel that my biggest challenge is getting more confident with myself during the technical interviews. I’m a very resourceful person and when I’m working on projects I am typically referring to the docs, other code projects or even googling and utilizing resources such as StackOverflow. In the technical interview setting, all these tools (which you have at your fingertips when on a real job) are taken away. For me this makes a stressful situation that much more stressful and can sometimes cause me to freeze.

My coding bootcamp taught me a lot of things and I’m still learning. That is one of the things that intrigues me most with this industry is you will never stop learning as there will never be a shortage of material to explore/learn. One area though I will say my bootcamp failed to prepare us well for was the technical interview. I have “Cracking the Coding Interview” book, have signed up on InterviewCake, tried LeetCode, HackerRank, TripleByte, etc, but there is something about the DS/Algo type questions that I just can’t seem to fully grasp when attempting to solve these in the interview setting.

My questions to you:

  • How did you get better at solving these types of questions?
  • How long did it take before you felt confident with yourself to explain these sorts of problems out loud and then whiteboard the solution out in front of your interviewer?

My language of choice is JavaScript (I have a repo that has JS solutions implemented for “Cracking the Coding Interview” book given the book has this all written in Java) but if anyone has any suggestions on what worked well for you to help you get to the level needed for acing technical interviews, I’m all ears :smile: I’m more of a visual learner so if you know of any good YouTube channels or videos where whiteboarding questions are taken and then broken down to help explain them, I’d greatly appreciate it! Or (just throwing it out there) if any of you are interested in helping me/studying these types of questions together, I would definitely be open to that too.

Thank you in advance!


Heh! Hi there.

Your entire post mirrors my experience almost to a T. Some slight differences- It’s been just over a year for me in looking for my first job as a Web Dev/jr Dev or even Web Tester. I say that because prior to doing my bootcamp, I was a Mainframe QA Tester. I’m currently working… just not in IT :confused: but I’m out of the house so there’s that…

I have the same struggles regarding interviews and technical interviews ( I do have some added issues unique to me that makes it a tad more stressful).

So… I’ll be following your thread and see what others say too. For now I’m continuing to try to practice/learn… leetcode, edabit, FCC

Best of luck to you! It’ll happen (I tell myself that a lot even when I ain’t so sure some days).

Oh yes- I do have,… oh I lie… I thought I had Cracking the Code Interview book (maybe I do- my life is still in boxes)…I do have Programming Interviews Exposed (2013) but haven’t looked at it in a few years… time to crack it open.

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I am lucky in that my bootcamp also helped arrange interview and network. It’s just hard to get a chance cold applying. Having some people willing to go to bat for you when it comes to job recommendation always helps

The only way to get better at those questions is to practice. There is no secret technique per se. What helps is being immediately able to recognize the question archetype, and knowing the common algorithm. HackerRank, leetCode and Codewars are good spots to do them.

I recommend you record yourself doing these things, out loud like you would in some interviews. If you’re a little more daring, stream yourself doing them. The point is to get used to verbalizing the problem and solutions. That extra effort of putting it to words out loud sometimes can help you process. The point of having a camera pointing at you is to help you get used to someone watching you solve problems.

Don’t always put things down in code. If you can piece it together faster in pseudo code, do it. If you can draw a flow chart to visualize your solution, do it.

You can then review these recording, and see what you’re doing and saying, and improve upon that.

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It helped me to practice doing coding challenges from leetcode/codewars type sites on an actual whiteboard while explaining my thinking and process out loud as if an interviewer were in the room. A big part of whiteboarding is just making sure you are talking through your thinking process even if you don’t end up solving it. In person, most interviewers will even help you out if you get stuck.