Heys! I just got the job as a front end developer that starts next week and I want to thank this awesome coding community that helped me making this far!
So to share my story, I am a recent CS and Bootcamp grad from Singapore who has been programming for a year. Aside from learning through Bootcamp and school, most of what I have learned is mostly through self-learning.
I joined a Bootcamp immediately after I graduated from uni, mainly because I felt I hardly learn anything practical from school besides dabbing into different languages and theory. Even though I self teach myself through online courses like udemy and have built small projects outside school hours, I had the hunger to learn more.
Job Hunting and Interview Process
It took me three face to face interviews after sending out multiple applications and talking to recruiters after one month of searching. The first interview was a waste of time as the company was not looking for developers even though the JD had clearly stated, “software developer.”
The second interview was better, but it was a long process, and they ended up ghosting me with no response. (EDIT they just got back to me, but I already accepted the job offer)
I had to do a coding assignment to build a calendar app, followed by a 3-hour face to face interview with five people who rotated asking me different questions relating to security, design, and algorithms.
I solved all their algorithm questions and answered the rest to the best of my ability and answered honestly to questions I do not know.
I was exhausted at this point, then came a phone call from another company recruiter who saw my resume on a job website and contacted me, we had a phone chat that followed up with a face to face interview.
At this point, I had zero expectations. I was still beat from the long previous interview process and the constant calls from random recruiters who are trying to push me to casual contract roles which do not fit my criteria. (I needed a perm pos from my Bootcamp subsidy requirement)
I drag myself to the office to expecting another two to a three-hour interview which turns out to be a surprise. I had a direct conversation with the founder who spoke to me what they do and asked about the projects I did.
I shared two full-stack apps, one being a client project I did doing the Bootcamp for a three weeks project, and my project, which is an e-commerce store.
From there, he proceeds to ask about my thought process on how I did my client project, which I walk through how I capture user stories and how to overcome the challenges I had.
Then what he mentioned next really surprised me, “I won’t be giving you any technical questions.” and after some questions, i got the job offer the next day
it was one of the best feelings I had after I walk out of that interview !.
When to apply for a job and how to maximize chances of getting an interview.
This has been continuously said, but the best time to apply is when you have projects in your GitHub to show and have 50 % of what the Job description has asked.
Projects are always going to be the “experience” part people look out for. It doesn’t matter what tech stack you use but the things you did.
Doing the meet and hire in my Bootcamp, one of my coursemate had the most attention and interview offer solely from his project idea. It wasn’t a fully functional app but because its original and had potential it attracted people.
His project was a bubble tea locator app that locates the nearest bubble from a given location. Since bubble tea was a craze here, it impressed people, and the interviewers even gave him advice on how to improve his app, and it wasn’t the most glamorous or well-made app.
The point is, the value you show is what you build which demonstrates what you can do and not so much of the tech stack you know. You can go through 20 different languages and framework or memorize all the react library functions but unless you make something to show you can’t demonstrate that you know your stuff.
Similarly, for the job I got , the company stack was angular, and I only knew to react. But even so, I still got the job offer because of my projects.
So, in general, focus on building things and not the tech stack. The things you make is what provides value to your resume and not courses or certificates.No one asked about my degree when i was applying btw.
The more things you build, the better the chances you have, which also reflects on your github. I can stress how important this is , as i see many people who struggle hardly had anything on their github. This is the first thing to have when applying.
https://gyazo.com/25a704f8be13c563162baa4ec1d147c4 this was my github activity
What you need to learn are the concepts which are transferable to any language or frameworks you do. Don’t just stick to one thing and keep learning.
If you have trouble making things on your own, then one cool site you can check out is chingu ,https://www.chingu.io/. The more you build things, the better you stand out to people.
Advice on the interview itself
The job-hunting process itself is going to be tiring and can be a long awful process. The main thing though is that no job interview is going to be perfect, even the most well-prepared don’t get the job for ridiculous reasons.
For example, I had ridiculous questions where interviewers asked me “on a scale of 1- 10 how good are you in react?”.
Or my Bootcamp mate who did a difficult coding assignment only to get a 2 word feedback “looks good” and didn’t get the job for culture fit.
So sometimes it’s not your fault, but rather the company doesn’t know what they are looking for. Always be honest to what you know and answer anything to the best of your abilities and move on if you get rejected.
When applying for jobs, always do your research on the company what they do, etc. and have followed up questions. As trival this sounds, I can’t stress how important this is.
Firstly, it speaks volume of whether you are passionate about what the company does or your just looking for a job. It may sound ridiculous but this is often asked a lot, and it could make and break your chances if you don’t do your research.
It also benefits you whether the company is the right fit for yourself because you wouldn’t want to work for a company that treats developers as a cost center.
So always keep in mind interviews are always two ways.
How to keep being motivated
The best advice I give is always to be learning. It doesn’t matter which path you go to whether a degree, Bootcamp or self-thought the effort has to come from you.
Having done all three routes in learning programming through self-thought, cs degree, and Bootcamp, I still think self-learning has worked for me the most. It thought me how to be independent and gave me the freedom to choose the things I want to learn.
Of course, I am not advising everyone to do the same, but do what works for you the most. I did all three because of my thirst of knowledge, and it gave me joy learning from different perspectives.
Throughout my journey, I had my ups and downs and had my struggles too.
Which comes to my next point of having a goal in mind. There will be times you will be burned and lose your motivation. Sometimes it lasts for weeks or months. I can’t count how many times I burned myself out but what pushes me forward is the goal I had that serves as a motivator for myself.
For me, it was a chance to prove myself and to society that I am a capable person and being good at what I love to do. By being the best version of myself and to continuously strive for excellence was what gave me satisfaction to keep going.
Being born with autism, I wanted this career badly, and hence I channeled this energy in the work I do, which has helped me got the job today.
Hope what i share helps people ! happy coding