Guide

How Codesmith Helps Students Determine the Best Software Engineer Role

By Jess Feldman
Last updated on October 19, 2022

Learning to think like a software engineer is only the first step in becoming a software engineer; landing that first job after a coding bootcamp is a feat all its own! Not only does Codesmith boast a dedicated Career Support Team, but they also bring their alumni back as Career Support Engineers to help existing students navigate their job search. Watch Annie and Cara as they weigh in on how bootcamp graduates should decide which software engineering role is best for them.

Meet the Experts

  • Annie Zadikoff is the Senior Outcomes Manager at Codesmith. 
  • Cara Dibdin is a 2021 Codesmith alum and now a Career Support Engineer at Codesmith. Cara is also a Software Engineer at Moody's.

Annie, what is your role at Codesmith? How does the Career Support Team support residents?

As a Senior Outcomes Manager at Codesmith, I oversee the hiring program and career support for our residents. Our team guides them through the Codesmith hiring program, starting with resume building, all the way through lectures leading up to graduation. We support graduates through their job search processes and continue to stay in touch with alumni after graduation.

Cara, what is a Career Support Engineer’s role at Codesmith? 

The Career Support Engineer's role is to support graduates in every aspect of their first job search, as well as throughout their careers after Codesmith. We do this through group and 1:1 sessions and types of sessions like the technical narrative, resume review, and technical mock interviews. We also host a post-grad group kick-off session, which supports graduates with building networks that will help them in their first job search and getting started on the best path to their first job.

The Importance of Career Services & Career Support Engineers

Annie, why did Codesmith decide to add Career Support Engineers to the team? What are the benefits of having CSEs helping residents?

At Codesmith, we truly value personalized support, which weighed heavily into the decision to add Career Support Engineers to our team. For anyone that's done a software engineering job search, you know that constructive feedback can be hard to come by, so it’s invaluable to have someone that can give you 1:1 support and advice on what you can improve within your technical skills and communication. Our Career Support Engineers help us ensure that our curriculum reflects up-to-date industry best practices, since they’re in the field. 

What really makes the Career Support Engineers so valuable is their individual diversity in perspectives, which enables this personalized support through deep relationship-building. I’m sure Cara can attest that CSEs are often the first to receive that celebratory text or Slack message when someone gets an offer, whether it’s that first role out of Codesmith or beyond!

Cara, thinking back to when you were a resident at Codesmith, did you feel well prepared for the job search after Codesmith’s career services? Were employers interested in your Codesmith experience and the experience you gained from your Open Source Product? 

First off, getting into the Codesmith immersive is an achievement in itself! Before admission, you have to hone those technical communication and problem-solving skills, which are the foundations you'll continue to build throughout the program and are essential for the job search. 

Codesmith’s Career Services are one of the most valuable aspects of this program! Any technical knowledge, skill, or experience you might have does not necessarily translate into knowing how to approach the job search, which is a whole different thing. So it makes all the difference to have that job search knowledge when moving into a great position. 

The work that I did on my Open Source Product is still some of the most valuable and technically challenging work I've ever done! Employers are always interested to see how I delved into the weeds on some deeply complex engineering areas and solved some highly complex problems with that work.

Annie, what kinds of goals do Codesmith grads typically set for themselves?

The goal is to reach a high level of achievement. For many grads, that means finding a place to work where the work itself is interesting, challenging, and pushes them to be the best engineer they can be. Whether or not that’s a mid-senior level role, the point is to grow as a leader in tech. Long-term, just like business or law school, Codesmith grads look to build their best professional career through the lens of understanding how effective technology can be in achieving an organization's goals.

Software engineering is crucial in any modern organization's success. Every subset of the tech industry needs software engineers to achieve their goals. Codesmith alums are leaders that understand the underlying role of technology within the bigger picture of an organization. They know to lead others with value, but they also know that Codesmith provides them with the tools to lead their own best life, and they've earned that, whatever that means for them!

4 Tips for Choosing the Best Software Engineer Role

Cara, when Codesmith grads are considering companies, what should they look out for in the job description?

  1. It's great to look for a company that's invested in the growth of their engineers. Are there leadership opportunities or opportunities for you to grow in that role in the company?
  2. Look at the tech stack. Is the company technologically forward, up-to-date, and invested in working with new tech? 
  3. Keep an open mind when it comes to what tech you work with. Codesmith grads learn and start using new technologies all the time because it’s a part of being a software engineer! You have to stay up-to-date with what's coming out.  
  4. Look for opportunities to mentor and be mentored. Software engineering can be a really lonely profession if you let it be. I think the best work is done in collaboration and learning with each other. Try to find an organization that's focused on collaborative work.

What to Expect from Today’s Tech Hiring Scene

Annie, what are the typical tech roles that Codesmith residents land after graduating? What are the top factors residents take into consideration during their job search?

Where Codesmith graduates get hired depends on a variety of factors like company size and type and tech stack. Codesmith grads get hired in conglomerate tech, media tech, fintech, entertainment tech, clean tech, health tech, and more! They also do exciting and mission-resonating work at small and mid-sized companies. The majority of roles are hybrid or fully remote at this point. 

Tech stacks vary between front end, back end, and full stack. Although we teach full stack JavaScript at Codesmith, Codesmith grads get hired for a variety of technologies, such as Python, Vue, Angular, Java, and C++.

Cara, you graduated from Codesmith’s part-time program in 2021. Where are you working now? 

I'm currently working at Moody's Analytics, mainly in TypeScript with React and Node/Express. We work with a lot of data, so my job entails handling and processing that data in a meaningful way, and creating products that make that data accessible for our clients. 

It can be stressful trying to land that first job after graduating from a coding bootcamp, especially when so many bootcamp grads deal with imposter syndrome! What are your tips for current Codesmith residents on how to choose the right software engineering role for them?

Annie:

  • Keep an open mind! You may not work with the exact company or tech stack you expected, but it's important that you click with the team and resonate with the company's values, which is key to long-term success.
  • Mentorship is also a really important aspect to look for within your job search and the companies that you sign an offer with. You want to be working with a team that pushes you to be your best and continually improve. Ask yourself: Did I connect with the team during the interview process? Can I see mentorship as part of my team structure?
  • Make sure that compensation expectations are aligned. You've worked hard to get to this point, so make sure that you're happy with what you’re getting paid!

Cara:

  • As an engineer in the interview process, take that opportunity to talk with other engineers at the company and see what their day-to-day is like. 
  • The interview is also a great time to ask about opportunities at the company for technical growth and leadership, which will be important in your choice.
  • Remember that you're also evaluating the company and the team as somewhere that you'd like to work, so think about what's important to you in a position as you go into that job search. 

Annie, how does Codesmith continue to support grads in their career growth after they graduate?

When it comes to the job search post-graduation, all of the different ways that we stay in touch and support our grads is included as one of the lectures during the hiring program! 

  • A few key points is to keep a constant line of communication. We have Slack channels with the grads and the team to chat through interview processes, questions, and reflect on how things are going. 
  • We have monthly updates that we send to all of our grads so we can check in on things like job search pipeline, what companies that they’ve interviewed with, and see if there is anything that can be refined in their own process. 
  • There's also weekly office hours with team members, which is an opportunity for our grads to network within the community, but also discuss questions with the team. 
  • Lastly, we have our Peer Support Engineer Team that helps our grads work through technical blocks that can come up in interviews.

Cara, what are the backgrounds of the other engineers that you work with?

All the engineers I’ve worked with have come from very diverse backgrounds. Some are from other coding programs and bootcamps, some are self-taught programmers, some have computer science degrees, and some have other degrees and have changed careers into software engineering. 

Ultimately, our goal as a team is to solve engineering challenges and develop a deep understanding of our product. Having a team with diverse backgrounds helps us work together, see different perspectives, and develop interesting and unique approaches to problems. It has been extremely rewarding to see that in my career. An essential part of having a diverse team and different perspectives is engineering with empathy and keeping an open mind, which is instilled in Codesmith grads and is a core aspect of being a successful engineer.

Annie, how does the alumni community at Codesmith support one another in finding the right role? 

Our alumni community is highly active and supportive. It's one of my favorite parts of working at Codesmith! The team continues to stay in touch with alums far past that first role. There are fully-led alumni communities within themselves. Alumni Daily Standups is a really active group that meets every single day to talk about their goals during their job searches, whether it's algorithms or submitting applications. Alums are supported in their first job search, second, and beyond by this strong community! 

Referrals are key to grads getting hired in their roles, and many of those referrals come directly from alumni. We talk about how to network effectively and leverage referrals during the job search in the hiring program at Codesmith.

Cara, since graduating from Codesmith, how have you grown as an engineer?

It’s been such a great journey! My current employer has been fantastic to work for in terms of the opportunities I've had for growth and professional development. I work alongside a team of extremely talented engineers who have been amazing to work with, and I've also had the opportunity there to mentor junior engineers and students through their corporate Social Responsibility program, which has also been a rewarding part of my career.

Cara, do you have any favorite tech job hunt strategies or resources that you’d like to share?

  • Try to apply consistently. You'll get a lot more out of it if you do a few applications every day, even if it is less, so you can catch those opportunities as they come out. 
  • Keep track of your applications because you will forget! Codesmith has their Job Application Tracker, which is a great way to keep track of your progress, what jobs you've applied to, who you spoke to, what the position was, where you're at with the job process. It's also a great way to revisit your job search and check in on your progress.
  • Prioritize what to study with a balance of applications. Definitely brush up on your algorithms and data structures. Codesmith grads: do your hack hours! There's no need to start a whole new course or delve into a huge program of study. If you're waiting to be good enough, you'll be waiting forever! That’s what it is to be a software engineer. You have to dive in the deep end to learn new technologies and skills, so definitely keep working on improving, but find that balance with applying and being involved in the job search process. 
  • Use your support network. Codesmith has this fantastic network of alumni who have a huge wealth of knowledge, more than just a single career support engineer could ever have! Draw on all of that to support you in your job search. Career Support Engineers are here to help graduates and the whole team at Codesmith is extremely supportive. The job search process can be tough at times, so it's nice to find someone who's on that journey with you, who can share what you're going through and celebrate your successes when you do land that role!

Find out more and read Codesmith reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with Codesmith.

About The Author

Jess is the Content Manager for Course Report as well as a writer and poet. As a lifelong learner, Jess is passionate about education, and loves learning and sharing content about tech bootcamps. Jess received a M.F.A. in Writing from the University of New Hampshire, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Also on Course Report

Get our FREE Ultimate Guide to Paying for a Bootcamp

By submitting this form, you agree to receive email marketing from Course Report.

Get Matched in Minutes

Just tell us who you are and what you’re searching for, we’ll handle the rest.

Match Me