It can be stressful to switch careers into tech after doing something completely different for a long time. In my case, it was being in the military for 12 years.
I had not experienced a real job interview in more than a decade, and I was trying to switch into a completely new career field. Six months after signing up for online coding bootcamp The Firehose Project, I recently landed a software engineering job as a contractor working at Boeing. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to start a new chapter in my career and put the skills that I’ve learned to work.
That said, during my career search, I learned that there is a lot more to landing a software job than just having the necessary technical skills. The post-bootcamp interview world can be really difficult to navigate, so I documented my experience to outline a potential strategy for other coding bootcamp graduates. Read on for my tips to learn how I landed a job- and what I would have done differently!
I knew I was ready when I realized that I was able to bring in value to the company because of my experience. Most of the interviewers told me I would fit in with the teams based on my background. Because I demonstrated a strong understanding of each company’s customers, I was invited to interviews that required a couple years of experience.
How can your coding bootcamp factor into your job interviews? Well, my experience with the Firehose Project came into play a lot during the interviews, mainly because it showed that I was committed to the idea of “Always Be Coding.” I simply talked about the projects that I completed during my bootcamp and how I learned how to implement various things within each project. Some of the most important questions from my interviews were about team experience. I was able to answer those questions by talking about the chess game that I created with my group while attending the Firehose Project.
During my technical interviews, my interviewers liked:
In short, keep coding and articulate how you would add value to the company!
At least one interviewer wanted me to have experience with an internship to demonstrate “time constraint” with software development.
Really the only negative feedback I got was this question about internship experience. I tried to speak about “time constraint” based on my experiences, but it didn’t really resonate with him. The good news was that I didn’t see myself fitting with his team anyway. It was a reminder that you need to consider who you want to work for, and you shouldn’t work for someone if you don’t see yourself fitting in.
Overall, I would try to get more real world experiences through freelancing, volunteering, or contributing to an open source project. After going through the interview process, it was clear that these experiences would strengthen and increase someone’s chances of landing their first software job.
So, what’s the easiest thing that you can do today to build your chances?
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