Spyros Fotiou is a student at CareerFoundry, a three month, online, mentor-driven career accelerator. Spyros tells us what to expect from the CareerFoundry Web Development course and how to be successful in the program!
What were you doing before you decided to go to CareerFoundry?
Directly before I started the course, I was out of work for about 3 months. Before that I was working for a tech company in Berlin but in more of a managerial position. It wasn’t very inspiring; that’s how I would put it.
Were you doing anything technical in that job?
No, but I think that I appreciated the role of the developers in the company. Later, when I began to learn how to code myself, I was able to understand and appreciate their role even more.
Is that what sparked your interest in programming or had you tried to teach yourself before?
I actually started learning electrical and computer engineering at university. So I did take some programming classes. I didn’t really know anything about HTML or Rails but I think that I did have a basic understanding of how programming works. I think I was in a better position than an absolute beginner.
Did you consider doing any in-person boot camps or did you only look at programs online?
Honestly, I just liked the way that Career Foundry offered its course and since I had the time and I found it quite affordable, I thought it was a good fit for me. The fact that they also offered the mentoring played a role. But to be honest, I didn’t spend weeks researching because it wasn’t a major investment of either my time or money. But I think it’s definitely paid off and I’m optimistic for the future.
Did you look at any of the other online mentored programs like Thinkful, Bloc or Skillcrush?
I didn’t because I liked that I was in Berlin and Career Foundry is also in Berlin. I felt that it might also be more helpful for me afterwards because I figured that the company would be connected– I had been working for a startup in Berlin, so I definitely got the idea that it’s a small scene and very interconnected.
Which course did you take at Career Foundry?
The web development course. I still have 4 weeks left. It’s a 3-month course.
Do you have to complete the course in 3 months?
Yeah, because you have access to your mentor for a specific amount of time.
Do you have a part-time job now in addition to it?
Do you think that you could balance a part-time or full-time job with Career Foundry?
I think that a part-time job would definitely be possible. It would just take more drive. You need to be really concentrated and plan your time accordingly. Of course, it you had a full-time job it would be really hard.
How many hours a week do you spend on Career Foundry?
It’s kind of hard to tell because there’s an assignment at the end of each day and I might be finished with a daily assignment in an hour, or it might take longer.
Was there an application process that you had to go through or was it just signing up?
I did talk to one of the two founders. We had a nice talk, a 15-minute chat. I was already pretty convinced that I would do it but it was nice to talk to him. Aside from that, there was no real application process. As soon as my money was in I could start – which was also really good for me because as soon as I decided I wanted to do it, I didn’t want to waste any more time.
Is your intention to get a job after you’re done with Career Foundry or is it to start your own business?
Ideally, I would find a job; this is my intention because as I said, in Berlin there’s a lot of jobs right now in tech, so I’m really hoping that the skills I acquire in the course will help me.
Who is your mentor and did you get to choose them?
No, they were assigned to me and I’ve had two mentors so far; Kai Chan and Edward, and he’s based in Berlin. I’m now starting my third month and I’m not sure if I’m still going to be with Edward or if I will get someone else.
How do you communicate with your mentor? Do you use Google Hangout?
I write to them because I prefer it. I email them, ask questions, send my assignment and then they send their review or help me out. But I have also done Google Hangout a couple of times.
Is your mentor always available or do you have to schedule time? How often do you talk with them?
We communicate daily because the assignments are daily. My mentor might not be available immediately but usually, the reply will come in fast.
You said that you had projects at the end of each day. What kind of projects have you done?
It’s all connected to what you learn each day then you have to kind of reproduce what you learned. When I learned HTML, I had to create a website and now for Ruby on Rails I’m in the process of creating an app.
Does CareerFoundry help you get a job at all? Are they helping you with the interviewing process?
I’m definitely very concentrated on finishing right now so I haven’t really thought about it. But they have connected with me with possible opportunities. They have let me know that there are companies who are interested in the students. So that’s why I said that I was really optimistic that something will come up. Honestly. I really haven’t looked into the job market yet.
Do you think that anybody can do this CareerFoundry program or do you think that you have to have a certain learning style or certain traits that make you successful at CareerFoundry?
I just think that you need to be determined to do it because 3 months might sound like a small amount of time but it’s an everyday thing. But it’s not like saying that if you don’t like math then it’s not for you. Programming is something so special and different that if you have never done it before then it will be something completely new and I cannot say if a person will like it or not. I just think you need to be determined if you’re going to make it work.