One year into coding. What I’m proud of and wish I had done differently

1 year ago, I was enrolling with Flatiron School after working for 13 years in the restaurant industry all over the world. I just hung up from a phone call with a friend who contacted me to know how I feel about this industry and if it is worth it. It made me realize that I started this a year ago and that I am now a software engineer. I will go over my time in bootcamp and the job search while working as a server and learning UX/UI design with Google.

Coding bootcamp

My first app that I deployed with Heroku and was able to show my family across the world was also such an accomplishment. You can find the website here. This is Sinatra application where users, after logging in, can add, edit and delete their wines and other users can only view these wines. Following this project, I had a few Flatiron students who contacted and asked me questions about my code and I was actually able to help them which made me feel really good.

http://wine-library.herokuapp.com/

Of course, the day where I passed my final project with Flatiron school was the highlight of this year. I was so proud of myself but also scared to start my job search and actually talk about code with real professionals. It was just the beginning of a new journey.

Few things that I wish I had done differently are:

  • look more seriously into the different bootcamps out there. Look for what language they teach, their stats, prices. I am really happy with Flatiron but that is something I would do differently for sure.
  • get ready before the bootcamp starts. I didn’t know how hard it was going to be and waited until day 1 to start working. I should have started as soon as we got all the links to set up our profile so on day 1 you can actually start learning and not waste time trying to set up your profile. That could have costed me my bootcamp..
  • understand that each month, you are learning a different framework, and that at the end of each month, you are going to use what you’ve learned to build a website from scratch. Anticipating and gathering ideas of projects is really important. Also watching videos about creating a website using the framework you are learning, and even build one if you have time would be so helpful. It would help you get a better understanding of the technology you are using and the result expected
  • lastly but most importantly, communicate and working with the members of your cohort. I started doing this almost the last month and regretted that I had not done this earlier. Everybody was so helpful and helping others makes you understand your code even better.

Job search

What I am really proud of is being able to combine both my job search and my work (I work as a server in a restaurant). Every week I had some deadline and requirements to fill as I was enrolled in the money back guarantee program, where you can potentially get your money back if you don’t find a job after 182 days. I had to connect with at least 8 people a week, write 1 blog per week and post at least 5 GitHub commits a week. Well here we are, as I am writing this, it is day 180 and I am writing this blog which will be my last requirement… So although I haven’t found a job yet, I am really proud of having met all the requirements as it was not an easy thing as I definitely had to work 7 days a week in order to meet the weekly deadlines.

I created a lot of fun projects, like an amazon-clone which is a full e-commerce app where users, after logging in using their Google account, can add and delete items to their basket, and proceed to checkout where I will see the payment in my Stripe account. Showing each project to my family was a real satisfaction and I cannot wait to build something that will go in the real world.

Amazon Clone

I haven’t had a lot of interview during this job search, but the few I had were really motivating and boosted my moral. I had great feedbacks from recruiters and I am positive that one day I will find my place and will bring a lot to a company. This screenshot below is a really good feedback from a recruiter from a startup based in LA who really considered working with me despite my lack of experience.

Now for the things that I wish I had done differently:

  • Work on my Linkedin profile during bootcamp, and start posting about what I was learning and my projects. Also start connecting with software engineers in order to see their posts, as being in bootcamp doesn’t expose you to the real world.
  • Apply to more companies and set up a goal of at least 5 companies a day. I had a Linkedin connection who told me that his magic number was 7, but I think 5 a day 5 days a week is a really good number.
  • Practice the algorithms. I started doing this a few weeks ago but wish that I had done this earlier as I’m sure that it cost me a few jobs, at least going to the final rounds of interview. I am now taking an Udemy Javascript class in order to master these algorithms.
  • Joining more webinars. I started doing this a month ago and I learned a lot from it. These are really informative and you get to know the inside of a company and how it is working for this company.
  • Create an app or website and deploy it. I have mainly been creating clones following tutorial as, I have to admit it, I was short on time. I feel like in order to create an app, you need to have some time to really think about it and time is what I was missing.

Conclusion

French guy who recently moved to the United States. I am also changing career after having worked 13 years in restaurants. I will be going into coding.