This is the first in a series of blog posts leading up to the Beyond Bootcamp weekend I’m co-hosting this August.
Over the last 5 years, I’ve attended countless events within the New York Tech Community. Each time that I’m on a panel or that my company has a booth I’m approached by a number of bootcamp graduates who are looking for their first paid programming role.
These networking conversations have spread the full range from painful to inspiring. The most memorable (and most likely) to get hired have been able to clearly articulate their passion for the craft of software development and the value they will bring to a team. These people stand out. Even when I’ve not been able to help them personally I’ve taken the time to connect them to others who can.
We often forget that professional software development is difficult. Those of us who work in the tech industry is surrounded by people who do it daily and even outside of the industry popular culture is full of references to the profession. However, writing software is a complex task and working as a productive professional developer is harder still.
The impact developers can have on companies is large - hence the demand for them. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are currently 1.25 million roles for developers in the United States and this number is expected to rise to 24% by 2026. These are typically well-paying jobs with good working conditions and benefits.
If you went to a bootcamp to enter this industry you likely make a good decision.
However, if you’re like many of the people I’ve met in the last few years you might now be struggling to transform your bootcamp experience into landing a role.
Let me start by saying - this can most definitely be done. In-fact I hosted and produced a series of videos sharing success stories.
So what are many doing wrong? The answer is all about mindset.
Let me give you an example of a conversation I had at a career fair once. Two candidates came over to my booth and waited for a chance to speak. We exchanged greetings and they explained that they had both recently graduated from a bootcamp here in NYC. I asked a question, which I use quite often in these circumstances; “why did you attend the bootcamp?”.
The developer on the right replied: “Because that’s where all the jobs are.”
Am I punishing that person for acknowledging reality? No, but they are failing one of the key tests you need to master when breaking into the tech world with a bootcamp background…
“Will this person still want to be a developer a year from now and do they have the passion necessary to put in the hard work necessary to succeed?”
That’s the question in the mind of most recruiters and hiring managers when talking to or interviewing a bootcamp grad.
Key answering that question is to build a personal narrative. Connect the events in your life and career to your desire to become a developer. Here are some questions to get the thinking:
- What are the questions you seek to answer?
- What are the things you want to make?
- What experiences have you had to date that you will draw on?
- How can you share your passion for learning?
Working through those questions will help you start creating a strong narrative for your transition into the tech industry.
If you want feedback on your narrative, post them in the comments below. Additionally, if you want to spend a whole weekend dedicated to nailing this transition - sign up for Beyond Bootcamp. Use the code - RMBLOG for a 10% discount.