One of the lesser talked about topics is what you should do after you have finished your bootcamp.
The natural progression is to update your resume, add all your bootcamp projects to it and launch your job search.
You start applying for jobs on linkedIn and other job platforms and then wait for their replies or may be a coding challenge.
You finish the coding challenge and if you are lucky you get the call for the next interview.
You go to the interview and answer a bunch of questions and if the interviewer thinks you are the best candidate, you can have the job.
It’s actually that simple! … at least in Theory.
After talking to many bootcamp graduates and knowing how difficult it can be to find a job, here are the top 5 things you can do to get hired!
Let’s be honest, the resume is like an advertisement for you to sell yourself. Your resume tells your past experiences, passions and most importantly about your technical skill set to prospective employers.
There are certain things that you need to keep in mind while updating your resume -
Your resume is not for you, it’s for the reader - The HR or Recruiter
This is very obvious advice, but you will be surprised how many times candidates don’t realize that the resume should be focused on what the HR or recruiter wants to see and read in a few seconds.
You want to make your resume easy to read, keeping most important things on top and preferably only 1 page long. Also, you should choose an easy to read font size and font type.
Anything that is not relevant for you to find a job doesn’t need to be on it including your hobbies or prizes you won in school.
The color, style and the template you use is not important unless you are applying for a graphic designer’s position.
Your portfolio is not your project, it is a place to showcase your projects.
Very many times, portfolios take way too much time to build than they are supposed to. For the convenience of HR, recruiters and hiring managers, portfolio website should follow the simplest format -
Your social presence on LinkedIn or any other job platform needs to be SEO efficient
Most recruiters search for candidates by searching tech keywords. So you should have every relevant keyword on your job profile that might be a search keyword for recruiters.
Your job profile on a job platform is similar to a web page on google that either is in the search results or it is not. If your job profile is not in the search results then it is not going to receive any attention from recruiters.
Most people tend to believe that job platforms are for applying for jobs. What they don’t realize is that almost every job platform nowadays also contains a messaging section where you can directly message people.
This is a tool that you should pay attention to. Like in real life, when you talk to people about what you want, they are more likely to help you. Otherwise you only exist in the form of an A4 size paper sheet (the resume).
If you see a job you would like to apply for, maybe next time search for the person who posted the advertisement or a person who works in that company and see if they can forward your resume directly to someone in the hiring chain.
Talking to real people greatly boosts your chances for getting considered for the interview process. Of course, you have to still prove that you are the best candidate for the job but if you never get an interview, you don’t get to prove anything.
What is a good answer to a coding question asked in an interview or coding challenge?
Unlike verbal questions and answers, coding is more like mathematics, where your code either works or it doesn’t. The only way to write your code correctly in a coding challenge is to know all that is expected.
So, take your time and read the problem statement correctly and ask questions if needed (and possible). The same can be said also about general technical discussions during a job interview.
Remember that it is one thing to write code that gives the correct result, but good code also handles error scenarios gracefully. Hence, you must know how your code behaves when the input is not what you expect.
The basic difference between a good programmer and an average programmer is that a good programmer solves a problem and he does it in the most efficient way. Efficiency in coding comes from how long your code takes to return the result (time) and how much memory it takes to calculate it (space). In other words, time and space complexity.
So if you want to stand out from average coders, you must pay attention to your code’s time and space efficiency and write algorithmic solutions.
The last but a very important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t write code for machines, you write it for other humans. Writing clean code shows that you understand the importance of quality of code. Now, every bootcamp graduate can write code, but the only developers who get noticed are those who’s code speaks for their skills.
If you have never sold anything as a product, then this is the time when you must realize that no matter what your profession on paper is, in the end, you are a salesperson.
When you do have a job, you sell your time and when you need to find a job, you need to sell your skills (to get a job). And the faster you accept this truth, the sooner your career will take off.
Selling is one of the skills which no one ever talks about and no university or bootcamp teaches you unless you are specifically doing a course about sales and marketing.
It amazes me immensely that sales is one of the most neglected skills by most people in this world. However, most successful people we see around us are a result of having mastered this specific skill.
If you are one of those developers who believes that by only being extremely good at coding, you will be successful then you are not completely wrong as we do have exceptions in all areas.
For instance, the creator of Linux, Linus Torvald, is one of the best programmers in the world, and by his own admission he is not good at sales or graphic design.
But sadly, that is not true for most developers who want to find a job and start a career.
So, take this golden advice and start learning the skill of selling yourself.
At times you might feel unmotivated and tired of sending applications and finishing the coding challenges. Although it is completely understandable, you must understand that it is a marathon and not a sprint.
With every coding challenge, with every interview, even if you don’t get an offer, you are still learning and growing.
However, you should not only focus on coding challenge related tech frameworks but also work towards learning computer science fundamentals and grow your skills such as data structures, algorithms, object oriented programming and design patterns.
Unfortunately finding a job is not a democratic process and given that every 12 weeks there are hundreds of new bootcamp graduates having exactly the same set of skills as you, you must stand out from the crowd and learning computer science skills help you achieve that.
Have a look at the bell curve and pay attention that the majority of students who come out from the bootcamps fall in the range of 40 to 60 percent and if you are in that range, you are simply competing with way more people than you should.
Learning new skills will certainly put you in the higher range of the bell curve and in that range your competition goes significantly lower. But all this is only possible if you keep a stable pace of learning and keep your focus on growing as a developer.
Remember that success comes to those who work hard for it and deserve it.
Good luck and keep learning!