Insertion Sort & Meet-ups (Resources for the Job Search Post-Bootcamp)
Collected here are four resources for the job search post-bootcamp (three Medium articles and my notes from a meet-up).
- Lessons from my post-bootcamp job search in London by Aleks Gorbenko
- 8 tools for organizing your post-bootcamp job search by Krishelle Hardson-Hurley
- How to land your first development job in 5 simple steps by Eric Elliott
Bullet points from the Lunch Talk: Getting a Job After Bootcamp with Michael Angelo of The New York Times follow:
- should include languages, frameworks, databases as well as testing and version control you know
- "Projects! Actual. Working. Projects!" Include a link to the code (i.e., Github repo)
- Don't bother using the star rating-system for your skills. (E.g., "4 out of 5 stars in Ruby") It's confusing and arbitrary—plus you risk overselling yourself.
- Education: opinions vary about including a bootcamp in your education, but in Angelo's opinion if you wouldn't work for a company that doesn't hire bootcamp grads, go ahead and include your bootcamp education.
- If an app in your portfolio used an API you only had temporary access to, then take screenshots of the app to establish what the flow was like and include that with the code.
- Go ahead and get your friends and colleagues to rank your skills on LinkedIn.
- APPLY: Don't be afraid you don't have every single skill set. Most job posting are written by Human Resources people who don't have much technical knowledge and job postings are often a list of "nice-to-have's."
- REACH OUT TO PEOPLE: Reach out to the people in your life to let them know you're looking for a job. Reach out to the people NOT in your life YET, but who are in positions to help you.
- LURE THEM IN WITH COFFEE: Ask the people in higher up positions out for coffee, your treat, to discuss the field and ask career questions. Most people will be open to this.
- HACKATHONS: Spotify has a monthly music hackathon. You can go for the pizza and work your way up to coding and more intense hackathons with money and prizes.
- MEET-UPS: Go to them.
- NETWORKING: Do it.
Know if you would be a better fit with a large corporation or a small start-up. Some things to think about are the scope of your role in the organization, whether or not the role would be a learning opportunity, and if there's room for growth.
For web developers, re: Should I learn a framework? Only if you really are four out of five stars in a language already. (5 out of 5 stars means you invented the language.) Otherwise, you're playing with fire.
For mobile devs, try creating your own widget. It shows initiative.
- Companies are looking for:
- a human
- who can code
- and work really hard to figure out problems on their own. (I.e., less ramp-up time)
One thing Angelo did to get a job after being given a take-home technical challenge was to send in four versions of the same challenge answer with a paragraph commenting on what he was doing in each iteration of the code. Comments allow interviewers to know you without having you in the room.
- Don't panic.
- Think when you answer.
- Use your words (don't just jump into code).
- Tell the truth.
Cultural Fit: It's possible for the interviewer to ask you to "pull your phone out", e.g., if you have an interview at Google, can you explain why you have an iPhone? Educate yourself about the company.
Technical Fit: Is it more important that cultural fit? Depends on the company. That said, tech skills are teachable whereas values like kindness are not.
SUCCESS is in the FOLLOW-UP
(unless you don't like the company, then ignore the following)
- Send a follow-up thank you email.
- Didn't have a chance to finish a technical challenge or to optimize your answer? Optimize it and send it in after the interview.
- A week out, send a check-in email.
- Consider installing Boomerang, a Chrome extension that auto-sends emails and/or sends them early in the morning (say 7AM) so they'll be on "the top of the pile."
It's fine to ask who you're going to be interviewing with so you can research them some beforehand.
Rinse & Repeat
You're going to get a lot of "No"s. It's true that the first job is hardest to get (just like your first job out of high school). Rinse & Repeat = let it wash off of you and try again.
- You're never going to feel ready.
- Be who you are when you go in for an interview.
- Be ready to hear "No"
- Be ready to move on to the next thing
Re: Working with Recruiters. Like many things, it depends. But Angelo had a very good experience with Cindy at Next Step Staffing.
If you're applying to a large company that has a number of openings you think you'd be a good fit for, apply for the one you most want and then mention the other in the body of the email so your resume and cover letter can be passed around. The New York Times is good about doing that and is always hiring.
Re: Internships. Internships basically do the same thing as bootcamps, so don't do an internship that lasts longer than three months.
Re: Blogging. It can be good to actively job during the job hunt as it pushes you to think, but it's also important to focus on projects.
Re: A website. You should have one. No Squarespace! Use Jekyll.io for simple website templates.
Re: Data Structures & Algorithms practice resources. CodeWars, InterviewCake ($200/year). Also Project Odin. (Editor's Note: John Washam's Github repo is also a valuable collection of resources, also LeetCode.)
After the class, Angelo mentioned that he would have liked to stress the importance of interviewing your interviewer and asking them questions about topics that will be important to your work experience.
This meet-up was very helpful and I would recommend it to others.