How I Switched My Career to Software Development and Found Job in This Sector..
I thought I should share my career change journey with those who are planning to embark on this path but are undecided or afraid. However, I didn’t know how to explain it until yesterday, after my sister’s friend who wanted to make a career change asked me for mentorship, I decided to speed up this article and share my journey with people. I hope this article can help you. If you have any questions, you can reach out to me from here or LinkedIn.
Before Deciding on a Career Shift
I studied International business administration and trade at Yeditepe university. After graduation, my first position was assistant brand specialist. I worked 2.5 years in the marketing department. I loved my job and colleagues but I was feeling that I was repeating myself. As a result of it, I was not improving my skills and my income was low if I compared my working hours. Therefore, I decided to change my career. Firstly, I gave my resignation and left my old job and then I went to the Netherlands to improve my English ( the level of my English was terrible at that time cause I could not have time to practice due to long hours of working). After I spent a couple of months in the Netherlands taking English course my English became much better and I was now able to communicate with people. During my stay in Amsterdam, I joined many meetings to understand what I want and how I progress. One day I went to a meet up where people talked about UI & UX. It was the first time I encountered the concept of bootcamp. After deep research I decided to enroll in Ironhack Amsterdam for web development bootcamp. (https://www.ironhack.com/en/web-development/amsterdam)
While I was researching bootcamp that I will enroll in, I realized that there are lots of BootCamp in the world, especially in the US. If there is not a certain location for bootcamp in your mind, you can be confused. Therefore, you should firstly decide on the country and city. In my case, my bootcamp would be in Amsterdam, so I only looked at bootcamps in Amsterdam. The second most important thing is the content of education. For example, while some courses prefer to teach SQL, others’ preference can be NoSQL.
I believe that you can make a more accurate choice if you compare the price, course duration, course contents, location, and where the graduates work in a detailed excel sheet while doing a bootcamp research.
Before Started Bootcamp
In the beginning of 2020, I decided to start Ironhack web development bootcamp but we faced the reality of Covid unexpectedly and I could start the course at the end of the summer. I want to share what I did in this process and how I prepared for the bootcamp before starting it.
Preparing to Bootcamp
Some people are interested in technology and coding while others are not. I was also in the second category of people I described. I didn’t have any idea before starting learning something in coding so I guess understanding the logic of coding was more difficult for me. If you feel similar things don’t panic. It is pretty normal.
What resources can you use?
- And of course, if your Bootcamp provides you with any resources, you should take advantage of it.
After I delivered the code task to bootcamp, they sent an email saying that I am eligible to participate. After that mail, my career shifting story started formally.
I was so excited but the Netherland government doesn’t accept class lessons because of the Covid so I had to start a remote course. In those times, of course I was suspicious about the quality of online education. Until that time I was getting used to the traditional education method and I couldn’t know how the bootcamp provided this service with no problem. I can say that it had an awesome program and this situation didn’t make me think that I wish we could do the classroom lessons.
There are 2 options as a full time and part time web development education in my bootcamp. I chose the full time super intense course. Therefore, the web development course was in only nine weeks! + one career week. (I will explain in detail in below)
The first day of bootcamp, someone from bootcamp introduced it to us and she added that your emotions will act like a roller coaster during this process, therefore, don’t panic and don’t feel insufficient. She was right, during two weeks, I was being shocked because subjects in lessons were hard and topics were moving very fast. At the end of the second week, I asked myself if I could continue this course. I knew it was difficult but I didn’t give up and completed my course. I think you can push yourself but if you feel not good you can give yourself a break and you can attend the next semester course. (Please check it again because in my time Ironhack gave this chance to students)
My web development bootcamp is divided into 3 modules and each module consists of two training weeks and a project week.
During the first two week basic JS, CSS and HTML were taught. In the third week, for the first time as a 3 member group we created a game project using HTML, CSS, JS and Canvas. After completing coding, we presented a demo. In the fourth week Monday morning our teacher evaluated our code quality and gave some points. (Points that you gave aren’t important, our teacher and TAs aim was improving our coding thanks to this evaluation method.)
In the second module (4th, 5th and 6th week), we started to learn and touch the backend part. If I explain how the course was conducted, I can say that everything was going according to plan. In general, the first two hours of lessons were taught, after which we were divided into labs of two or three people, and we were coding in labs related to the current day’s topics. After lunch training was continuing for about one or two hours and later we went to labs similar to the morning. Many people in my class claimed that the backend part is difficulter than the frontend part so in the second module peoples’ motivation decreased a bit but after a while, they could get used to the backend and start to understand the logic of the backend. In the 6th week my friend and I made an app that is similar to twitter and stackoverflow. In the first time we did a full stack project so it was exciting for me and thanks to the group project I learned pair programming and working with a group and while doing plans we used trello so we can follow each other. (Using trello is really good — I recommend it- it helps to follow your tasks and their process and you can use them in every field.) In that project, I focused on the authentication part and design. To be honest while I was coding in the authentication part, I enjoyed it. After a one week coding process, we presented the demo and explained our code to class.
After successfully completing the second presentation, I entered the 7th week with excitement and fear. During module 3, we learned to react and do single page apps. It was confusing to understand the state and props in the React for me and to be honest I understood them clearly after bootcamp. As I remember lessons continued until the middle of the 8th week after that we focused on the final projects. Firstly I determined one project that I will code and later I drew a layout of my projects in Figma for it to take shape of the frontend part of my web page more clearly in my head. Then, I shared my idea for my project with my teacher and teacher assistant(TA). After talking about my project, I started coding. This process may be one of the most difficult parts in my bootcamp because I had a limited time for completing a fullstack project and the final project was an individual project so I worked hard and coded for a long hours without sleep. My TA and teacher helped me at every point. Thanks to their help, I was able to deliver my project to the project deadline. Our final presentation was friday afternoon so in the morning I prepared my presentation and tried to deploy my code in the heroku. (Deploying my code in heroku wasn’t mandatory so I did it after the presentation). As I remember I was in the second line for my presentation. This situation was nice because watching my classmates’ presentation was more enjoyable after completing my presentation.
After completing 9 weeks of education, we have a career week. In that week, our career coach gave us some tips for the job application process and we met some previous graduates. Joining the career week was optional so some friends didn’t attend it but I think it was useful so every student who wants to find a job should join.
What is the important in Job application process?
- LinkedIn profile is pretty important and there are some points to increase visibility.
- Creating a portfolio is the other significant part. ( If you want to look at my portfolio, you can see from this link : https://ceydaulubas.netlify.app/)
- Expanding your network: You can find people who can inspire and guide you and add them to your friend list in the LinkedIn. If you arrange coffee talking with them, you can introduce yourself and they can give lots of information about this field.
- Never give up, apply for a job every day and try to improve your technical skills.
After Bootcamp and my Job Applicant Process
As I wrote above I created a portfolio as soon as I finished my bootcamp. Later I started to apply for jobs and some firms wanted to arrange an interview with me. However, I failed the technical interviews for the first time. Therefore, I decided not to apply for a job for a while and study/ improve my technical skills during this time. To be honest, my English level was not good during bootcamp, so I had a hard time understanding the lessons and I needed to repeat some subjects that I learned in the bootcamp. After feeling ready to apply for jobs, I started it but in the process of course I continued to study and improve my technical skills. Especially, many fims gave me technical tasks and while I was trying to do these, I understood what I didn’t know. Therefore, the job applicant process was very instructive. After all the interviews I took note of what companies asked me in technical interviews, later I studied and tried to learn them.
Job application process takes a short time for some people while it can take a long time for other people and don’t mind this situation. You don’t focus on finding a job, just try to improve yourself because if you are good enough, many firms want to hire you.
What firms asked me in technical interviews?
I write down the questions that come to mind the most.
- What’s the difference between var, let, const.
- What’s the difference between for each and map.
- Explain the differences between DOM movement in React and Angular.
- You add an API and you get an error. What do you do and what error do you think you encountered?
- Before you clone the code, your colleague added a library but he/ she changed the library and clone this code. How do you carry that code in your locale and what do you do if you face an error about the library?
- Explain Composition in React and why people prefer using composition instead of inheritance?
- Some firms asked questions about SCSS and they wanted me to explain random lines in my old code.
What are the technical code tasks that firms gave me ?
After bootcamp I generally applied for frontend developer roles so I got tasks related to the frontend part. Therefore, this list can give you information about challenges in the frontend part.
- Creating a TMDB web page using TMDB API and React.
- Creating a Marvel web page using Marvel API and React.
- Creating a weather app using OpenWeather API and React.
- Creating a ToDo list with Angular and mocked Json or fake backend.
- Making a blackjack game using mocked Json.
- Creating an insurance web page (create insurance and filter insurance you created) using React, webpack and babel.
- Creating a portfolio according to the company’s rules using React.
- Creating a web page for providing service to firms using React.( In this web page users can add customer, edit their information and filter them)
How many technical interview formats did I encounter?
- Some firms prefer technical oral interviews for the first interview. After passing it they send you one task with a certain deadline. If you complete that task and they like your code, you attend code review. In this interview, they ask some questions about your code and later they can ask questions independent of your code.
-The other method is screen sharing. In the interview they ask some questions about coding and later they want you to share your screen and explain old code examples. In this method there are 3 options. One of them is that if they find your knowledge is enough, they can give you an offer. In the second option they like you but are not sure about your knowledge so they can give tasks as I wrote above. In the last options, if they feel that your knowledge isn’t enough for this role, they say directly and interview process over.
How did I find a job?
To be honest it was a long, difficult and stressful process because you have to pass many processes to get an offer. I have been rejected from many firms but I never give up. Whenever I had difficulty, I reminded myself what I had accomplished and continued on my way. Therefore, If you are currently reading this article by someone who has just entered this field and is in these processes, I want you to know that all the difficulties you feel are very normal. Please don’t give up whatever happens!
After a long interview process, I got offers from 2 firms at similar times. It was a difficult decision for me because one of them was frontend role and the other was jr. software engineer. After deep thinking and researching, I have decided to accept Adcolony’s offer.
How was Adcolony’s interview process?
Adcolony is an American firm so in the first interview I met with someone from the HR department and she asked some personal questions for understanding me and if I would be a good fit for the firm. Later, she wanted to evaluate my english and we talked a english shortly. In the second interview, I met my team lead and I introduced myself and my career shifting process. We had a non-technical interview where he asked me questions. Later, they sent me a technical task and gave me 3 or 4 days. After sending my code, they wanted me to do a code review. In the code review, I met the other team members and I explained my code. They asked some technical questions and I tried to answer them. In the 4th interview, I met with the HR director. We had a nice conversation with each other asking questions and talking about Adcolony. In the 5th step, I had an interview with a manager in the USA, to which the team leader is affiliated. After all the steps, HR called me and gave me an offer.
I found a job in the software development field. I am happy but I know my learning journey continues and will never end. I hope everything goes well not only for me but also everyone starting coding. Thank you for reading, if you have any questions, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.