How to give yourself a coding boot camp

Here are the steps you can take to learn web development and get hired. This advice is based on my experiences so it is extremely biased ūüėČ

  1. Save lots of money, ideally enough to cover 2 years of expenses. This would give you the option to quit your job and focus 100% on coding.
  2. Learn for free and get free help.
  3. Get inspired. Read How to Get Inspired about Web Development and You can get a coding job!
  4. If you have done steps 1-3, you can now begin your boot camp.
    Commit to building a site every day and blogging about what you have learned and built. Remember Jennifer DeWalt’s advice:

    Throughout the project a start small, keep going mantra was in my head. It is important to understand that you don’t necessarily need to understand to get things working. It is just as important to keep moving forward. The understanding will come eventually.

  5. Fully commit. Be willing to build 30 sites in 30 days, 100 sites in 100 days, 180 sites in 180 days, whatever it takes to get hired.
  6. After 30 days of building, revamp your resume and start applying for jobs.
  7. Prepare for interviews by doing code challenges. Free Code Camp has fun problems as does Code Wars.
  8. Don’t give up.¬†You can do it! Keep going until your dream job is your day job ūüôā

How to apply for your first junior developer job

So you have been learning how to code, networking, and building a portfolio. But are you ready to start applying for jobs?

This article has the answer:¬†How You’ll Know You’re Ready to Start Working as a Web Developer

And this video also has the answer: Question: How Do You Get Enough Experience to Apply for Programming Jobs?

Now how do you actually apply to jobs?

If you live in an area with lots of jobs like Southern California, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, etc. here’s how you can do it:

  1. Set up your resume and Linked In. Post your resume to every job site you can find.
  2. Register and use job sites that have one click applications. A few are Zip Recruiter, Dice, Monster, Career Builder, Indeed, Simply Hired.
  3. Every day apply to 15 jobs. This will only take a few minutes and will result in 100 applications a week.
  4. Focus on the process over the outcome. Think of interviews as lectures in disguise. Unfortunately you will possibly get rejected dozens or even hundreds of times. But as long as you learn and grow from each experience you will become an even better candidate.
    For instance if you get rejected 3-4 times because you have never used AngularJS, but you then start learning AngularJS and demonstrate this in your portfolio, you will become an even stronger applicant.
  5. Keep learning, building, and applying. You will find a great job because an employer will be impressed by your skills, determination, and knowledge. You can and you will get hired!

 

On blogging

I started to blog because¬†I could not get a job because I lacked experience, and I did not have experience because I could not get a job. The classic Catch-22 ūüôā

Did blogging help me get hired? It definitely helped. Here are some examples:

  • When I was asked, “Are you a quick learner?” I would respond, “Have you read my blog? I have built a site every day since August 3rd, 2015 using¬†numerous technologies including Ruby on Rails, JSON, AngularJS, JavaScript, JQuery, etc.”
  • I would lead with, “I only have a few hours of professional experience, but I have my blog and portfolio of sites I have built. This is like my own boot camp/internship.”
  • When asked, “Do you have experience with Bootstrap?” I replied, “Yes, my blog has examples of Bootstrap sites I built, and¬†also the links and code that helped me build¬†those sites.”

Blogging functioned as an interactive resume as well as a portfolio of my skills.

Now that I am happily working, has blogging continued to benefit me? The answer is also a Yes.

  • Writing my¬†Model View Controller (MVC) Summary¬†helped me really understand MVC because I had to read many articles, explanations, and examples to be able to understand enough to summarize the most important concepts.
  • Chrome Developer Tools Quick Tips¬†helped because I was able to refer to this¬†post a few¬†times when I forgot how to use these tools.
  • Writing¬†Dealing with Coding Insecurities¬†helped me realize that¬†the doubt and insecurities¬†are very common for programmers, but I can win by having fun coding and by improving my abilities.

For more ideas on how blogging can help programmers check out:

Marketing Yourself: Why You Need a Blog

How to Get a Jump Start in Your Programming Career

6 Reasons why writing developer blogs should be practised by programmers

Why all programmers should have a blog?

Why every programmer should have a blog

Why Programmers Should Have a Blog

Why programmers should blog?

 

How to build an amazing resume for career changers…

Note: This advice also applies to anyone looking to revamp their resume.

Recently my friend who is a banker was looking to transition into a dispatcher job. She had no idea how to revamp her resume and make it relevant to her new desired career. Her goal was to show how her current skills and experiences would make her a great fit for her dream job. Here is what I taught her to make her resume great.

The process involves two phases. The first phase is collecting as much information as possible and brainstorming every possible idea. This stage should be creative and done without any censoring. Collecting and brainstorming as much as possible is important because it will prevent the worst case scenario of having too little or nothing to write about.

The second stage is the critical and analytical part of pruning everything that does not fit, while rewriting and tightening every word for maximum impact. These steps should be done in a document that is saved and backed up frequently.

Here are the steps:

  1. Take your current resume and place it a new document.
  2. Copy and paste every job description you can find and place it in this document.
  3. Brainstorm every possible way you might match the descriptions.
  4. Copy and paste every resume you can find for your current position, i.e. coworkers’ resumes, resumes you found online.
  5.  Copy and paste every resume you can find for your desired position. Search online and copy and paste every single resume, good and bad, senior and entry level. This will help you see the patterns of effective and ineffective writing, as well plant your subconscious with ideas on how you can revise and revamp your resume.
  6. After all of this brainstorming and copying and pasting, you will have a document that is dozens of pages long. Now it is just a matter of removing all of the things that do not apply to you, combining similar skills and experiences, and rewriting and quantifying your accomplishments.

This process may seem like a lot of work, but it will definitely prevent writer’s block, help you write your best resume, and also serve as preparation for future interviews.

Good luck with your new excellent resume and don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or comments…

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