My Way Into Engineering — Part 1
What I did before becoming a Software Engineer
Before I decided a career change was in order, I dabbled in a lot of things.
After school I joined a PR agency in Berlin, raising funds for non-profit organizations like Amnesty International, the WWF, and the SOS Kinderdörfer.
After a few successful years, I turned into a professional online poker player and even owned my own small startup for over a year before closing shop.
I did not have any experience when it comes to engineering, although I’m pretty good with computers in general.
Since being a poker professional really can’t be associated with stable income and the startup — while being a great learning experience — ultimately failed and we were planning to start a family, I needed to look for something more permanent and stable.
My Next Steps
During this time, I discovered that there were quite a few coding boot camps that had started growing here in Germany.
Some of them taught web development, some taught Java, all of them cost quite a bit of money and were 9 weeks long.
On first glance this looked like a very good fit for me, it would give me a shortcut into a new industry, allow me to work with a computer and probably get me the job I was looking for.
They all worked with technology that I didn’t quite like (funny how that works, I had no idea about things back then but already had an opinion 🤷🏼)
The School I Ended Up With
Still, I registered with one of the boot camps here in Berlin and was about to start when I learned about Lambda School.
Their program came with a lot of promises that I found interesting.
It sounded a bit too good to be true to me, to be honest.
As it turned out they weren’t even taking international students, so I prepared for the start of my boot camp in Berlin.
However, all of that changed quickly when Karen Zachary (who is fantastic and in charge of admissions over @LambdaSchool) reached out to me and told me that I was one out of 5 international students selected to join as part of a pilot project.
How School Was Like
During the following 7 months, I learned a lot.
A day consists of two hours of instructor Q&A, a project to build, standups, pair programming with a sprint challenge every Friday to prove you understand and are able to use what you’ve learned.
Now, as you may have guessed this wasn’t easy.
Sitting down every night from 5 pm — 2 am (the downside to join a school that was not yet in Europe) and learning foreign concepts, working with them and maintaining sanity at the same time was one of the toughest challenges I faced in my life.
But it was also one of the best. Not only did I learn a whole lot and am a Software Engineer now, but I also made a bunch of friends with whom I share this amazing experience with.
How About You?
If you are looking for a way in and are living in the EU or the US I can wholeheartedly recommend Lambda School. There is no upfront cost — they get paid once you’ve landed your first job and exceed the salary cap — and they have an amazing team of instructors and project managers that help every student become the best engineer they can be.