DigitalCrafts — Post-Graduation

Just started my new job today!

Here’s a brief update on graduation and the post-grad job search…

I felt as if I didn’t quite kick it into gear until well into my second month at DigitalCrafts. And for that reason, I focused more on the course work up until graduation and less on the job search. There were one or two students more focused on gaining employment prior to graduation — neglecting to do good work on their final project — whose plan kind of back fired. So I can’t say my efforts were a mistake although I would encourage anyone in a coding bootcamp to start submitting apps 6–8 weeks before graduation. It simply takes a while for some of these companies to actually get around to looking through resumes. I’m starting my job 7 weeks post-graduation and feel really lucky.

Upon graduation, I was happy to be graduating. The week after, I was happy to have graduated and be getting in touch with a couple companies. The following week I was starting to get pissed. I had a few leads but nothing definite. I was also rapidly becoming broke. My most promising lead was this apprenticeship in Atlanta.

The company met with our school about 4 weeks before our graduation and I applied then. I was asked to read some readings and write my responses. Then asked to attend a meet-up. Then asked to write an algorithm. Then refactor and then refactor again. Then write another program and then refactor and refactor again. This went on for weeks and as I became skeptical if they would ever hire me, I began applying for other positions. Soon after, another opportunity present itself.

It is interesting how it worked. I am from Knoxville and had really regretted coming to Atlanta instead of Nashville to learn to code (most of my friends are in Nashville). But I’m glad I did because I ended up driving by Chattanooga on my way down to Atlanta a couple times and eventually decided to check out the city. I was so impressed with what they had done with the city — the downtown revitalization, the use of space, the water-front development — that I decided to look into jobs there. I came across a recruiter on Indeed or LinkedIn and sent her my resume. She actually got back with me relatively quickly (something I wasn’t used to) and we spoke, I submitted my resume and completed a JavaScript assessment for her. She contacted me with a job about two weeks later. A manufacturing company outside Chattanooga. She scheduled an in-person interview and I made the trip up. Quick side note: I almost cancelled last minute because I thought another opportunity was for sure going to work out but decided to go simply because I said I would. (The other opportunity did NOT work out — so I think you get the moral of the story.) The company was interviewing for a developer with JavaScript, Angular, Node, Express, PHP, and SQL skills (ALL technologies we covered at DigitalCrafts). But what helped me the most was that they needed a Mandarin speaker given they have operations in China and Southeast Asia. (I speak Mandarin). I knew the Mandarin would help at some point in the future, probably AFTER I got some more development experience, but I had no idea that I’d be able to find something using it right off the bat. This was huge for me.

I came on in a contract-to-hire position which is super common in this industry. My hourly rate equates to what I expected annually and after three months we can renegotiate. UT-Chattanooga has a great Master’s in Computer Science program that the company may be willing to fund for me. We discussed it early on and they responded well to the idea, but it will not be set until I come on full-time in three months (assuming of course that I perform well and they want me). I had been wanting to go back to school part-time for a more formal computer science education so this could work out well.

Right now the main task at work is to rebuild the website for the company’s dealers, sales reps, and customer service reps. My co-worker has already started building it, but I suggested we rebuild the entire front-end using Angular and numerous AJAX requests opposed to loading in a new PHP file on every click. This will speed it up quite a bit. If we move forward with the plan, I could be really contributing to the team from day two.