Eating Your Computer Science Vegetables:
Interview with Outco Graduate Ricky Holtz
Outco is proud of all the students who have graduated from our program. Today, we catch up with graduate Ricky Holtz to learn how he’s doing since he went through the program.
Outco: What is your current company and role?
Ricky: I’m a Front End Engineer at MapD.
Outco: What was your job search experience before Outco?
Ricky: Every job application felt like a major investment. Whether it was agonizing over a cover letter or trying to connect with people in my network, I felt like the job hunt required a ton of up-front work with zero return. Additionally, coming from an interdisciplinary background, I found it really difficult to position myself; I often ended up applying for design roles because I basically figured it was luck that I got my first job as an engineer. This made it difficult to tell my story in job interviews, and I’d usually get to the final round before I got rejected.
Outco: What was your job experience like during and after Outco?
Ricky: Well, I was unemployed during Outco, but I think I generally feel much more confident now that I’m back in a job.
Outco: What was your biggest takeaway from the Outco experience?
Ricky: I work on challenging problems every day, and I’ve found a company that respects — and values! — my interdisciplinary background. Additionally, I know the value that I add, where I want my career to go, and in general I feel a lot more in control of my career.
Outco: Was the program worth the cost?
Ricky: Definitely. A college course in data structures and algorithms would have a similar price, but lacks the career and professional context of Outco. Furthermore, Outco provides much-needed structure in our already hectic lives. The technical syllabus, the one-on-one resume crafting, the job board, and the office hours all come together to be an incredible resource that’s well worth the cost.
Additionally, Outco provides a motivated, carefully-selected cohort of people to learn alongside. My cohort really helped refine the way that I approached computer science problems, and they also gave me great feedback on my professional presentation. Oh, and I still keep in touch with them, so it was great for building friendships with people who understand the struggle of the job hunt.
Outco: What’s one piece of advice for engineers on the market?
Ricky: You are not your job hunt, even if it feels like it sometimes. Your ability (and your worth as a human being, I might add) is so much more than employers can discover over the course of a few interviews.
Outco: What was your top technical takeaway?
Ricky: Drilling data structures and algorithms was a really great exercise, especially as a developer coming from a CS-adjacent background. I knew data structures, but had never taken the time to really dive into their implementation. I keep telling people that doing Outco was like eating my computer science vegetables — it can be frustrating, but at the end of the day it makes you a stronger developer.
Outco: What was your top non-technical takeaway?
Ricky: Quantity is surprisingly important in the job hunt. I think my major problem in the past was that I didn’t aggressively apply to any job that matched my skill set; I cherry picked and assumed way too much up front. I ended up at a company that I never would have thought I qualified for, doing work that I never realized could be so interesting.
Outco accelerates career transitions for software engineers by 1–3 months, and increases the compensation of software engineers by up to 50%. Through onsite and remote classes, coaches focus on building emotional intelligence, communication skills, self-awareness, as well as relevant technical skills such as system design & scaling, object oriented design, algorithms, and data structures. To date, Outco has served over 450+ software engineers who have received offers from top companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, and a bunch of YC startups. To learn more, sign up for a free info session, or email us at email@example.com