From Biology B.S. to Coding Bootcamp BS

This is less of an autobiography and more of a how to successfully apply to and get acceptance into a developer bootcamp. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing.

I recently finished my undergrad degree in Health Science. My job history includes things like tutor, baby sitter, waitress, and pathology shadow. So how did I get into coding bootcamp?

Research

You can’t be lazy here. Take an hour a day for a whole weekend and find the different bootcamps available to you. There are full-time intensive bootcamps, part time bootcamps, online only, classroom only, hybrids, you name it. I chose a bootcamp that allowed me to still work full time so classes are scheduled on evenings and weekends. Check the reviews (good and bad), curriculum, timeline, and costs.

There are tons of websites that break down the information for you!

Apply

Seems a little obvious but seriously just apply. Earlier this year I was struggling to complete my Biology degree knowing very well I had no clue what to do after. What did I do? While in school I applied to a tech internship as a leap of faith. Boom! I was hired. So I figured the same could be done for bootcamp. I chose a bootcamp and applied. Boom! I’m in bootcamp right now. There was no tech experience on my resume in either case. I just made sure I did a few key things:

  • Pointed out my transferable skills (communication skills, being meticulous, ability to learn quickly, knowing how to ask questions, etc.)
  • Planned out and verbalized a clear path/goal. Even if you’re not 110% sure. For now, say that’s your plan. You can diverge a bit once you have one foot in the water.
Graduate with a B.S.→ Learn to do QA at my internship → Dive into more complex tasks like learning SQL or Javascript
  • Remained transparent! For my internship and for bootcamp I was honest about my lack of experience in tech. Instead, I emphasized how willing I was to learn and how determined I was to get to my end goal. Those interviewing me seemed more drawn to my potential than my immediate skillset.

Look for Scholarships

There are scholarships for everyone out there. Developer bootcamps can be pricy and run in the $10,000–20,000 range. Don’t let that deter you. I was making $15 an hour, had no help from parents or a spouse, and felt overwhelmed. YOU WILL BE OKAY!

Find a few scholarships and apply to them. I communicated interest in scholarships to the mentor interviewing me and he lead me to some helpful resources. Ultimately, I won a diversity scholarship through a partnership between Women Who Code & Actualize. So speak up and ask around for financial assistance. There isn’t just one way to do things. Scholarships are out there!

Be Positive

Cliche or not I will never support negative thinking. If you come into an interview doubting yourself you’re going to give those vibes off to the people in the room. Just like we can read when someone is angry or excited, we can read when they’re insecure or pessimistic. Remain confident in your abilities even if they’re not directly correlated with tech. In that case, you bring diversity and any classroom or team can benefit from individuals that make the group as a whole more well rounded.