April decided to take up coding as a hobby after growing dissatisfied with the challenges in her role managing a chiropractic clinic in Edmonton. That hobby quickly became a passion and she eventually enrolled in the Lighthouse Labs Web Development Bootcamp. Today, she is a Front-End Web Developer for Critical Mass in Calgary. She recently spoke with us to discuss her job search post-Bootcamp and to provide some advice for future alumni.
How did you find the Career Services at Lighthouse Labs?
Career Services at Lighthouse Labs was great! What I loved the most about Career Services is that I remember talking to Carmen (the Career Services Manager at Lighthouse Labs) when I was going through Bootcamp and she said “20 years from now if you are looking for a job, we will still help you to the best of our abilities”. After I finished Bootcamp, I started getting interviews scheduled right away. The Career Services team set up a lot of those and they helped me prepare for them as well. This included things like what to look for and what to say.
How did you prepare for the job search?
As soon as I graduated Lighthouse, I remember one of the instructors told me to not forget to keep on coding while I was searching for a job. I ended up taking a week off to go to Mexico but when I came back I started coding again everyday. That was honestly the most important thing I did to prepare for the interviews, which included many technical aspects. Most companies I interviewed with had a culture fit interview which was followed by a technical one. The majority of those technical interviews were verbal but a few did require me to code. They were pretty intense and I couldn’t always answer all the questions but I was taught that they weren’t about getting the right answer but the process and how you think about things.
What was the most difficult thing in your job search?
At first I got rejected a few times so that was a bit hard to get used to. The doubt creeps in a bit that you’re not ready for the jobs. Also the technical interviews can be a bit intimidating because you don’t know what they’re going to ask.
Did you have any fears in the job search?
Not getting hired. Imposter syndrome was definitely something that I had to deal with. I remember the instructors at Lighthouse Labs telling us about it in the first week of Bootcamp and I didn’t really believe in it but it’s definitely something that came up when I was actually in the job search. It was really important for me to get strong mentorship in my first real role out of Bootcamp as well so there were some concerns about not being able to get that. However, I wasn’t too concerned about the money as I knew that it would come eventually.
How was this job search different from your previous job searches?
I’ve never had this much support in a job search before. I was looking for jobs myself a lot as well but the Career Services team would reach out to me often with different leads and opportunities for jobs. It was pretty amazing.
How did your background play into this job search?
I don’t think my background made a huge difference in my job search. The biggest thing was that I managed an office before so my multitasking skills would come up a lot in interviews. As a programmer that skill is important but that was about it. I actually think it’s pretty great because I wanted to leave my past experience behind and this really allowed me to have a fresh start. When I started programming I thought that you needed a science or math brain but you really don’t.
How long did it take you to find a job?
I graduated in December of 2016 and then took a freelancing job in January. That lasted until April and then in May I started at Critical Mass, which is where I am today.
Were there any tactics that were not fruitful?
I don’t think I would change anything I did.
What advice would you give new grads?
You get out what you put in. I worked really hard and it was important for me to do so. On your own time you have to put in the hours and code. For the job search specifically, I would say use all the resources you have. The Career Services team was looking for opportunities for me but I had to look and reach out to people myself as well. Also, it’s important to know what you want. I knew I wanted to work for a bigger company with a lot of mentorship. That might not be for everybody but it was the path that I wanted to take and I ended up accomplishing that goal.