Prior to Lighthouse Labs, Natalie Mok was studying Computer Information and Systems Administration at BCIT and working in the automotive industry. Realizing that her passion was in web design and development, the Web Development Bootcamp at Lighthouse Labs was a natural fit to further her career. She is now a JavaScript (Ember) Developer at Later. She recently spoke with us to discuss her experience with the job search post-Bootcamp.

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How did you find the Career Services at Lighthouse Labs?

Good! I was given four interviews with companies as a result of the Employer Speed Dating event that all students go through in Week Six of Bootcamp. The team at Lighthouse Labs has a lot of connections and does a good job of filtering through them to find the best fit for students.

How did you prepare for the job search?

I mostly did a lot of self studying. This included doing fun things like the CodeWars coding challenges and trying to refactor a lot of the projects I completed during my Bootcamp.

What was the most difficult thing in your job search?

The most difficult part of the job search for me was finding a place with a good culture fit and an opportunity to receive mentorship. I interviewed with a few companies and I didn’t click with any of them as much as I did with Later. I found that most of the places willing to interview you were already aware of what hiring a Bootcamp grad would be like so for me the biggest factor to getting hired was culture fit.

Did you have any fears in the job search?

Not finding a job was a big fear. I came to the program on a bit of a whim and I was not sure how the job search would go, especially being a minority in tech and the current job market in Vancouver.

How was this job search what you expected?

Carmen (Career Services Manager at Lighthouse Labs) made the job search a breeze for me. She set up all my interviews and also took in feedback afterwards to see if the company would be a good fit for other students if not me. It was a lot simpler than I had imagined and actually, a bit easier than what I had anticipated.

How did your background play into this job search?

My background did and did not play a role in my job search. Because of my experience studying Computer Information and Systems Administration at BCIT, some companies that I interviewed with wanted me to take on more of a DevOps role, which was not really something I was interested in. I had to be a bit more strategic with how I was answering questions because of this. It was important for me to to set my intentions on what I wanted to do during the interviews.

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How long did it take you to find a job?

I had a several offers almost immediately after the Employer Speed Dating event. I accepted the job offer with Later before the end of Week Six of Bootcamp.

Were there any tactics that were not fruitful?

Yes! One thing I learned during the process was to not turn down a job offer solely on pay. I would say do not be afraid to take less pay in the beginning if you can afford it. The first job out of Bootcamp is really to get your foot in the door and to allow you to learn. The higher salaries can come later. The experience you gain is priceless and sets you up for future opportunities.

What advice would you give new grads?

Be yourself and be memorable during the job search! Don’t forget to keep up with coding and studying during the whole process either. Don’t think you need to be the strongest student coming out of Bootcamp to find a job. Remember that everyone graduating is essentially around the same skill level, with a few anomalies here and there. I find that a company will choose someone more willing to learn but with less technical skill level than someone who has more technical skill but is harder to teach. Also, don’t be afraid to show off your personality and who you are outside of work. While it’s admirable to keep everything about coding, it doesn’t really set you apart from everyone else applying for the same job. During an interview I find it is really good to include fun and quirky facts about yourself. For instance, I always like to answer that by saying I race cars outside of work. I find that answers like that allows me to be more memorable to employers.