- You’ve had a whirlwind 12 months: you’ve gone from full-time, actively engaged teacher to Software Developer. If you could go back in time and tell yourself to do one thing to make your life easier during your time at Turing and the ensuing job hunt for that elusive first job, what would it be?
I wish I would’ve taken advantage of the extensive online resources for folks who are entering into the world of software development. I didn’t know about many of the tutorials available (and of the ones I found, I wasn’t sure about the quality of the resources).
I’m grateful to the community of support that I found as I made this transition. I met with a mentor weekly, and we worked through coding challenges, projects, and random questions along the way.
- Could you elaborate a bit on how the job hunt unfolded for you? Would you say that you were more successful than your peers, or perhaps less successful?
I broke out my search into a few categories — networking, code/algorithm challenges, and applications. Initially, I set up my day to bounce between these categories, but I found that switching between these every couple hours wasn’t successful for me.
For networking, I reached out to people at companies that I found interesting, and I tried to get a sense of their development culture. I tried to have a couple coffee meetings each week, and people were incredibly open to meeting with me. I also went to meetups to learn more about the tech scene in Denver/Boulder and new technologies.
On the code/algorithm side, I worked through problems from Cracking The Code Interview book, contributed on a project at Code For Denver, and participated in alumni code challenges at Turing.
For specific job applications, I applied to approximately 10 companies before accepting an offer about a month after graduating.
- When we first spoke, you mentioned that you were trying to mark a difference between yourself and your fellow bootcampers. What steps did you take to make yourself stand out from the crowd?
I was halfway through the program when we first spoke, and I expected the job hunt to be more competitive with my peers and with folks from other code bootcamps. I’m thankful it didn’t turn out this way.
Each of us was able to use our backgrounds and interests to create projects that varied wildly. I was interested in creating applications for educators, so I built something for a friend of mine to help his high school students identify the right fit at Colorado colleges and universities. Because I have an education background, I was able to speak to the specific problems it solved.
I also enjoy public speaking, so I created a lightning talk about fractals in software and spoke at a local meetup. From there, I was able to meet with people to get feedback on the talk and open up additional opportunities.
- How have your classmates from Turing fared so far? Did you guys have employers beating down the door, or was a go getter attitude necessary for you to get those junior developer opportunities?
Four of my classmates accepted offers before graduation, and we’re currently at 90% employment (70ish days after graduation). For each of us, we identified how our backgrounds and interests aligned with these companies and spoke to that fit.
For folks interested in DevOps, they built projects using Kubernetes. Others were interested in fashion, so they built projects that solved issues in that industry and are now working at Stitch Fix.
A huge factor in our success has been the success of Turing grads out in the workforce. The first class graduated over three years ago, and we’ve seen a significant number of companies hire multiple Turing grads because there’s a proven track record of delivering business value. These folks have been proactive in mentoring current students, and that contributes to the quality of recent graduates.
- What factors played into you accepting this first role?
I was looking for a company that had a strong culture of feedback through code review, openness to new ideas/processes, and high quality employees. During my on-site interview at Ibotta, I was blown away by the energy and experience of the engineering team, and I was extremely excited for the the chance to learn from engineers who have solved complex problems at scale.
A special thanks to Marshall for taking time out of his super busy schedule to indulge us with his thoughtful answers and insights into the monumental task of switching one’s career within a matter of months. We wish you all the best in your new career, Marshall!