In our latest installment on job hunting tips for bootcampers (check out our first here), I had a chance to sit down with one of KJ Technical’s founding members, Nick Ferguson, who brings eight years of recruiting experience to the conversation. Nick has a knack for cultivating authentic relationships with developers in the Denver/Boulder area, often prioritizing lunches and coffee with his past placements amidst his busy schedule. As a senior recruiter, Nick is doing his part to outfit the area with the nation’s best talent as the Front Range continues to establish itself as a tech hotbed and has a few words of wisdom for bootcampers.
- “Network, network, network.”
Get your foot in the door some place, anywhere. Ditch the primadonna attitude. If you haven’t been networking throughout your bootcamp experience, you’re running behind. Meetups, go to all the meetups. (How to Crush It at Meetups)
- “Know your worth, and be realistic about it.”
Bootcamps have sold you on an idea that you’re worth a lot (85K and above); 1% of the top engineers might get that, but it’s not the rule. (National Salary Junior Developer Average Salary)
- “Find a strong team to take you under their wing.”
Get your foot through the right door. Have a mentor. Once you’re onboard with that team, be a human sponge and soak up everything they have to say. (What You Need to Evaluate Before That First Dev Job)
- “Academic experience is not professional experience.”
Jump in and start collaborating ASAP. Hackathons, contributing to open source projects, mock projects, freelancing, etc. Check out repos and existing bugs for projects up on GitHub and get your hands dirty!
- “Many bootcampers think that they’re senior, but they’re not.”
Think back to how much you’ve learned in the past six months, then imagine how much you’ll improve in five years from now! (What Does It Mean to Be a Senior Developer?)
- “Stay organized: maintain spreadsheet with all the people you’ve talked to.”
The dates you spoke, that person’s tech stack, and use that as a plan of attack. Be pleasantly persistent, don’t be obnoxious, and keep your nose to the grindstone.
- “GitHub presence: update your portfolio.”
Tinker on nights and weekends and make sure it’s visible on the site. Highlight your project experience. (Portfolio Advice)
As you can see, a lot of landing that first job is simply being willing to get in the ring and get involved. Thankfully the Denver/Boulder area has an extremely inclusive culture where vets and novices alike can rub elbows at a plethora of local meetups, so what are you waiting for? Keep your eyes peeled for Nick; I’m sure he’d love to meet you!