I Got the Job!

I’ve been dreaming about being able to write this blog post. It feels as though I’ve completed a very long cycle (of course to only begin a new one!).

About a year ago I decided I wanted to leave my job and attend a coding bootcamp. Going into it I was set on becoming a developer, although I knew other tech related roles were an option to pursue as well.

The bootcamp was the toughest endeavor I’ve ever pursued. I committed myself everyday for 6 months chucking along through the Flatiron curriculum. There were highs and lows (lots and lots of lows) fueled by discipline and determination. I graduated with 4 projects I was very proud of building but I also experienced burnout.

The end of the program coincided with the end of my apartment lease in Philly, and since I didn’t want to sign a new lease without having a full-time job, I decided it would be best to move back in with my parents so I could figure it out (they were living in Long Beach Island for the summer, poor me!). I took two weeks to myself— sleeping 10 hours a night and catching up with friends and family I had negated while I was enrolled in the bootcamp. I then got a part time job at a beachy, bohemian boutique so I wasn’t under financial pressure while on the job hunt. However, as the weeks went by, I couldn’t bring myself to apply to developer jobs. I couldn’t understand why I felt this way. I had dreamed of finishing the bootcamp so I could get a job as a developer. However, I decided to reflect why I was resistant to become a developer. I realized that I missed aspects of my prior job— being a cross team communicator to help resolve customer issues. The thought of coding for 8 hours a day did not appeal to me. It was tough to admit this to myself, because although going into the program I was open to other roles in tech, after I graduated I felt like I “should” pursue a role as a developer, since I had learned Javascript, Ruby, React, Redux, Rails, and some basic HTML and CSS. I stopped “shoulding” all over myself and started to look for roles which combined my deep interest and knowledge of technology with my communication skills. Although it felt like I had turned full circle, desiring aspects of the role I had previously had, I knew I was going into this round of job search more knowledgeable and hirable because of the skills I learned in the coding bootcamp.

The first step was to figure out what the title of the role was that I was looking for. Initially, I was open to all positions what were “hybrid” roles- roles which desired both business and technical knowledge. This included roles such as a solutions engineer, customer operations engineer, various analyst roles, technology associate, application support service coordinator and technical onboarding specialist. After initial phone screenings and learning about the aforementioned roles, I began to trim down the list of positions I wanted to apply to. Solutions engineer proved to be too much involved with the sales process for my liking. Roles as an analyst seemed too narrow and did not seem to utilize the technical knowledge I had attained. This led me to narrowing down my search primarily to technical support engineer and technical onboarding specialist.

During my interviews I was upfront and clear with the kind of role I wanted. It was my responsibility to communicate that although I completed a coding bootcamp, I did not want to pursue a developer role. I was interested in a role which looked at problems from a technical and analytical standpoint, empathized with stakeholders, and worked with developers to resolve. Coding could be a requirement of the role, but I didn’t want it to be the main focus.

In all, I applied to 20 jobs, had 5 phone screenings, 2 onsite interviews and 2 offers. I want to mention that all phone screenings, and both offers, came from roles I had applied to online, without knowing someone at the organization.

The official role I accepted is an Application Support Services Coordinator with a small consulting and technology agency. I will be the point of contact for clients to reach out to should a web app or website turn buggy or isn’t functioning the way intended. It will be my job to scope, prioritize, and pass on the work for the developers to resolve. I’ll keep both clients and developers updated on deadlines. I’ll work with developers to understand the problem at hand and put it into words so our client understands. I will be responsible to QA the resolved issue. There’s even opportunity down the road to apply by own coding skills and resolve issues once I familiarize myself with the company’s technologies, which sounds exciting.

I’m very happy with this role. It’s everything I was looking for in a role from a professional standpoint, and in a location I want to live in as well— in Monmouth County, New Jersey. I have a quick commute, am close to the beach but also close enough to visit friends I have in nearby cities – New York and Philadelphia. I’m happy I was able to attain a role in tech without having to move to a city, and I’m glad there’s a vibrant tech community at the Jersey Shore. I have been attending networking events all summer in the Jersey Shore and am excited that I’ll be able to continue to attend. The small but mighty tech community is welcoming and personal.

Like they say sometimes you need to leave your job, attend a coding bootcamp, pick up part time jobs as a yoga teacher and studio manager, experience burnt out, graduate from said bootcamp, move home, work in a peaceful feminine beach store for a few months, and brainstorm what kind of role in tech fits your skills before you end up in a role that fits your professional aspirations within a company which aligns with your personal values. This has felt like a long year, which is a good thing, because I felt like I have experienced a lot from a professional development standpoint.

Looking forward to the learning and bright future ahead in my next chapter, onwards and upwards!

2 Replies to “I Got the Job!”

  1. Thanks for writing this, as someone looking at boot camps it would be great to know what support (if any) you had from yours when it came to the actual job search process.

    1. Hi Mark!

      The Flatiron School pairs you with a career coach who guides you with writing a resume, making sure your LinkedIn profile is professional, and even does a mock cultural interview with you and provides feedback. You also get a mock technical interview as well. You receive a job search tracker, and are encouraged to reach out to 8 people per week who could help you get a job. My career coach was also very helpful with providing resources for salary/ benefits negotiation as well. I met with her about 1/ week, and she was available more if I needed it.

      To be successful in the job hunt you must be relentless and a self-starter. Although my career coach was a great resource, I had to find roles on my own to apply to.

      Flatiron also has a 6 month job guarantee, where if you don’t get a job within 6 months of graduation (and prove you are actively interviewing and coding) you get your money back.

      Best of luck!

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