4-5 June 2024

Manchester Central

From Self Taught and Struggling to Bootcamp Trained and Thriving

From Self Taught and Struggling to Bootcamp Trained and Thriving

15th March 2024

Featured image: Raphaella D’Alessandro

Raphaella was a struggling self-taught developer unable to validate her skills and secure a role in techAfter completing Makers bootcamp she swiftly landed her dream job as a Jnr Full-Stack Engineer with a company who had previously turned her downNow she tells her story of how investing in Makers bootcamp turned her future around and why she now considers it one of the best decisions she ever made.

What were you doing before you applied for the bootcamp?

Before I applied to Makers, I was looking for front-end developer jobs. I had done a series of short courses online in front-end development and had spent two and a half to three months applying for jobs and was unsuccessful. I had a friend who had done Makers the year before and suggested that I look into it because it might be beneficial to get a bit more knowledge.

What was your experience of code before applying?

I was quite confident with all the front-end languages, such as JavaScript, HTML and CSS. I had used React a little, but not very much. However, I hadn’t done any test-driven development with JavaScript. So that was new. When I started the pre-course work, I started to realise the similarities between Ruby and Javascript— so having that prior knowledge of JavaScript really helped.

What was your experience on the Makers bootcamp?

Image: Students at Makers

Really, really good. It filled in so many of the knowledge gaps. Before joining Makers I found it difficult because I didn’t really know what I was lacking knowledge of, so I couldn’t find the answers because I didn’t know what I was missing. The bootcamp gave me the ability to figure out the things I didn’t know, to find the answers and to see how everything connects.

I made a lot of friends at Makers as well. There are some people who I’ll speak to forever. My course was remote but that wasn’t an issue in terms of socialising, we made an effort to see each other virtually and even sometimes in real life too.

It gave me a lot more confidence ultimately in knowing that, as a junior, I knew enough. I think that’s quite difficult sometimes. Before Makers, I didn’t have anybody I could speak to, so it meant that I didn’t know how well I had done in coding courses to be able to know if I was ready for my first job. So Makers really helped grow my confidence in myself.

What was the support like on the bootcamp and afterwards when job seeking?

The way it’s done is really clever because no coach will ever just give you the answer. But that’s a good thing because you need to know for next time how you might go about finding the answers yourself. They lead you down the right path and there’s a lot of focus on teaching you how to figure things out for yourself.

Career support-wise, I really loved it. At the end of the course, I was really drained. I had put in a lot of effort and a lot of time and felt like I didn’t want to code anything for a while. The career support team came in with so much energy that it refills your battery again and makes you able to actually start looking at your CV and applying.

What has happened since completing your bootcamp?

So after finishing, I reached out to a company that I interviewed with for a front-end role the year before. I really liked them, but I just wasn’t in a place where I knew enough in terms of JavaScript. I reached out to them and explained that I’d completed the bootcamp, what I’d learned, how I found it and that I was still really keen to speak to them about a job.

They arranged a couple of meetings, set some interviews up, and then two weeks after that I received a job offer from them. So I’ve now been working for a month as a Jnr Full-Stack Engineer using React and Python mainly. I knew a little bit of React before, but not a lot, and I’d literally never touched Python so its all been brand new. But I used a lot of the skills that Makers taught me to pick it up over the past four weeks.

What difference has taking this made to your life?

A big one. At the end of last year, I was not thriving. Makers has broadened my network and connected me with loads of other people who have an interest in tech. And also socially with people who I’m going to stay in touch with. I think it has made all the difference in getting me to a place where I could now be in this role which I’m really enjoying.

I feel like everyone speaks about engineering jobs like they’re really amazing and it almost feels out of reach. But now I feel I’m in that place where I wouldn’t change anything about my job at the moment. It’s just perfect. And it’s actually very similar to Makers in the way the company operates, the culture and the values about learning being a big focus. I feel like from last Christmas to this Christmas, my quality of life is just so much better.

What are your future ambitions?

To keep learning. I think over the next year there is going to be a lot to learn and to take in. Career-wise I would just say there’s a lot more learning to do.

What advice would you give anyone considering applying to a bootcamp with Makers?

You need to be proactive in looking for things yourself or trying somethings yourself. And if you have that kind of mindset where you’re ready to explore and to go with it, then I think it’s really a perfect option for you. The TDD and the pairing parts of it are really valuable. It’s the two core values of the engineering team of the company I work for now, so that’s worked out really well for me. But I know that a lot of other companies do the same thing. I think it’s probably becoming more popular now. So having those skills is definitely something that would set Makers apart from other bootcamps that don’t really focus on that.

Are you thinking about learning to code or launching a new career as a software developer? Join our information sessions to have all your questions answered about a career in tech, our course options and even salary expectations. Or, if you’re keen to get started straight away then you can find our next course dates and application form here.

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