Nicole’s Story: ‘Coding bootcamp gave me the extra push I needed’
Prior to joining Le Wagon Tokyo, Canada-born Nicole has been teaching English in Japan and dreaming about making full-scale applications. After graduating, she surprised everyone by getting a job offer from a company that had never hired a junior engineer before!
👩💻How did you get interested in programming?
I double majored in East Asian studies and Psychology but wasn't really interested
in any careers related to it. At that time, I was already into programming and self-teaching myself through available resources online. Some local businesses in Toronto asked me to help with web design and I tried my hand at custom building Shopify websites.
After moving to Japan, I ended up teaching English for several years but felt I needed a more stable career. Since I already started to learn web development, I decided to take that further and actually make applications rather than just static HTML/CSS websites.
👩💻What did you like about studying with Le Wagon Tokyo?
Le Wagon Tokyo bootcamp represented an intense learning experience which turned out to be exactly what I needed to reach the next level. Besides, Ruby is a good starter language because it’s fun to learn and the syntax is easy to master for beginners. But at the same time, it can be really powerful when you understand how to use it.
I really appreciated being able to focus on a task for the whole day. I want everything to be organized and get a job done efficiently, and Le Wagon teaching approach definitely scratches that itch. On top of that, teachers are great at knowing when to push you a little harder and when to take the stress out of your life.
My favourite part was live coding sessions, a challenging yet amazing experience. I had to imagine how someone else might think and explain my code out loud so everyone could understand.
Our final project Snapcarte was an application to help non-tech savvy restaurant owners get their restaurant online quickly. As the lead developer, I was in charge of code review and the overall structure of the program. The most difficult part was to learn teammates’ communication styles and decide what features we should leave out or focus on.
After graduation, I did basically what we were recommended at Career Week, talked to recruiters and made sure my LinkedIn page is presentable. The stressful part about the job search was having a deadline on my visa. Le Wagon teachers not only gave me great feedback about my CV and what to emphasize when applying, but also encouraged and helped me a lot.
I think the important part is to set aside time for job hunting but not have it take over your whole day. Keep building your skills so that you're more marketable to the jobs you're applying for.
Out of the 50 companies I applied to, there were 5-10 that I was really interested in working at and spent more time on customizing my CV.
I got a job after 1.5 months after graduating, with three interviews successfully passed. It’s worth a mention that my technical interview was half in Japanese, which was difficult but a good
My company usually doesn’t hire juniors so it was definitely exciting but a little nerve-racking, which is why I keep building my skills non-stop. Learning some things on top of what you learned during the bootcamp is really important. Right now, I’m deepening my understanding of Docker and testing frameworks. I also work on projects for my hobbies, for example, I built a little photo blog in Rails.
👩💻What is your advice for people who are interested in programming?
Anyone can learn to code, given enough time and effort. If you need an extra push to get to the level of creating full-scale applications, I think that the bootcamp is perfect. It’s right for people like me, who are interested in coding, but don't really know how to start teaching themselves or who need the focused environment.
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