When you can build a product, however small it may be and everything works, it is super rewarding.
What were you doing before Le Wagon?
I studied computer systems in university, but by the age of 37, I had not done much in the area. For ten years, I worked in an insurance company, Império Bonança, as an automobile expert. What made me work there for so long was the flexibility the job allowed. But in 2014, I felt many changes in the company and in the business itself so I started looking for other options.
An opportunity to work in a typography company appeared, so I said goodbye to the big insurance company.
Unfortunately, the move was too hasty and, in the end, the job fell through with the typography company. I was left with nothing. It was a very difficult time, and after more than a year unemployed I was not sure what I wanted to do. Then, I became a computer science teacher. I spent a year and a half teaching kids, which was a completely different experience. When the contract finished, I went on unemployment with some guarantees.
And how the idea to study programming come about?
I decided to evaluate what I wanted to do and I went back to square one. In December 2016, in the middle of some research, I discovered Le Wagon. I sent an email then spoke with Shannon, Lisbon’s Driver, about my background and the refresh I needed to get back into the job market.
Was it easy to get in?
The course was about to begin and there was the possibility of joining the group in April (four months later), but I did not know what would happen in the meantime. I insisted on joining the batch that began in a little under two weeks, finished the prerequisites, and I got in.
What were the essential challenges of the course?
The bootcamp is not easy - it is exhausting. It is nine weeks of daily intensity that does not allow you to recover from everythink you learned the day(s) before. It's knowledge on top of knowledge: I often felt burned out, due to the speed of content being pushed on you. It’s full immersion. A few times asked myself, 'what am I doing here?'. But you come to the end of the program, and when you can actually build a product, however small it may be and everything works, it is super rewarding.
Was it easy to enter the job market after the course?
I was a bit reluctant about this whole process because I doubted I could get any benefit out of a nine-week course. In the end, I did not even have to look for work: on Linkedin I had many recruiters and companies contacting me with opportunities.
I finished the course in late March, and started working as a junior developer on July 4th. In my case, the inexperience in programming was not relevant when compared to soft skills and what I could learn.
What was the biggest surprise of this life changing process?
Recognition and, in the days after much work, a break. Now, I feel like I'm on a project with a awesome team and there's nothing that could convince me to leave. Everyday I am growing and learning, it is part of being a programmer. I never thought I could turn my life around like this. I often feared things would go wrong. I'm so happy with how everything has worked out.
As front end work is more visual, I can see customers enjoying the product, which is such a pleasure. So much that even during periods when the work is harder, I do not even realize that I am opening my computer. Unconsciously, I end up doing certain things because it gives me pleasure. And that says it all.