After graduating from UW Madison, Gee was working in Chicago as a hardware engineer for a year but he decided to come back to his hometown Chengdu after consideration. The Internet is developing so fast in China in the recent 10 years and the software area seems to be more promising than hardware. I had a background in computer science but only limited to a conceptual level. I never fully developed an online product myself so it was a good time to get further education in order to teach myself what tech skills I need to become a full-stack developer.
The first thing I did was google, then I found Le Wagon is a highly-rated bootcamp in every online review platform so I contacted Allen, the city driver of Chengdu Le Wagon.
I found that Le Wagon not only teaches you how to build a product but also takes you through the whole development process, help students develop a thought process like a real developer. That's what makes the learning experience unique.
After I had got an overview of the course schedule, I thought the course structure and content was well organized so I decided to join.
Gee majored in Computer Science in the USA but still decided to join a coding bootcamp. What did you learn in the bootcamp that you didn't get in your CS education abroad? What were the biggest differences between the two types of education?
When I was in university to pursue my bachelor degrees in UW Madison, I felt like the course content was more focused on theories. They taught you how machines work and what was the underlying philosophy of open source. They taught you how to code and a lot of different algorithms to deal with different actual problems.
Le Wagon focuses much more on developing a real product. It takes you through all the processes that you need to build a web product/WeChat mini program and how to think like a product manager in order to build a great product that can attract users. Most of the teachers at Le Wagon are from the USA and they are very experienced developers. One of the biggest advantages for Le Wagon is that the instructors and TAs would pay more attention to each individual student since the ratio for students and teachers/TA is around 2:1 and each one of them was super nice and patient.
Each time I had a question or faced an unsolvable bug, I could just raise my hand. However, you would be waiting for days to hear back from a professor at university.
After he did the bootcamp Gee was looking for a tech job here in Chengdu. How did he prepare for the job search and what has his work experience been like?
The first thing I did after the bootcamp was to look for a new job. In the meantime, I review all the content of what I have learned in Le Wagon since the course pace is a little bit fast and I forget some of the key points about the front-end. In addition to that, I reviewed some basic algorithms in order to pass tech interviews. Then I got multiple job offers. The process is not very hard, sometimes the interview questions are about your experience of developing a product which I had a lot during the time in Le Wagon.
For the past 1.5 years, I worked for a tech media company as a backend engineer. The work was stressful due to lots of late working hours; but in the meantime I learned a lot of new skills. Now I just quit my job and decided to join a new company since I feel like I could no longer improve myself there and the salary no longer matches my level of skill and capability.
Gee also recently taught Data Analytics in Python at Le Wagon, experiencing Le Wagon's program both as a student before and an instructor now.
Based on my education background, I think Le Wagon focuses more on guiding students to think rather than giving them straight answers. During my program batch, the instructors were very experienced and patient. When I met some bugs/problems, they were always there to help you.
Instead of telling you what the bugs are, Le Wagon teaches you how to debug by yourself step by step. After solving the problem, they are also willing to chat with you like how you meet this problem and how could you avoid this again, what are the better ways to code this part, etc. As a Data Analytics teacher, I really appreciate Le Wagon who filtered the right students for this course. During my batch, the students were eager learners and they often brought tech questions to me which also inspired me a lot in return. In Le Wagon, I could feel that teachers and students have mutual trust in each other.
Advice for returnees who wants to pursue a career in technology:
A. I know many of the tech companies in the USA like to ask algorithm questions during the interview, but most of the company interview questions in China are more about your project experience or the bottom level of machine principle since companies do want the people they hired to start to work from day one. So if you want to get into a tech company in China, I think you could try to develop some complex products yourself, which will give you something real to talk about during your interviews.
B. Never stop learning new skills. Software is developing really fast than hardware, so self-study is very important. You could not tell a difference in weeks but if you keep learning by yourself in a year, you could feel a lot different.
C. Find a good tech community that would help you improve faster. There are a lot of developer communities in Chengdu. To find the right ones, join them, chat with them and even ask them for help when you meet some problems which are a lot easier than thinking alone.