Hired as a full-stack developer a week after the coding bootcamp in Barcelona
She accepted a job offer one week after the bootcamp ended and is now a full-stack developer in a field she studied and loves!
Avalon van der Horst
What were you doing before Le Wagon Barcelona and what led you to enroll?
My background is in Geography and GIS (geospatial data), and before Le Wagon I worked for a couple of tech companies in California in positions that included creating maps for self-driving cars, and analyzing geospatial data for Apple Maps. I quickly realized the importance of programming skills in the field of GIS - my peers with these skills were given more opportunities to advance and take on interesting challenges, while I was quickly becoming bored. I learned a little programming during these positions, and also attempted to learn on my own outside of work, but I wasn't making much progress and was craving a new challenge.
What were you hoping to get out of studying code?
I wanted to be able to apply software development skills to my previous field of work (GIS), because I recognized the interesting opportunities in combining programming with GIS - everything from drone technology and analysis of satellite imagery to self-driving cars.
How did you stay motivated throughout the course?
I had a great community - my peers, the TA's, the teachers. In such an enormous challenge, it's really nice to be in a group of people who are going through the same struggles and are not afraid to take some time off from studying to socialize after class!
What was the transition out of Le Wagon like? And what are you doing now?
How did attending at Le Wagon help you advance your career as a developer?
I was able to boost my previous GIS skills with much-valued programming skills and start a job doing exactly what I wanted. I also value the fact that I can take my programming skills with me to any industry in the future, but for now I'm very happy working in a field I studied and love.
Any advice for the next Le Wagon’s alumni?
Start applying for jobs around week 7/8, not only because the interview process takes several weeks, but because companies will start sending you take-home coding challenges and you'll probably think the first few are too hard, but it will be great practice and you'll get feedback, as well as practice interviewing. Apply for jobs where you can offer your existing skills and previous work experience, it will carry a lot more weight than applying as a junior developer with no experience in an industry you've never been exposed to. And finally, recognize the value in an on-site job where you'll be working alongside experienced developers. I was tempted by the work-remotely/freelance lifestyle at one point, but after nearly two months of my current job I am so grateful for the learning opportunities provided by my experienced coworkers. Jumping into a functioning team with massive amounts of code/projects is a totally different experience than the small, organized, group projects we worked on for two weeks during the bootcamp.
Who would you recommend a coding bootcamp to? And why?
I wouldn't recommend any coding bootcamp to people with zero experience - make sure you've spent at least a few months trying to learn on your own, so you know what you're getting yourself into! Only apply if you have a clear goal/vision of what you want to do with programming skills, ie, you know it can help advance your current career or you want to start a startup. If you have the right expectations, it can be a life changing experience.
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