How to get a job in tech as a bootcamp graduate - as told by an ex-tech recruiter.
In 2017, Anushka Singh
graduated with a degree in Electronics Engineering. A distinction student with programming experience, she was on a fast track to a career in tech. But unlike most of her peers, Anushka took a step back. ‘I wanted to experiment a bit and find my passion.’ And she did, albeit unconventionally, by joining the recruitment sector. Specialising in tech, she went behind the scenes to navigate the inner workings of tech companies. ‘This move actually helped me to understand the kind of engineer I wanted to be in the future,’ she says.
With three years in tech recruitment and a stint as a growth analyst under her belt, Anushka put her budding passion for coding through a rigorous stress test: the intensive nine-week Web Development bootcamp
at Le Wagon Singapore.
At the end of the deep dive, Anushka emerged – passion unscathed and gainfully employed – as a Software Engineer for Xfers
. It’s not often that we come across a programmer-tech recruiter hybrid, so we had to ask Anushka for some insight into the recruitment side of tech and what it takes for bootcamp students to succeed in the tech industry:
In your 2.5 years as a tech recruiter, what was your idea of a strong candidate for tech roles?
Judging a tech candidate on paper, especially a software engineer, is quite hard. Every company has different ideals. Recruiters and engineering managers look more closely at a candidate's experience with the company’s tech stack and the similarity of projects worked. For example, if the tech stacks are different, how quickly can the candidate pick up new skills? We also examine their impact in previous roles. But ultimately, what makes a candidate stand out is their drive and passion to learn.
Are there 'myths' about the tech recruitment process that you'd like to debunk?
People think experience matters in tech roles and most times, it’s true. But a candidate with 7+ years of experience in a top MNC can be considered a level 2 engineer in some startups, and a level 2 engineer can be considered a level 4 engineer at a different company. It all comes down to what the role demands, the interview results and the company’s level structure.
Do you believe bootcamp graduates have an edge over candidates with traditional tech degrees?
I think both cases have their pros and cons. Tech degrees are important because it indicates a foundation in programming, as well as experience in building logic and training in problem-solving. To learn all of this in two months is probably a stretch, but you can pick up these skills on the job. I feel bootcamp students are equipped with the knowledge and understanding of how the tech world operates, as the course gives you a glimpse of what a career in software engineering will be like. Bootcamp graduates will have the edge of being more job-ready.
Any suggestions for incoming and current students in making the most of their bootcamp experience?
Firstly, give yourself credit for taking the bold step of finding your passion or working towards your goal. The bootcamp will be intensive, but persevere and allow yourself to be guided by Le Wagon’s
faculty and you will be fine. In the end, it will all be worth it when you look at the progress you have made from day 1 to day 60. The number of skills you will pick up in these two months will be unbelievable. The key is to stay motivated and hungry to learn.
How has the bootcamp prepared you for your new role as a Software Engineer at Xfers?
The bootcamp encouraged me to think out of the box, especially when I worked on my final project ‘Ridenow’, which I referenced during interviews to showcase my skills. Having amazing teachers and batchmates helped me feel less alone on this journey, and I know I can always seek advice from my teachers Prima
whenever I need it.
Above all, I think it’s crucial to put in extra effort and hours to learn and be ready for the job market. I remember studying and practising my coding skills, programming theory and concepts religiously everyday from early morning to late at night – even on weekends after the bootcamp. All this sounds like a lot of hard work and it was. But it was also fun and I definitely gained a lot of coding stamina from being part of the bootcamp.
In your perspective, how can fresh bootcamp graduates begin to tackle imposter syndrome when applying and interviewing for tech roles?
The best way to tackle this is to practise your coding skills through platforms like leetcode and hackerank as much as possible. Go through mock interviews to gain more confidence, find a mentor and read about how tech companies work. Continue interviewing and never lose hope. My first engineering-related interview after the bootcamp went so badly that I cancelled my next interview with a different company. It was scheduled for the same day, but I was feeling too demoralised to go through with it. This happens with everyone, not just fresh grads. Interviewing is tough, especially during live code interview rounds. All I can advise is to not lose hope and keep on interviewing, as you will improve after every experience. Each feedback will help you be a better version of yourself.
As Anushka emphasised, the bootcamp in itself isn’t a golden ticket to employment in software engineering. But when combined with clear intent, an unwavering hunger to learn and a collaborative spirit, the outcome often exceeds expectations. Her most memorable moment during the bootcamp? ‘Finally finishing the main project with my amazing teammates. It's unbelievable to see that we were able to accomplish so much in just two months and to feel the pride in how much we’ve learned.’ And we’re proud of YOU, Anushka. Go spread those wings at Xfers, and beyond!