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Jessica's Story: From Singapore, to Bali, Bootcamp and Berlin!

I graduated from the Le Wagon Web Development bootcamp batch #649 in Bali in August 2021. About two and a half months post-bootcamp, I landed a Junior Software Engineer role at Collato, a visual content collaboration start-up in Berlin. I’m excited about relocating to Germany at the end of the year.

Jessica's Story: From Singapore, to Bali, Bootcamp and Berlin!
Featuring graduate Jessica Kalip Software Engineer in Collato More about Jessica
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I graduated from the Le Wagon Web Development bootcamp batch #649 in Bali in August 2021. About two and a half months post-bootcamp, I landed a Junior Software Engineer role at Collato, a visual content collaboration start-up in Berlin. I’m excited about relocating to Germany at the end of the year for this new job and to embark upon this new phase in my life!

Hi Jessica, please introduce yourself!
I’m Jessica and I’m from Singapore, but I’ve been living in Bali since early 2021.
I majored in Finance and Operations Management and since graduating from Singapore Management University in 2019, I’ve been working in various locations around Southeast Asia, mainly focussing on impact assessments in the social innovation field.

Why did you choose Le Wagon?
After two years of working as a Strategy Consultant, I decided to make a change, gain some in-demand technical skills, and explore other career opportunities. 

I wanted a career that allows me to work both remotely and internationally, and after exploring different options (both online and by talking to friends and family), I eventually decided to pursue software engineering as my new career path. 

I ended up choosing Le Wagon as I had friends who graduated from the bootcamp and went on to amazing career opportunities afterwards.

What was your learning experience at Le Wagon Bali like?
I am very satisfied with my learning experience at Le Wagon, especially considering that I had virtually no prior experience in coding and was initially very intimidated at the thought of starting almost from scratch.

Although I have friends who taught themselves coding, I personally can’t imagine how it would have been to have to manoeuvre through the jungle of coding topics and concepts without the help and guidance from Le Wagon’s amazing teachers and talented teaching assistants. 

Although some days were challenging, I felt that the course was manageable on the whole, as long as I put in consistent effort with the daily challenges, and kept up with the revision flashcards provided. 

The majority of the bootcamp was spent attending daily lectures by Guido and Gianluca, our bootcamp teachers, and doing paired peer programming on the Ruby challenges.
Rayhan, our teaching assistant, was a godsend as he was highly knowledgeable, extremely approachable and patient, explained concepts clearly, and always managed to guide students into finding solutions themselves without giving the whole game away.

What did you take on for your final project at Le Wagon?
For our final project, my teammates and I developed a weekend travel itinerary planner—“Plan It For Me”. The website allows users to select available activities from a city of their choice and automatically creates efficient itineraries grouped by the proximity of these activities. 
The two weeks spent planning and coding the final project was challenging and the learning curve was steep as we had to debug our code whilst collaborating simultaneously with the team using Git and GitHub.

What did you like most about your experience with Le Wagon?
I have no regrets doing the bootcamp in Bali as Le Wagon Bali was where I met friends from so many diverse cultures and nationalities. 
We grew close from working together daily, scootering to lunch at Bali’s many affordable restaurants, and from our frequent communal weekend trips around the island.

What was life like post-bootcamp?
After bootcamp, it was initially intimidating to finally be left on our own, away from the safety net of our Le Wagon teachers’ guidance— so it was comforting when some of my classmates and I decided to join a co-working space to venture into post-bootcamp life together. 
Although we learnt so much in the short 9 weeks with Le Wagon, there was still a lot more learning to do on our own to prepare us for job readiness.

Following our teacher’s advice, I spent the first few weeks after graduation optimising my resume, and my GitHub and LinkedIn accounts for a software engineering role. 
My classmates and I also revamped the front-end of our other app from the bootcamp.

I continued to brush up on my coding skills with Wes Bos’s JavaScript30 course, and picked up React—creating my own portfolio website from the new skillset I had acquired over the last few months.

Jessica Kalip.jpeg 485.91 KB

Any advice to find the right company/job after graduating from Le Wagon?
Job hunting was a full-time job in itself, and I took about two weeks to apply in earnest for roles in front-end, back-end, and full stack engineering. 

I shortlisted companies by checking whether their corporate mission was strongly aligned with my personal interests, and whether they had a supportive workplace culture and provided mentorship, which was especially important to me starting out as a junior in software engineering.

I read that because of the pandemic, it was important to apply to more companies than usual to increase your chances of getting an offer— so I sent in over a hundred applications and eventually received replies for about 12 of them (including some from well-known corporations). 

I found job opportunities mostly on LinkedIn, and sometimes also on the Le Wagon Alumni Slack channel, where people would post cool opportunities around the world. 
The Le Wagon channel was where I learnt about Collato- a company that was established in 2020 with the mission of revolutionising the future of visual content collaboration. 

I was excited to get a reply from Collato as I’m passionate about the company’s mission and believe that they have a promising future. Following three virtual interviews within two weeks, I finally received a job offer!

How did you prepare yourself for interviews with potential employers?
Only after my first technical interview did I realise the importance of learning data structures and algorithms to prepare for company interviews. 
To improve my chances at future interviews, I then subscribed to a few courses on Code with MOSH and self-learnt concepts that Computer Science graduates are normally equipped with in order to cover any gaps in my working knowledge.

What did the work visa application process entail?
As a Singaporean, I needed visa sponsorship to legally move to and work in Berlin. 
Collato has been instrumental in streamlining my upcoming move to Berlin by enlisting the services of a third-party platform that helps employers manage international teams. 
The external company is currently supporting me via a case manager who responds quickly to any questions I might have or issues that might arise.

I was able to easily follow the necessary steps to upload my documents and submit the relevant forms for my visa application. I am currently waiting on approval from the German Labour Market Agency and have a few final steps to take before my visa is approved.

Thank you, Jessica! Any closing words?
While waiting for my new job to begin, I am further honing my skills on React and JavaScript (on Code with MOSH), and GraphQL (with the official documentation).

I am continuously humbled by the things I do not know, and realise that as a developer, you are always going to be learning, no matter what stage you are at in this dynamic career.
Having only recently embarked on my coding journey, I sometimes feel lost- but it is important to know that this is all part of the ongoing process and to learn to trust it! 

I am really excited to take the plunge in pursuing my software development career with Collato and am so grateful to have started my journey with Le Wagon!

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