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Meet Harm: From Psychology to Junior Developer

Meet Harm, a Dutch junior full-stack developer! On his search for a job that would allow for self-sufficiency and more freedom, Harm joined Le Wagon Amsterdam’s full-time Web Development Bootcamp to change his career!

Meet Harm: From Psychology to Junior Developer
Featuring graduate Harm Binnenkade Full-stack Developer More about Harm
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What were you doing before Le Wagon and what made you want to join the bootcamp?

Before Le Wagon I was a psychology graduate on a gap year in China, where I taught English. Covid was spreading one city away from where I was so I packed my bags and prematurely returned to Amsterdam. This is where I took on a sales position at a clothing brand called Suitsupply. After seven months into my new job, I, once again, had to leave my position due to covid having had spread to Amsterdam. 


What made you want to change your career?

Having had to leave not one, but two vocations I figured it was time to do something that was more, let's say, corona proof. I have always been a gamer, and in the back of my mind, I always had the plan of becoming a developer in the case of an emergency. I thought, if this is not an emergency situation, then what was? Shortly after, I found a bootcamp that I thought fit my personality best: Le Wagon. 


What were your ambitions and expectations when you joined Le Wagon?

I joined Le Wagon because I wanted to become self-sufficient, and even free to a degree. Developers can work remotely and can travel around, and there’s always a demand for the role. In contrast to other coding bootcamps, Le Wagon seemed to have more of an emphasis on creativity, leading to my intrigue. After reading through the many alumni reviews, I knew that Le Wagon was the right bootcamp for me. 


Did you face any difficulties during the bootcamp and if so how did you overcome them?

Like many first-time developers, I of course faced some difficulties. Changing fields and being completely immersed into something new and complex is no easy feat. There were definitely times in which I felt insecure about my abilities, but with this being said, I felt a great deal of support from the teaching staff and the Le Wagon community. They were there to help, in the broadest sense of the word. They explained code but also made the extra effort of making sure that I felt comfortable throughout the bootcamp. The TAs even took extra time outside of their working schedule to talk with me. That’s a gesture you just don’t forget. 


How did you stay motivated during the bootcamp?

Staying motivated was sort of a non-issue for me. The full-time bootcamp in which I was enrolled took place throughout 9 weeks and you really had to make the most of it as time flew by. If ever I was having a tough day, I found that having a sense of humour helped me greatly and it was also a way to put things back into perspective. 


What was your favourite part about Le Wagon?

Although, due to covid my whole learning experience was remote, I enjoyed making life-long relationships the most. I formed great friends that I still see today and that’s something that is priceless to me. Ironically, I didn’t come to Le Wagon to make friends, yet here we are! 


What was your experience upon leaving Le Wagon? What are you doing now? 

After 9 weeks of code I needed to take a little break, so I took a week off to relax before I began my job search. With some luck, I found a great position as a junior php developer at a SME here in Amsterdam! 


What are the lessons you learned from your experience at Le Wagon?

I always joke that learning to code is more of a mindfulness exercise than a puzzle exercise. I’m pretty impatient, which doesn’t help much when it comes to coding! In short, my greatest piece of advice is to slow down and eventually it will come to you. If you don’t know it today, try again tomorrow. Still don’t know the answer? Not to worry, go to bed on time and wait some more. That’s the gist of it. 


How does what you learned at Le Wagon help you with your day-to-day work?

Going into the bootcamp, I didn’t come from a technical background, yet there I was trying to learn as much as possible in 9 weeks. I used to wonder why people chose to deviate from their original studies, but jump forward a few months and there I was doing it myself. I began to embrace the differences in my studies rather than question them. No, I didn’t study computer science, but I did study psychology and now I’m learning to code! I believe that this demonstrates adaptability and a well-rounded character. This is now how I profile myself at work. I can’t speak for my colleagues, but I’m pretty sure they’re happy to have a guy around like me for a change. Embrace your uniqueness!
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