Braden Linick’s adventure began in America, continued in Europe, went all the way through Asia, and for now stops where it started, in his homeland US.
After graduating from Northern Michigan University as a journalist, his native language brought him to teaching English worldwide. He started in Thailand and after two years, moved to Vietnam. His next job experience took place in Saudi Arabia where he started to explore options for flexible and remote work.
How did he decide to learn programming? Well, the main reason was his technical mindset, he says. Braden graduated from the Autumn batch 2018 and we have caught up with his web development career path after a couple of years of working. Read more about his Coding Bootcamp Praha experience and his main tips for juniors.
Braden, your life story is really interesting. You lived in different countries and worked in various positions. How did you decide that it's the right choice each time?
This is a cool question :) It all started soon after college when I realized that I like traveling and that I wanted more of it... a lot more. I felt that trying something new and living in a new place is the right move because it brings new connections. I followed the principle that life is short and there are so many places I’d like to see. Building on that, when a new place was on the horizon, I was willing to try it.
You got a journalism degree and then took a CELTA course for teaching English to foreigners. What led you to learn to code after that?
To be honest, I wanted a sustainable and scalable career that would provide more financial stability while also giving me the freedom to work remotely. Nowadays, many jobs provide that so the main orientation was the fact that I’ve been a technical person. I enjoy having a systematic understanding of what I’m doing and that led me to code.
Let us know more about the moving and studying experience you got from coming to Prague and starting Coding Bootcamp Praha.
The study experience was great. What helped tremendously was having a mentor who was available to help with troubleshooting. But in its essence, what really does, is just being in an environment where you’re coding full time.
Imagine you are about to start the bootcamp again. Would there be anything you would do differently? What would you advise to anyone who considers signing up?
Of course, you could always prepare more, but the bootcamp is designed for beginners. I would just suggest having a clear and open mind going in. Be prepared to put your time into the work.
“If you want to become a strong developer, the bootcamp can definitely support you, but in the end, it’s all on you.”
We know you had to study, but what did you enjoy the most about living in Prague?
As an American, the experience of biking, tramming (is that a word?), and walking around Prague was amazing. It felt like Europe to me. I loved castles and old architecture but what brought me joy was the beer. Pilsner is my favorite beer ever. It is a Czech original product and is sold very cheaply even in the city center. Besides that, I met some like-minded people at the bootcamp and we had enjoyable conversations over pints on the river, which was nice.
Are you still in touch with the students from your batch?
Yes, I am in touch with probably half of the batch actually. Either through LinkedIn or Instagram.
“I think we had an especially good batch in terms of how we all got along and hung out outside the bootcamp.”
It has been three years since you graduated from the bootcamp. What kind of projects have you been working on since?
I was doing and exploring all kinds of jobs. I interned at a company for trading cards which acted like an Instagram-auction web app built with Vue. I remain working with the same framework at another company, building the app for finding inefficiencies in Australian healthcare systems. After I did data scraping in Python for about 2 months and turned toward exploring my chances on UpWork.com. I was Developing WordPress sites, fixing stylings, building React apps, and so on. Now I work as a federal contractor for the United States Department of Agriculture, building mapping software in React and I love it.
Have you been working more as a frontend or as a backend developer? What tech stack have you used?
We understood that you have mostly worked remotely, so what would you consider as the pros and cons of it?
Firstly, I would not recommend remote work immediately after the bootcamp, unless you have prior experience. Arguably the best thing Coding Bootcamp Praha does is set up employers/recruiters to get you a job upon completing the bootcamp. In hindsight, I would’ve utilized this and probably gotten a real job much sooner, as well as be a better developer much sooner. That being said, I much prefer working remotely. You are just relied on to produce more and need to be more self-sufficient to do it. So if you’re not ready yet, pump the breaks, and find an in-office job where you can learn from your co-workers/boss.
How is your experience in finding clients while working remotely?
Searching clients online as a beginner developer was very difficult and I wouldn't recommend it to everyone. But again, I enjoy getting new experiences from the unknown and I can successfully do that now. I found clients through really any avenue online I could use: Discord servers, LinkedIn, Facebook groups, indeed.com, angelList, etc.
Do you have any advice for developers who are considering working remotely?
How did you decide to move to Vietnam after your time in Prague?
I lived in Vietnam and Thailand for over two years before the bootcamp. I like Southeast Asia. The weather is nice, people are friendly, food is great, you have miles of beaches, and it’s cheap to live in. Cons is that in terms of developing, you’re on your own and there are fewer opportunities than working in the west too.
I could either apply for a job in Prague or go abroad and find something on my own. The path I took required an immense amount of work and learning on my own. But I had enough determination so it all worked out :)
Have you lived there exclusively since the bootcamp?
Kinda. I lived there for roughly 2 years after the bootcamp, moving from Vietnam to Bali but I’m in the US currently with no plans to leave. I’m not allowed to work outside of the country given it’s a government job. But that’s okay. I’ve traveled a long time and I’m happy to stay here for now, especially during Covid.
How do you continue learning? Are you in touch with other developers? Do you attend events, study online, or anything else?
There are some YouTube channels I follow that teach me quite a bit. I sometimes browse dev Twitter. I’m in some dev Discord servers that I participate in periodically. I talk with other developer friends I’ve met over the years, but I learn enough in my day-to-day tasks. At work, I learn through trial and error, Stack Overflow, and last but not least, documentation.
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