What made you apply for a bootcamp? Were you already into coding before joining?
I started coding at a very young age but never really did it professionally. I worked in a sort of corporate career and oil business. When I came to Prague, I wanted to change careers. First I tried to do some independent consulting, and it wasn't really working out. I was looking around to find some way to accelerate my learning and gain some credibility. This place was right next to where I lived, and it was awesome.
After you finished the bootcamp, how long did it take you to get a job?
I started the Monday after graduation. I got the job in the sixth week of bootcamp, left bootcamp on Friday and went to work on Monday.
How did you find a job?
I was just digging around on my own, going through LinkedIn and whatnot. I had only one other interview. I have a friend that works at Socialbakers, so I gave my resume to a friend, which is typically the normal thing, and he gave my résumé to the recruiter and made the recommendation.
Can you tell us how the interview process goes, step by step?
What interview questions did they ask?
Now you are here as a teacher and mentor. What are you teaching in bootcamp?
I am teaching the whole React week, and then I'll be back later to do mentoring for final projects.
How have you progressed since finishing bootcamp?
When you get into the real world and you have to do it every day and they're paying you, it's great. Fortunately for me, there at Socialbakers, it’s a fairly large staff of developers that is a really good resource pool of people with a lot of expertise. My learning accelerated massively. I gained a lot of knowledge really fast. Also, I made a commitment to myself. Any time I was on a tram, I was immersing myself in some sort of coding education. I tried my best to get up to speed as quickly as I could.
How did the bootcamp prepare you for the real world?
I was studying for three months, twelve to fifteen hours a day before I started the bootcamp. And sort of just got locked into watching tutorial after tutorial. It feels like you're hitting a bit of a brick wall. The bootcamp was really good for breaking out of that. You get a real project to do, which is good because the real projects provide you the frustration to learn valuable lessons. With tutorials, you never really experience that frustration because they spoon-feed you the information. Also, in bootcamp, you have access to a teacher and the mentors and the people within the program. So it's good because it gets you out of the tutorial. At the same time, when you really hit a wall and you can't figure something out, you have access to those resources that can help you.
Why did you decide to become a teacher at bootcamp?
I've been a musician for 20 years and I‘ve taught guitar forever. Also, I held leadership positions for the last 6 or 7 years in my career. To me, one of the first responsibilities you have as a leader or manager is to be a teacher. And I enjoy teaching. The other thing is, you're helping people. People are here just like I was here: to better themselves. They're making a career choice or abandoning something that they didn't enjoy or wasn't getting them where they wanted to be. And they're showing ambition to spend a decent amount of money to come here and better themselves. So I like to be a part of that. There's also a selfish reason for being a teacher. It forces you to stay grounded to your fundamentals. They could ask questions that you may not know how to answer. And you have to do some research and it only makes you better as well.
What could you recommend to people who are thinking about starting to code? Is there any advice you would give them?
I would say the easiest thing is to watch some YouTube videos and go to some meetups. Every Monday freeCodeCamp.org Prague meets at a Starbucks on Vaclavske Namesti. The strongest way to stay with some new habit is community. If you develop a set of people around you that are like-minded, you can relate to their struggles and they can relate to yours. It is much more likely that you’ll stick with something if you have somewhere to turn. Try to get involved with some sort of community that's pursuing the same thing. It's not for everyone, and if you just find out that you're not enjoying it, that's fine. Hit the YouTube videos and something like freeCodeCamp.org or Codecademy or whatever, there are a billion different resources out there. And try to find some real human beings that you can share the experience with.
Any advice on what not to do when learning to code?
Don't expect to get it. Learning to be a good developer made me a better guitar player. That is because it taught me how to deal with frustration. The biggest lesson is that it will get frustrating, but you'll get it eventually. So don't let being frustrated deter you from being a software developer. Because that will be forever part of the experience. And if there weren't any problems to solve and we had all the answers, it wouldn't be a career field that is in really high demand because it would be too easy to get into it. It's been a huge life lesson for me to develop this tolerance for frustration. Also, don't get discouraged too easily. Don't feel like you are doing something wrong because you're feeling frustrated. If you're feeling frustrated, it is probably because you're making some progress and you're headed in the right direction. But if you don't make any progress with the same problem, ask for help. Go online. Don't not ask for help. Use Reddit. Use Facebook. Use StackOverflow. Use those resources online because there's an amazing amount of people out there willing to offer assistance. I think real human beings are the key to success in everything. So use them.