The training you can get from a reputable coding bootcamp is proven to pay for itself in salary boosts and successful career changes. But sometimes, your bootcamp experience is just not quite enough to land the entry-level web developer position that will launch your new career. Maybe you’re struggling in technical interviews, or getting feedback from employers who say you need more experience to join their teams. Or, more frustrating still, you’re not hearing back from employers at all.
That doesn’t mean all is lost - not by a long shot. There’s lots you can do to make your skills more marketable after you’ve graduated:
1. Practice, practice, practice. Your coding education isn’t over yet! Attending a bootcamp gave you the learning mindset you need to teach yourself new things, and now is the time to leverage that ability. Research the types of skills that are in demand now and practice those to make yourself stand out.
2. Continue working on your Capstone project (or similar) in your spare time. Add all the bells and whistles - improve something you know you can do better, or include the features you didn’t have time to add during your bootcamp. If you’re struggling for ideas, consider asking your Lead Instructor or your bootcamp classmates for their thoughts on what you should add.
3. Start a new project of your own. If you don’t have a Capstone-style project yet, or if you’d rather start fresh, build something from scratch that demonstrates everything you’ve learned - frameworks and languages, incorporating APIs, leveraging databases, etc. This is a great way to show your skill and initiative to potential employers.
4. Pair up! Find a friend or mentor who is already a professional web developer - a good place to start is with the more senior alumni from your own bootcamp! - and ask them to do some pair programming with you. This is a great way both to learn and to network with others in your field. If you don’t know any web developers in your area, you can also join a meetup group that holds pair-programming workshops to meet like-minded developers.
5. Seek an apprenticeship. Some tech companies open up apprenticeships for junior developers, and many of these hire from their pools of apprentices for full-time positions. Check out listings in your area to find companies offering apprenticeships or internships. There are also some bootcamps (like Anyone Can Learn To Code) that guarantee apprenticeships after graduation, which is a great way to ensure you can gain the experience you need to land your dream job even before you begin your bootcamp journey.
At Anyone Can Learn To Code, we started our own web agency to provide an apprenticeship experience to all our graduates. After completing the 15-week bootcamp portion of our program, ACLTC developers have the option to apprentice for anywhere from six weeks up to four months. Throughout the apprenticeship, you’ll gain real-world experience (and confidence) building web apps for clients like Women Who Code and Just A Break under the supervision of our agency’s more experienced web developers, plus work on your interview and job-prep skills.
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