I graduated from Enspiral Dev Academy at the beginning of July. The week following graduation was Careers Week. This covered interview practice, offline networking – going to meet ups, CVs and cover letters, your digital footprint, getting everything up to date. It also mentioned to keep coding.
I think the best thing that I did was to work on my own project from when I graduated to when I got a job. I was doing some casual work once I graduated but I made sure that I took time to work on my project (this was making a Ruby version of my cohorts final project – PikaDish).
This was good in a few ways. Firstly, it got my head back into coding. I probably didn’t do any coding for about two weeks from graduation. I actually found the first few days once I got back into coding quite difficult. It was almost like I had to look everything up again. My recommendation would be to maybe have a few days off from coding once you graduate but don’t leave it any longer then that.
Secondly, I really enjoyed being able to work on a project by myself and do it how I wanted to. This helped with my confidence in my ability to code.
Thirdly, because there was no deadline or other people to worry about I was able to take my time. This meant I could sit back and try to remember how to do something and take the time to google ideas I had about how to do something.
Fourth, this meant that I was coding AND committing regularly to Github. I think this is VERY important to keep doing once you have graduated (if you are going to be looking for a job straight away). Employers will look at your Github profile and it will be a big plus for you if they see that you have continued to code.
I would also suggest putting up repos from bootcamp onto your public facing Github. We all wrote a lot of code during bootcamp, why not show it off. Some people might say don’t put poor code up but I think if you can show where you were and how you have progressed, that’s got to be a good thing. And you could always go back and improve it.
To download all of your work from EDA have a look at what Nick Johnstone made, a RubyGem – eda-code-downloader – “eda-code-downloader is a command line tool that clones down all of your Dev Academy code for you. It handles pairing and solo branch names, and can also be used to download all the challenges for a cohort.”
I made a Trello board for my job hunting.
Casual jobs, formal and informal, had I sent my CV, applied, interview questions / study to do, questions I wanted to ask.
I found this really useful. I looked for companies that I was keen to work at as well as advertised positions. I also talked to quite a lot of people that I knew in the industry about jobs, what jobs to apply for, should I apply just for Ruby and Rails jobs, what about waiting for the perfect job, I asked previous graduates what they had looked for in a job and if they had any advice. I added all of this to my Trello board and used it to help me decide on whether I would apply for certain jobs or email companies and it also helped me decide on what job I decided to accept.
LEARN, LEARN, LEARN
Keep expanding and exploring your learning. You can achieve this in a number of ways, it doesn’t have to be learning a new language as soon as you have graduated. I started looking at upgrading my text editor. I use Sublime so started looking into upgrading to Sublime Text 3.
This led me to looking at adding linters and having a closer look at the functionality in Sublime Text that I wasn’t using. From doing this I have learnt a lot. I have had to take RVM off my Mac and just use RBENV. I have had to do a lot of troubleshooting. This has all helped with building my confidence in knowing that I can work things out and solve problems and that I am getting good at googling!
From talking with a few people who are in jobs where they have some involvement with hiring graduates or new developers, the things that I keep hearing are:
- keep coding, keep pushing to Github
- show your passion, be passionate about something, have a spark in your eyes
- have ideas about things you want to do, want to learn
- be learning something – so you can talk about it!
- ask questions in an interview / technical interview – if you ask a question or say you aren’t sure about something but you would approach in this way does not mean you will not get the job, they would rather you talked through a problem then struggle on silently, they are not just looking for technical skills but how will you can communicate and connect with other people
So, that is my two cents worth. I hope someone founds it useful. If you are a graduate, what is your advice for those who have just graduated?