Thinkful (Bloc) 1 on 1 Mentorship Series

Does it even make sense for you to prepare for a coding bootcamp? You need to start with the “Why” before you take action on anything.

Check out my other blog, 10 Reasons Why I Changed from Software Sales to Software Development in 2019.

It’s a comprehensive read for a good reason: for you to self-qualify yourself as a person who, based on reason, should take solid steps towards actions.

After you do that, this blog, “How I Prepared 1 Year Before Joining a Coding Bootcamp” [blog being produced as we speak! Coming soon!] picks up on that to help you prepare for future execution.

Who Is This Blog For?

For anyone seriously considering attending the Thinkful (Bloc Web Developer Track) in 2019.

How to Use This Content?

These blog posts will be shorter read compared to my other blog post and its purpose to give more real-time feedback, review about my coding bootcamp experience.

This will help stimulate how you might have a similar experience with this coding bootcamp if you were to make that commitment.

How Are The 1 on 1s Structured?

You get 1 on 1 mentorship once per week for 30 minutes from a Thinkful mentor. Granted, most communications happen over Slack to troubleshoot real-time problems.

By the way, Thinkful acquired Bloc late 2018.

My Top Takeaways

#1 Interview Your Mentor

(A) Probe Their Background

It’s important to ask some qualifying questions to your mentor to see if there is a mutual fit in terms of how their expertises can help you accomplish your goals.

If not, then you should take action to switch to another mentor if that’s an available option; which in Thinkful coding bootcamp, seems possible (TBD)

Here were some questions I asked during my 1 on 1 meeting:

Tell me about yourself, your software engineer story, on your LinkedIn, why did you only hold a software engineer role in a company for an average of half a year?

(1) His Experience and Background

Graduated with a Computer Science degree from Virginia Tech. Recently moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to work for a pre-series A start-up as a Lead Software Engineer.

He went through 100+ technical interviews

(2) Why He Jumped Around Companies Frequently

He moved around alot because he knew what he wanted in a company, but the companies he was employed at did not deliver on the initial expectation.

Moreover, the opportunities he had did not provide sustainable growth and the ability to help him improve his engineer skills because they were pseudo-managerial roles.

However, he does recommend that you stay your first gig for at least 2 years if possible.

Lastly, he mentioned he found a better fit at a smaller start-up because he is entrepreneurial and wants to be in an environment that fits his entrepreneurial disposition.

(B) Ask About Their Mentee Success Stories

How have you mentored Bloc/Thinkful students to hit their goals and be successful as a SWE? Top 3 students?

(1) Mentee Success Story #1

There was a Thinkful student who had 4 mentors in the past, but no success in establishing themselves in software development industry.

After my mentor, Daniel stepped in, that student was able to secure an internship with his uncle as a React developer within 3-weeks while in the coding bootcamp.

#2 Start Applying to Jobs Earlier

(1) Long-Interview Cycles

Apply to jobs earlier because software developer interview cycles can take up to 4 weeks.

(2) Apply Anyways

Even if a job ad writes a requirement of 3-5 years or a computer science related degree, apply anyways because these job ads are typically written by recruiters who don’t understand what they are really asking and requiring from individuals.

If you got a job offer while you were still in the bootcamp, continue to finish the bootcamp for learning purposes.

(3) Build Relationships with Companies

He also mentioned that it is a good practice to reach out to recruiters in advance and tell them that you are interested in applying in 3 months.

This gives an opportunity for both parties to revisit the conversation in the future if their are engineering needs in that company later down the line.

Or you can reach out to the hiring manager and have a meet-up (virtual or in-person) to connect. There, they will coach you on how to interview, etc; because they want to foster potential engineering talent.

#3 Challenging Status Quo: Taboo Against Bootcampers

(A) Finding a Company Who Values Bootcampers

The reality is, there is a shortage of software developer talent in the marketplace, but typically its for senior developers.

On the other hand, the market place is flooded with bootcampers. Therefore, it’s hard to cut through the noise and differentiate yourself.

If you mention that you graduated from a coding bootcamp, under most situations, in the company or recruiter will devalue you instantaneously.

The goal is to find a company that values bootcampers and is willing to invest in your potential because there is a love-hate feeling about coding bootcamps.

It’s not impossible. My high school friend recently land his first software engineer job after attending App Academy.

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Doing this will support this blog and my other resources like my YouTube channel so I can continue to produce high quality, useful content on a weekly basis.

Influencer Inspirations

This blog has been inspired by these creators who specialize in inspiring other potential, prospective upcoming software developers with their content: Chris Sean, whatsdev, Joshua Fluke, Traversy Media, Dylan Israel

This blog was made to serve you. Enjoy.


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