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Flatiron School Alum Four Months Later

I would like to preface this blog by saying that before starting Flatiron School I had just graduated college. I am 23 years old and I live with my grandfather. When I graduated from Flatiron I didn’t really have any bills except a car payment. That being said I think the post-graduation β€œitis” hit pretty hard. I just started my job search after four months. In this blog I am going to write about my experiences since I graduated Flatiron in May 2020. I am going to go over opportunities that have come my way, new skills and technologies I have acquired, and finally how to over the β€œitis”. ( itis: The drowsy sleepy feeling you get after eating a large meal. Usual meals like big Sunday dinners, Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. - urban dictionary )

Post-Grad Itis

Graduating was less than exciting for me. The first week I really felt a lack of purpose. `Twas the first day of the 10,000-mile hike that is Mount Software Engineer Career which feels exhausting. Especially when you just finished a 15-week intense boot camp course. If you don’t get the itis at this point then you have incredible endurance. I tried to set up weekly goals and plan my days ahead but most days I felt like I fell short or didn’t get enough done. I kept in touch with a few friends from my cohort and I was not alone in this feeling. It made me feel better to discover that this is a very normal way to feel at this point.

Opportunities

I was very lucky that I was able to find some work almost instantly! After my first week of itis induced lethargy I got a call from someone I went to college with. They had noticed my LinkedIn page lighting up with all I had accomplished at Flatiron and wanted to onboard me for a startup business. It turns out my final project was very similar to what they were already trying to build. I was overjoyed and accepted the position. No technical interview required! Feel free to visit the app at Etudes.co! However, you need to pay to use the app. I actually set up the authorization and authentication for that part B) While I love working for Etudes.co it is very part time so I still didn’t quite land that $70,000/yr job.

About a month into working with Etudes.co Flatrion School reached out to me with an opportunity to interview with a company called InfoSys. This was another great opportunity, but there was a small catch. InfoSys was looking for Java developers of which I had no experience. I really messed up that opportunity because I didn’t prepare enough for the technical interview. Looking back at it now I should have taken Udemy courses and studied up on Java. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job. Plus, they wanted to relocate me which I really didn’t want.

After another month of job searching, working on small projects, tidying up my online presence, and contributing to Etudes.co I was given the opportunity to interview with Flatiron to be onboarded as a technical coach (basically a code tutor). This seemed like the perfect gig for me. I have been teaching guitar privately and professionally since I was 15. However, I was not about to make the same mistake I made with InfoSys. I reached out to many current students and offered them free help whenever they needed it. Along the way I even acquired a mentee. After a series of cultural and technical interviews I got the job! I just finished my fourth week working with Flatiron and I am really happy with it. I am feeling much better about myself and the mountain feels much smaller from this high up!

One last thing in this section to any Flatiron students / potential students / alumni. If you are willing to relocate there is a good chance that your experience with the job hunt will be smoother. There are some companies I contacted that actually offered to train me for free as long as I agreed to work for them for some amount of time afterward. It really seemed like a great opportunity really. If this peaks your interest check out Revature and InfoSys. They are one of the few I am talking about.

New Skills and Technologies

I think it is super-duper important to keep learning and developing your skills post-graduation. Flatiron sets up a very strong foundation but even 15 weeks of intensive learning is sometimes not enough to acquire the skills and knowhow to land those high paying jobs. In this section I will talk about what I have done to continue my growth as a developer.

Flatiron teaches us JavaScript so we can use ReactJS in the front end, but we learned Ruby on Rails for backend development. Etudes uses MERN stack which is MongoDB, Express, React, Nodejs. Luckily it is all written with JavaScript so learning the stack was manageable. I found myself very nervous to speak up when I was confused about something. One of the developers has his master in comp-sci and the other has been a professional developer for a few years now. I was definitely feeling crippled by imposters-syndrome, which is something I had never felt before. Luckily, the team consistently called me out when they knew I was falling behind and offered to let me shadow them and talk through the stack. Now, I feel that I can really work with MERN as a Full-Stack engineer, which adds a big tick to my resume.

One piece of advice I would like to share is that you should be investing in curriculum if you have the money. You should rarely feel like you have nothing to do. I use Udemy because they constantly have huge sales on their curriculum. I have purchased about 300 hours of video material from them so I always have something to work on. I am currently sharpening my MERN stack skills with a MERN Social Media course. If it wasn’t for Udemy I don’t think I would have been able to keep up with Etudes.co. If you haven’t, go check out Udemy.com. If there isn’t already a sale going on check back daily until they do or look for their free material.

How to Overcome the Itis

In this last section I am going to share some helpful advice for dealing with the itis.

  1. Invest in curriculum: There are lots of places you can go like, Udemy, Treehouse, Humble, Udacity, HumbleBundle, even youtube!
  2. Never run out of things to do. make long-term, medium-term, and short-term goals for overall brand presence. For a long-term goal, I found this article to be super inspiring: https://dev.to/codeartistryio/5-react-projects-you-need-in-your-portfolio-1c3b A medium-term goal for me is to finish this MERN stack social media project within the next month! My short-term goals are weekly outreaches, GitHub commits, and 1 blog/vlog post a week.
  3. Plan out your next day before going to bed. I find that Google Calendar is perfect for this. Before I go to bed I map out what I want to get done the next day. Doing this on a calendar really helps me understand how much I can actually get done in a day.
  4. Reward yourself often. Having a healthy work-life balance is so important. Never forget the things you enjoy doing aside from programming. Learning is a painful and frustrating process, so keeping a balanced mind will help ensure that you are refreshed, primed, and ready to tackle new technologies and projects.
  5. Forgive yourself. This is my last and perhaps the most important tip. If you fall short some days/weeks and become victim to the itis try to be easy on yourself. If you approach these situations with grief and stress then you are cultivating a negative relationship with programming. If I ever feel like I am being lazy and not putting enough time into programming I try not to dwell in feelings of incompetence and self-pity. I plan. Perhaps I will invest in a different Udemy course and start fresh with a new technology. The important take away is to be kind to yourself.

Conclusion

If you made it this far, thank you so much for checking out this article. Even though it is more of a chance to wrap my last four months in a neat bow of closure, perhaps it will provide as inspirational to someone else.

Top comments (1)

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bfemeng profile image
bfemeng

Thanks for the post! I'm at he end of Phase 1 at Flatiron but I have to redo the live coding for the project. I suck at live coding. I'm going to keep trying because I feel like some of it is just a lack of experience.

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