Recently, I finished my program at Flatiron School for Software Engineering. I was incredibly relieved to have made it through the program but also terrified. Graduation meant many things including job searching. It also meant that I was not in Flatiron's environment anymore. One of the things that really kept me motivated throughout the program was the environment of Flatiron. There, I worked with people that were motivated to learn and poured hours of work on code. I understood that I could do that the same at home but it's never going to be the same.
I am now a couple of weeks past graduation and have started my job search. One of the issues I feared most had to do with forgetting concepts I learned throughout the program. It was difficult to keep my motivation up, especially with the current events happening around us. However, I managed to pull through and keep my head on code. So, I am writing this post to hopefully help others that are finishing their programs and feeling the same as I did. Here are some the things that I did on a daily or weekly basis to keep pushing forward:
1. Take a break
Yes, it's contradictory to all that moving forward and motivation spiel that I just mentioned. However, if you just finished your program, you are very likely burned out. I was there and I told myself I was only going to take a day off. I ended up taking a week and a half off not knowing how much I needed that break. I dived back into code right after that and remembered why I love coding and developing. Respect that you may be overworked. Take a break. Then dive back in.
2. Do at least one code related thing everyday
I'm not talking about coding everyday. That is up to you and what you feel you can handle. Physically typing out code is not the only thing you can do to keep that mentality you learned at your school. You can watch code videos, learn algorithms, read a code related blog posts, or do a lesson on a new language you are learning. Not only will this help you push forward and learn new things, but it will also help build your network.
3. Start a project
One of the best ways to keep your skills sharp is to practice it. Even better if you can learn something new along the way. After the program, I started a project with a group and we used React Hooks because the program did not go over them in depth. We used the project to keep our skills on point and to learn Hooks.
4. Stay in contact with your classmates
Working on a project with a group was fun but we also talked about how things were going about our career services and how we were feeling post graduation. It was uplifting to hear to that I was not alone in how I felt. Staying in contact with people from your cohort is a great support system.
5. Challenge Yourself with Data Structures and Algorithms
Do not neglect this! I was terrible at data structures and algorithms in the beginning. I was honestly afraid of them at first but practice makes perfect! I even ended up enjoying working with them in the end. However, since I was afraid of them in the beginning, I ended up procrastinating on it but many companies do tech interviews with algorithms, so it is inescapable. My friend challenged me to learn something related to this every week and do one easy algorithms practice everyday and one medium/hard problem each week. It helped me build a mentality for these topics and expand my knowledge on them.
6 Do something career related every week
It's going to take time to find a job but that doesn't mean you should just neglect job searching overall. With Flatiron, career services have certain goals and tasks to complete before officially declaring your job search. This includes building a resume and a LinkedIn profile. Try to work on some of these even if you are not yet applying for jobs. It will help keep you on track and to push forward.
7 Just keep learning
This should be obvious because I mentioned several times about learning something new. The more skills you have, the more you have to offer to companies. Now, I'm not talking about learning a bunch of new languages. Learn things that will help you be adept in certain skills. You can, by all means, learn a new language. However, it doesn't mean that you can't expand on other skills. I learned React Hooks in the project I mentioned before. However, I could already code in React. Learning hooks helped me expand on my skills with React.
Thank you for reading. I hope this helps you move forward with your new career path.
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