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One of the main questions we get asked when interviewing students for our Bristol based Coding Bootcamp is ‘Will I find a job in tech as soon as I graduate?’.

Develop Me has a wide pool of hiring partners who interview and hire our Bootcamp Students on graduation. Goram and Vincent have employed 3 of our graduates so far and they explain exactly why they love hiring our Bootcamp Grads.

Coding Bootcamp Student at her desk after being hired from the coding Bootcamp

What does your company do? 

Goram and Vincent is a Bristol-based digital agency specialising in enterprise-level ecommerce, offering design, build and optimisation services. We work mainly with direct-to-consumer lifestyle brands selling via Magento and Shopify.

 

What has been your experience hiring Develop Me Coding Bootcamp graduates?

Despite some initial skepticism we’ve gone on to hire three Develop Me Coding Bootcamp graduates in the last 18 months and we haven’t looked back. We now see the course as a critical part of our long-term recruitment strategy and we plan to work ever more closely with the Develop Me team going forward.

The course is very bold in its aims and as such it seems to attract brave, ambitious individuals who are brimming with ingenuity and a fresh outlook – which is exactly what we look for when recruiting for new G&Vers. More often than not we meet candidates who are career changers who in turn bring a wealth of experience from other roles and sectors they’ve previously worked in. They bring so much to the culture of the company as a result and it helps prevent us from becoming too inward looking and keeps our perspective fresh.

Helen, DevelopMe Bootcamp Graduate

Helen – Graduated early 2019- now working at G&V

We pride ourselves on the nurturing atmosphere we have within the team and we’ve found the Develop Me Coding Bootcamp graduates seem to flourish within the setup we have – and we’re really proud of that.

What have you learnt about hiring / supporting Coding Bootcamp graduates? 

We give the graduates a proper role from the off (no internships), with real/significant tasks to work on, but with the time, space and the safety net of the wider team behind them who’re committed to supporting their progression. This creates an environment where they can grow rapidly, enjoy and take full credit for their successes, while also being allowed to fail (and thus learn) in relative safety – basically owning the whole process. What we end up with in return are new developers who, within 6-9 months, are contributing at a level, and with a confidence, that utterly belies their time in the industry.

If you’re thinking of hiring from the Coding Bootcamp for the first time, it’s absolutely key that you have an established team in place already who are fully onboard and committed to helping develop junior talent – you owe the graduates that much. And if you just think of this as a source of cheap development resource, that’s absolutely the wrong attitude to have.

We’ve taken an organic approach so far, but after the success we’ve had with our graduates to date, we are now in the process of putting together a more structured induction programme specifically tailored to the Coding Bootcamp students.

Sam. Bootcamp Student from summer 2018

Sam – graduated Bootcamp Summer 2018 now working at G&V

What the course delivers for us is bright individuals who have proven they can learn at pace and adapt to coding principles quickly, but it’s our job as employers to continue that development and nurture the potential. If you can manage that, the graduates will pay you back in spades.

Did you have any reservations before hiring your first bootcamp graduate (did you think they could really learn to code in such a short space of time)? 

Absolutely. As someone who has done the traditional degree route myself, with a placement year in industry, and having over 16 years experience to date, I was utterly cynical of the whole thing.

But Pete the recruitment specialist at Develop Me caught me at a time when I was struggling to fill a mid-weight frontend position and convinced me to see a few graduates from the cohort at the time. Liz who graduated in Autumn 2017 walked in the door and within minutes blew us away with her confidence, attitude and positivity, plus a great piece of final coursework, and a WordPress portfolio done in her own time. We as good as hired her on the spot and she’s been a key member of the team for over 18 months now.

Pete - Develop Me's recruitment specialist

Pete – Develop Me’s recruitment specialist

Since then it’s totally redefined how we recruit and build our team going forward. It’s driven us to focus on bringing new/fresh talent into the business more often and to commit to developing them further within the business. Culturally it’s been an absolute joy to work here as a result and the vibe is fantastic. It also has the knock on effect of giving the more senior team members bags of personal development opportunity as a result of building the team this way.

Any tips for companies hiring junior developers / bootcamp graduates for the first time?

You need an established development team in place who are all aligned and on board with this approach as it needs to be a team effort. Doing this right is a commitment and an investment but the developers we’re getting out of this are a joy to work with.

Get your development house in order first. The cleaner your process and the more robust your tech stack and documentation is, the more frictionless the whole process will be. If you’ve got a backlog of maintenance and improvements you’ve been dying to make but haven’t got round to, do them first. You’ll find onboarding Bootcamp graduates far easier and more productive (and less stressful for them) if your ways of working are concise and slick.

Have a development plan in place. When mentoring Bootcamp graduates (and when they start with us), the most common thing they want to know is, “what is it like working in the real world?”, and “how well should I be doing after a week, a month, 6 months, a year, etc?”. We try to keep things relaxed but we give the grads clear things to aim for such as, “deploy something to production in your first week”, “complete a support/change ticket and get it into a release within your first month”, and “ship your first complete small feature/module within 3 months”. We’re planning to take this further and create a more formal roadmap for them to follow, but please just have a plan (beyond a few days) for what you want them to achieve.

Liz Bristol Bootcamp Student

Liz – Graduated from Bootcamp Autumn 2017 now working at G&V.

There’s nothing worse than turning up to your first development job and finding there’s no computer, your desk isn’t properly setup, nobody has any time for you and everyone is too frightened/busy to give you anything to do apart from “read documentation”. Don’t be that company!

Is there anything you would tell students at the start of the coding bootcamp that you think would help them on the course?

Don’t panic! You’re going to cover a lot of new things at real pace, and in a very short space of time. There’s going to be an inevitable amount of anxiety and an urge to rush in order to keep pace, but in development sometimes you really do need to slow down in order to go faster.

Listen to the instructors, don’t be afraid to ask for help (again and again) and don’t suffer in silence.

If you’re having a good/easy week, help someone else. It’ll be credit in the bank when you have a tough week and you’ll learn far more from explaining something to someone else than you did by doing it in the first place!

Any advice you would give current bootcamp students about how to prepare for their first developer job in the industry? 

When it comes to finding a job and doing interviews, there’s probably a lot of personal pressure to just find a job. But don’t accept anything that doesn’t feel right – listen to your gut.

Don’t be afraid to push the interviewer on their approach to hiring junior development talent. Ask – do they have a plan/proper induction programme? What does the established team look like? Can someone demonstrate what the dev stack and code base looks like? What will my first week, month, year look like? Do they have any previous graduates/junior developers that they’d be happy for you to meet/talk to? An inability to answer any of the above satisfactorily could be a red flag.

When I mentor students I normally advise them not to accept too specialised a role unless they’re 100% sure it’s what they want to do. You’re so early in your career and you have plenty of time to specialise later on if you want to. But for your first role, taking on something broad will allow you to explore a wider piece of the development stack and will only help in the long run.

Do draw on previous career experience in the interview and absolutely sell your story of how you ended up doing this. While we naturally try to choose the strongest graduates from a given cohort, it’s normally the graduate’s previous career/life experience and how passionately they told their story that influences our final decision.

Finally, please try to hit some stretch goals and do a really great README on your project!

In your experience how quickly do bootcamp graduates start making a genuine and valuable impact?

We always aim to get graduates working on building releases and doing production deploys within in their first month, which builds confidence and gives a real feeling of contribution very early on.

We typically see a ‘net contribution’ (where the amount of work a graduate produces outweighs the amount of support they need from other team members, or training time they’re being allocated) in the first 2-3 months. There’s generally a huge leap in confidence/ability around the 6-9 month mark where they even have the confidence to help new graduates. After a year we start to see a graduate’s confidence reach the point where they start contributing to process and decision making within the development team.

Our Coding Bootcamp is a 12 week immersive classroom course with a 4 week part time online course as preparation. 98% of our graduates now work in Tech roles most of which we placed in their first position straight after completing the Bootcamp – we are very proud of our students love watching each of them move into Tech from a huge variety of different backgrounds! 

We caught up with Sasha on our Summer 2019 cohort to find out more about her background, why she chose to enrol on our Bristol based Coding Bootcamp and how she’s been getting on learning to code so far – you can also see Sasha chatting with us here.

What was your background/career before you joined the Coding Bootcamp?

I have a degree and masters in Animation and worked for Aardman Animations before the course. My role was as a Puppet Wrangler on the new Shaun the Sheep Movie this involved herding puppet sheep – quite a unique job I know!

Sasha one of our Bristol Bootcamp Students

Why are you attending the course?

I wanted a new direction into a career as a web developer and the Bootcamp seemed like the best solution for me. To learn in supported environment and meeting other like minded people.

What were your main questions/concerns before joining the Bootcamp?

I wondered if I would be able to keep up with the intensity of learning new things for the 12 weeks.

How does your experience on the Coding Bootcamp now answer those questions/concerns?

I’ve managed to keep up and one of my favourite things is learning something new everyday.

What was your coding experience before the Coding Bootcamp?

I had no previous coding experience except for doing a few online coding lessons and the prep work.

How have you found the course so far?

The Coding Bootcamp has been brilliant, I’ve been impressed with all the teachers and their specialist knowledge of each subject.

I’m enjoying the problem solving nature of tech.

What have you enjoyed the most?

I have mostly enjoyed the front-end; HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I also found WordPress quite interesting.

It’s also been eye opening to me to see how animation can be used in CSS and JavaScript.

What have you found the most challenging?

Whilst learning something new everyday is great but changing topics every week can be hard as you feel like you want more time to get stuck in with the topic!

How would you describe the support on the Bootcamp?

The level of support is one of the best things about the Bootcamp. You get one-on-one feedback every week so you feel very supported and day to day there is a lot of help from the teachers and Jack (the teaching assistant).

What advice would you give to someone thinking of attending our Coding Bootcamp in Bristol?

Go for it, you will not regret it! Do as much prep work as you can.

What role are you looking for after the Bootcamp? Where do you see yourself in the future?

I am interested in front-end development, but am open to all options. I would like to in the future work in the charity sector.

We have been running Bristol Coding Bootcamps for 4 years! We welcome anyone with a learning attitude. Find out more about our Bootcamp here and get in touch with any queries!

We caught up with Jonathan on our Summer 2019 cohort to find out more about his background, why he chose to enrol on our Bristol based Coding Bootcamp and how he’s been getting on learning to code so far – you can also see Jonathan chatting to us here.

What was your background/career before you joined the Coding Bootcamp?

I studied photography at college and university, then spent 2 years living in California, had 2 years working in childcare, then spent 2 years working as a digital consultant, which included building websites in Squarespace, print and creative design, digital marketing and configuring online booking systems.

In April 2018 I started my own web consulting business, which led me to Develop Me.

Jonathan - Bristol Coding Bootcamp Student

Why are you attending the Bootcamp?

I’m here because I enjoy learning and I wanted to expand the scope of my business and advance my skills in all aspects of professional web development.

What were your main concerns before joining the Coding Bootcamp?

I think my main question was related to ROI (return on investment). The course was a major investment for me and I wanted to make sure it was money well spent.

Does your experience on the Bootcamp now answer those concerns?

Develop Me have around 50 hiring partners and they arrange between 4 and 6 interviews for us at graduation, and I will likely receive up to 3 or 4 job offers as a result. The cost of the course is a small price to pay for the expert teaching and career progression / promotion opportunities that I’ll get as a result.

What was your coding experience before the course?

I had taught myself HTML and CSS, and used both in my work over the 3 years preceding the course.

How have you found the Coding Bootcamp so far?

It’s been fantastic! I’ve learned so much and definitely have a lot more hope and vision for my future. The course is fast paced for sure and very intensive. I’ve been very impressed by the curriculum structure — each day builds on the last, and each week on the one before it.

The tutors are “real” and friendly, very approachable and make for great ping pong opponents!

What have you enjoyed the most?

I think I enjoyed the PHP week the most, because it just seemed to click with me, and specifically the Object Oriented Programming (in both PHP and JavaScript). Learning React was hard work, but also pretty exciting.

What have you found the most challenging?

Lifting state in React was definitely the hardest in terms of content, but the biggest learning curve was realising that my brain would generally be 2 days behind, but that’s the nature of a bootcamp.

How would you describe the support on the Bootcamp?

Top notch!

What advice would you give to someone thinking of attending our Coding Bootcamp in Bristol?

Weigh the cost, make sure you can put your life on hold for 3 months, but if you’re passionate and determined and want a fast-track to a career in web development, it’s well worth your time and money!

What role are you looking for after the Bootcamp? Where do you see yourself in the future?

I’d like to work in a full stack role because I like both front-end and back-end development, but I’m leaning more towards PHP than JavaScript, so we’ll see! One day I’d love to start my own web development agency.

We have been running Bristol Coding Bootcamps for 4 years! We welcome anyone with a learning attitude. Find out more about our Bootcamp here and get in touch with any queries!

We caught up with Sid on our Summer 2019 cohort to find out more about his background, why he chose to enrol on our Bristol based Coding Bootcamp and how he’s been getting on learning to code so far – you can also see Sid chatting to us here.

What was your background/career before you joined the Bootcamp?

I am originally from Truro, Cornwall and moved to Bristol in 2017 to pursue a career in Tech Recruitment. I worked for two years in industry constantly speaking to Web Developers and helping them move jobs in roles around Bristol and Bath. This peaked my interest in wanting to learn more about the coding itself.

 

Why are you attending the Coding Bootcamp?

To fast-track my learning and get started on a career in web development.

What were your main questions/concerns before joining the Bootcamp?

Which languages and skills we were predominately going to be learning and my concerns were the length of time we have to learn the fundamentals.

How does your experience on the Bootcamp now answer those questions/concerns?

Even before the course started we are given a syllabus into the length we are going to be learning each skill. This gave me a great idea into how to organise my time and what self study I should be doing before I start the course.

What was your coding experience before the course?

No real commercial experience, however I had done various online courses using Codeacademy and Freecodecamp.

How have you found the Coding Bootcamp so far?

I have the found the Coding Bootcamp excellent, I have come out of each day feeling like I have achieved and grasped something new. Although it can be incredibly challenging, we are given great support to help us overcome any obstacles.

What have you enjoyed the most?

The HTML,CSS and Javascript weeks.

What have you found the most challenging?

The hardest part of the course is changing topic every week. Due to the pace of the course, I have done a lot of home study during my time at the course to solidify everything we learn during the week.

How would you describe the support on the Bootcamp?

Excellent! I feel very comfortable asking for support when stuck on a particular challenge or problem. Develop Me offer help outside of core hours as well from their own Teaching Assistant and also assign you a highly experienced developer mentor.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of attending our Coding Bootcamp in Bristol?

The advice I would give to someone who is thinking of attending the Fellowship would be to do the most amount of prep and self study before joining the course.

What role are you looking for after the Bootcamp? Where do you see yourself in the future?

My ideal role after finishing the course would be as a Junior Front End Developer, either as an in house role or within the charitable sector.

We have been running Bristol Coding Bootcamps for 4 years! We welcome anyone with a learning attitude. Find out more about our Bootcamp here and get in touch with any queries!

Jess was one of our ‘Code It Forward’ funded students. This funding made it possible for her take the course, when finances otherwise would not have allowed her to enrol. We caught up with her during the Summer 2019 cohort to find out more about her background, why she chose to enrol on our Bristol based Coding Bootcamp and how she’s been getting on learning to code so far.

What was your background/career before you joined the Coding Bootcamp?

I have a background in EU affairs (politics) having worked in Brussels as well as gained experience in a number of communications-based roles.

Why are you attending the Bootcamp?

To deepen my knowledge, to be taught by experts in the industry and to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who share an interest in tech.

What were your main questions/concerns before joining the  Bootcamp?

As many of my previous roles were analytical in nature, I had concerns that it would be quite a leap for me to overcome: adapting my mindset to think logically and to put my problem-solving skills front and centre.

How does your experience on the Bootcamp now answer those questions/concerns?

Over the course we have been introduced to the back end, new concepts and frameworks which has exposed me to other aspects such as version control that has challenged me to think twice about my approach and rationalise what I am trying to do; taking it step by step to achieve the overall goal. As each week has passed my initial concern has eased as I become ever mindful of how to approach a task in a methodical manner.

What was your coding experience before the Course?

I had dabbled with HTML, CSS, a little bit of JavaScript and JQuery as well as had experience using the Content Management Systems: WordPress and Squarespace

How have you found the Bootcamp so far?

I have found it challenging but also very rewarding. Not a day goes by when I do not look back from where I initially started to remind myself what I have learnt – equally looking forward with interest for what is to come.

What have you enjoyed the most?

WordPress, HTML, CSS/Sass, Laravel and to my surprise I have also enjoyed managing databases with MySQL. The organised person in me also appreciates the version control of Git.

What have you found the most challenging?

Striking a balance between working through a problem on your own and using your notes and knowing when to take a break or ask for help. If you have been staring at it too long you may not notice a simple syntax error. Breaks are definitely your friend. I also find the omnipresence of JavaScript exciting but also a little daunting.

How would you describe the support on the Bootcamp?

From day one you cannot fault the support. From the teachers, assistant to the 1:1 sessions it has all been helpful to gauge my progression as well as to hear feedback of where I can improve.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of attending our Coding Bootcamp in Bristol?

I would keep an open mind as you never know what may interest you. We all come from different backgrounds so there is a niche for everyone to contribute, learn and share. Be kind to yourself when it does not all come at once; absorbing a myriad of concepts can be intense but if you do the course preparation it will put you in good stead for what is to come.

What role are you looking for after the Bootcamp? Where do you see yourself in the future?

I am keeping an open mind in terms of a role after the Coding Fellowship although I am currently leaning towards working with WordPress. The community looks really welcoming and with so many events held in Bristol, the UK and beyond. There seems to be ample opportunity to engage and learn from others which really appeals to me. Ideally in the future I would like to see myself thriving in a diverse team that encourages self development, fosters creativity and that will challenge me daily. I would also like to be thoroughly engaged in community events like a do_action hackathon which harnesses the power of WordPress for good.

We have been running Bristol Coding Bootcamps for 4 years! We welcome anyone with a learning attitude. Find out more about our Bootcamp here and get in touch with any queries!

We caught up with Rowley on our Summer 2019 cohort to find out more about his background, why he chose to enrol on our Bristol based Coding Bootcamp and how he’s been getting on learning to code so far.

What was your background/career before you joined the Coding Bootcamp?

After studying Politics at University, I went into business and worked in Myanmar for 4 years, setting up new businesses for an investment banker and seeking other investment opportunities in Myanmar for international investors.

Why are you attending the Coding Bootcamp?

In order to fast-track a career change into the exciting tech industry

What were your main questions/concerns before joining the Coding Bootcamp?

My main concern was whether I had the mental ability to become a coder.

How does your experience on the Bootcamp now answer those questions/concerns?

The experience has taught me that practice makes perfect. Programming is essentially problem-solving and if you get any satisfaction out of that, you’ll get along fine.

What was your coding experience before the Course?

A little bit of WordPress as well as 6 months going through the online courses on CodeAcademy and FreeCodeSchool.

How have you found the Bootcamp so far?

Challenging, illuminating and very rewarding once you start applying what you’ve learnt

What have you enjoyed the most?

I really enjoyed the Javascript and php weeks the most. Also love playing ping pong in the breaks.

What have you found the most challenging?

Learning Gulp and GitHub – its dull but important.

How would you describe the support on the Bootcamp?

The support is extensive. From the Friday one-to-one sessions, to the mentors and teaching assistants, you always feel like you’ve got someone to talk to and go over bits that you’re finding tricky.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of attending our Coding Bootcamp in Bristol?

Get prepared as its fast-paced! but it needs to be in order to get you ready for the job market in just 3 months. Take the plunge and sign up!

What role are you looking for after the Bootcamp? Where do you see yourself in the future?

Full-Stack Developer creating my own applications.

We have been running Bristol Coding Bootcamps for 4 years! We welcome anyone with a learning attitude. Find out more about our Bootcamp here and get in touch with any queries!

We caught up with Alys on our Summer 2019 cohort to find out more about her background, why she chose to enrol on our Bristol based Coding Bootcamp and how she’s been getting on learning to code so far.

What was your background/career before you joined the Coding Bootcamp?

I felt I had to go to university and so started studying medical sciences, but my heart wasn’t in it, and I dropped out in the first year. Since then I’ve been working in customer services.

Why are you attending the Coding Bootcamp?

To fast-track my learning and get started on a career in web development.

What were your main questions/concerns before joining the Bootcamp?

That I wouldn’t be able to keep up – a lot of the reviews I read mentioned it being a really intense course.

How does your experience on the Coding Bootcamp now answer those questions/concerns?

It’s certainly an intense course, but I’m keeping up! The one-to-ones help me to keep track of how I’m doing, and find areas I can improve on.

What was your coding experience before the Course?

I had no concept of what coding was 12 months ago! I started off doing some online courses, and came to an intro evening at Develop Me. Before committing to the Coding Fellowship I then did a couple of evening courses – Programming for Beginners (Python) at CoB and Code First Girls’ intro to front-end web development.

How have you found the Bootcamp so far?

I’ve loved it so far, and I’m learning so much every day.

What have you enjoyed the most?

OOP and Laravel!

What have you found the most challenging?

CSS

How would you describe the support on the Bootcamp?

It’s really great having a one-to-one every week, it allows me to reflect on what I’ve learnt and talk through any concerns I have. Whoever I have my one-to-one with has always given me useful feedback, and I’ve felt well supported.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of attending our Coding Bootcamp in Bristol?

If you’re unsure it’s for you, try to find a part-time course – so you can dip your toe in before committing to the fellowship. I would really recommend CFG to any girls thinking about doing the course!

What role are you looking for after the Bootcamp? Where do you see yourself in the future?

Either a back-end role, or working with JS in the front-end. I’m open to having my mind changed though!

We have been running Bristol Coding Bootcamps for 4 years! We welcome anyone with a learning attitude. Find out more about our Bootcamp here and get in touch with any queries!