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Internships after a coding bootcamp: A good strategy?

Is doing an internship after your 30’s a good idea? What’s the best way to gain experience: take an internship or work on personal projects? To answer these questions, we interviewed our alumni and hiring partners. Check out their tips and advice and see what’s the best strategy for a career change.

Before we start, let’s meet our alumni!

Stephanie BD, an alumna from one of our 2020’s batches, was a Merchandising Manager at Aritzia before joining the bootcamp. Because of her fashion design background, she wanted to become a UI/UX Designer or Front-End Developer after the program. Stephanie attended our first 100% remote bootcamp in April 2020. After that, she did an internship and recently landed a job as a Junior Web Developer at Vehicle Mind.

Jung, an alumna from our Fall 2019 batch, recently had a similar change in her life. Equipped with a marketing background, she wanted to become a developer. She got an internship at Automat AI and, after a few months, she  was hired at the same company as Integration Developer.

Quan, an alumnus from our Fall 2019 batch was working at a bank in Customer relations when he decided he wanted to learn to code. After the Le Wagon, he did an internship at CollabMachine, and also learned python and react, and worked on personal projects. He is now working with  two alumni as a Front-End Developer at Spockee.

Internship after a coding bootcamp: The students’ experience 

When is an internship a good strategy?

“Job search isn't easy, and the month I graduated was also a bit challenging (December - close to Holidays). So I started to think about what skills I had and what I was strong at besides coding. In my case, it’s marketing. I also took some time to think about my interests, and I realized I love AI. I found AutomatAI doing a simple google search and I loved the company. I contacted them for a spontaneous application and luckily they had just thought about hiring an intern. They liked the fact that I had marketing experience and a lot of interest in AI, and they offered me the internship. It was the place I wanted to work for soI decided to go for it” - Jung

“In my case I wanted to gain more knowledge in UI/UX design, and an internship opportunity in that area came along so I thought experience is experience and decided to go for it.” - Stephanie

Internships or personal projects:

“It really depends on your personality. For some people it’s good to learn with some structure to gain confidence and go for an internship. But for others, it’s better to work on personal projects to show potential employers. I personally felt that employers really value personal projects, that’s what helped me land my current job. If you want to go for an internship I would advise you to go for a place where you can learn the tools you really want to use in the future” - Quan

What have you learned during your internship?

“I learned to be open to different ways of working, different ways of thinking, and to be able to adapt, especially in the startup world. I also  realized that I am more capable than I thought, even though I have still so much to learn.” - Stephanie

“Making a product from scratch is something we did during the last weeks of the bootcamp: from a to z. When you enter a company with a product already built, an internship is great to understand how the product is done and learn how to work well in a team.” - Jung

Do you have any advice for people looking to change careers? 

“To not compare yourself to other people. Everyone's journey is different. It is really hard, but I always try to focus on my goal. My path has been really "messy" but when I look back to the past few months, I realized that I still managed to accomplish a lot despite all the challenges you face when changing careers. It's really cliché, but trust the process” - Stephanie

“Don’t be afraid to fail. I can’t say that enough. When you are too scared, you are not focused. It’s ok to fail,  that’s when you really learn. Don’t give up. Just do it. Trust the process and remember to take some time to rest. Sometimes after a good night sleep, I could solve a problem that was disturbing me a lot the day before, this is also important for your journey” - Quan

“Use your background as your advantage. Your profile is rich, you have your skills and ALSO the coding. That’s one of the reasons why I was hired, because I knew the importance of the product and marketing. Mix your previous experience with the new one.” - Jung

“, Apply. Apply, even if it is for a more experienced role. The more experience you get in the interview process, the better for you. Don’t be afraid to apply.” - Quan

A few last words  for the bootcamp students?

“  Get involved and do not be scared to fail. The more you fail, the more you learn! Ask questions, the teachers are great and are here to help.” - Stephanie

“I really miss my time during the bootcamp. That was the most exciting moment in my life. Study hard, do the prep work. It will give you confidence. The hours go fast, it’s a precious time, so you need to ask questions. Enjoy the time. Enjoy the moment. Every day I was so excited, don’t take that for granted.” - Jung

 The advice of our hiring partners 

We also interviewed some of our hiring partners to have their point of view on that topic. A few of them hired our talented alumni or managed them on an internship program, let’s see what they think!

 What is the most powerful differentiator of a bootcamp graduate? 

“It takes a lot of faith and willpower to leave what you are used to and dive into code / web development. That's why Le Wagon alumni are amazing. They have a profile, a history and now they want to move forward.” - Pierre-Luc, from CollabMachine, one of our hiring partners, who supports our alumni with an open internship program.

What made you decide to hire one of our alumni?

“In Jung’s case her application was a lesson in hustle. In her note and subsequent interview she clearly articulated: 
1) Her past experience as a marketer and why it was a value-add to her desired role as a developer since it gave her an understanding of our target customer's challenges.
2) Why Automat was the right fit for her ambitions to marry marketing, programming and AI, which gave us confidence that her long term goals were a good fit for what we do which is always better than just having the right 'skills'.
3) Her lack of ego and willingness to do any job, including starting as an intern to prove to us that she was hard working, willing to learn, and was up to the task.
Jung has already contributed to some major customer projects and so far we couldn't be more happy that we've brought her on Automat.ai!” - Andy Mauro, co-founder of AutomatAI, who hired Jung as an intern and after a few months as an integrator developer.

We hope these insights were valuable to you

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