Looking to add a more technical twist to his business background, Gabriel joined our Web Development bootcamp. Embarking on this journey has allowed him to change careers. Since graduating, he began his new role as a Business Manager at Picnic Technologies. Discover his full story.
Hi Gabriel, can you please introduce yourself?
Hello, my name is Gabriel and I did the Web Development bootcamp in Amsterdam. My mom is Canadian and my dad is Belgian, but we grew up all over Latin America before I eventually made my way to Amsterdam. I actually met my partner who’s Dutch, and we moved here together. During this time, I began working at Philips for about three years in supply chain management. I then realized that it was time for a career change, and a good segue was Le Wagon. I had already been quite keen in looking into coding and the reason I went for the web development route was that in my previous job, there was already a lot of focus on data analytics. Looking to do something completely different, I tried the other avenue.
What were you doing before joining Le Wagon?
Before Le Wagon, I was working in e-commerce supply chain. Supply chain is very data intensive and geared towards analytics, but also when it comes to e-commerce, it’s becoming more and more part of the customer experience. With that in mind, I had the opportunity to work with Product Owners and Product Developers in order to work towards making the supply chain more than just a way of getting a product, but also an experience with customers. Within my role I mostly worked on forecasting and the delivery aspect of supply chain, but towards the end of my time at Philips, I was also looking at this experience side of delivery.
What made you decide to do the bootcamp in Amsterdam?
Like most people, during Covid, we had been working at home for a few years and work became more about tasks to be done rather than an environment to be in. With this feeling in mind, as well as having had some experience working with the product development side of supply chain, I knew that I was ready for a career change. This was really interesting and gave me a lot of energy. With this combination of wanting to change environments and looking to gain knowledge in a new field, the bootcamp seemed like the perfect opportunity to make the change.
What made you decide to do the Web Development bootcamp? What were your expected outcomes?
I came into the bootcamp with the idea that I was most likely not going to have a drastic career change in the sense that I would become a developer. Although, I really enjoyed the experience, development was never my intent. In the end, I knew that I wanted to be in more of a business or strategy function, but having this new way of thinking was what I was looking for.
How was your experience at the bootcamp?
I found it very enjoyable! In our case, we were a small group, which allowed us to work really well together and form a tight bond. It was also a very cosy environment in the sense that everyone came from different backgrounds and experience levels, but in the end, everyone was there to learn and the teachers were there to help you in that learning path. It became a very nice learning environment where mistakes can happen and you can ask all kinds of questions. I found the bootcamp very welcoming in that sense and I really liked that you establish this learning behaviour rather than focusing on only getting things right.
What was your favourite aspect of the bootcamp?
I really enjoyed the project weeks. It’s just so great to see how you can come from this idea, to then ideating what it would actually look like in terms of interface, but also what that meant in terms of code, to finally putting it all together. The whole experience over two weeks of taking an idea and actually making something of it was really cool. As a student, you go through all of these emotions of happy moments, frustrating moments or moments where you just want to give up, but in the end you pull through. To me, this is what real coding is all about.
We also had a design aspect which I really enjoyed. We would begin by thinking about what our product would look like, extrapolating that and then setting code, rather than the other way around. The teaching of removing yourself from the code a bit was really great for me, and it’s something that I’ve applied at work now.
How does the bootcamp format compare to your previous learning environments?
This bootcamp environment is very different from my previous learning environments. There’s a lot of freedom to do what you want and there’s a lot of content to cover, but then it’s really up to you to do it. I really liked this format, but it’s important to be motivated in order to truly take part in the experience.
How's your new role as a Business Manager at Picnic Technologies?
As mentioned previously, I joined the bootcamp to transition into a more technical business role. I’m now working as part of the commercial team at Picnic Technologies, which looks at the way that we do business with suppliers. So Picnic delivers food a the last mile, but then we are separated in two ways: food that you would know through brands and private label products. I work more on the brand side, but there’s a whole transition on how we can do business directly with these companies rather than going through a big distributor. We used to buy products from one place and now we buy it from hundreds of places. This whole transition entails lots of team organization and growth. I specifically work on something called EDI which is the connection between Picnic and the company that we want to work with and then how our systems are interrelated. In short, I work closely to communicate with Picnic’s partners and make sure that everything is all set up.
What I really enjoy from a smaller scale-up is that usually people here are new to the company as the company is new itself. With this demographic, there is much more motivation to give it your all. Overall, it’s a fast-paced and flexible environment, which is the change that I was looking for before the bootcamp.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of doing the Web Development bootcamp?
Le Wagon provides a great learning opportunity, but it’s very important to think about what you want to get out of the experience. I was quite intentional about what I wanted to do and I'm very happy with the outcomes. I would advise that you think about your next step or goal and work towards it in order to get the results that you’re looking for as quickly as possible.