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Batch 567 in Istanbul: Memories with Hendrik

If I had to choose 3 words to describe Le Wagon, I would choose positivity, intense and empowering! It is a potentially life-changing experience for curious go-getters who enjoy learning new skills and who want to venture into the world of tech
I strongly believe that very soon, knowing how to code will be considered a basic skill everyone should learn, just like reading and writing. I therefore think increasing your digital literacy is one of the best investments in yourself that you can make. That was one of the top reasons why I joined Le Wagon, which seemed like the most time-effective way to kickstart my journey into the realm of tech. 

I enrolled in the bootcamp while taking a break from a global bicycle trip and I saw learning how to code as a potential way of combining work and travel because coding is something you can do fully remote. I wanted to find out if learning how to code could enable me to work location independently.

It felt great, that sense of exhilaration and satisfaction after having successfully finished the presentations on Demo Day. Demo day is really the culmination of everything you work towards during the bootcamp and in my case it was certainly quite stressful, as I was the “project leader”. My team members and I had been putting in a lot of hard work during the days preceding Demo Day, but unfortunately there was a lot of last-minute bug fixing to do until right before the presentations. I remember that at some point, sleep-deprived and confused, I was really close to freaking out because it seemed like we might not make it on time. 

However, we somehow managed to figure things out and the presentation went well. Sharing that moment of joy right afterwards with Edvar and my fellow students was most definitely one of the highlights of the bootcamp.

What I enjoyed the most about the rest of the bootcamp can be summarized by one word: “learning”. Ever since graduating from university in 2016, I hadn’t really experienced learning a tangible new skill. The bootcamp made me rediscover the pleasure of learning.

The curriculum is undoubtedly of stellar quality. It is clearly very meticulously drafted and reviewed and is also regularly updated to keep up with the fast paced changes in web development. I was particularly impressed by Kitt, the learning platform developed inhouse by Le Wagon, because it provides you with all the tools you need to learn in the most effective way possible and is very easy to use. It kind of illustrates how web development enables you to build great products that can really impact the physical world. 

This brings me to the practical nature of the curriculum, because that is exactly what the team at Le Wagon has discovered is the most effective way of learning. Every day of the bootcamp starts with a bit of theory, which you then immediately apply in the form of exercises throughout the rest of day. In the evening, you then review what you learnt by doing flashcards. This means that in a single day, you basically cover a part of the curriculum three times, each time in a different way. This ensures that you really cement the newly acquired knowledge in your brain.

I have only good things to say about the two teachers I had the pleasure of learning from. Both were very skilled developers but at the same time also great human beings. They were always there to give us their support and answer whatever question we might have had and put their heart into every course they taught us.

If I had to choose 3 words to describe Le Wagon, I would choose positivity, intense and empowering! It was a potentially life-changing experience for curious go-getters who enjoy learning new skills and who want to venture into the world of tech. 

Graduating from the bootcamp felt kind of like a young bird must feel when leaving the nest. After having been carefully guided and nurtured for all this time, you’re on your own again and that can kind of feel overwhelming. Luckily, Le Wagon has put a lot of energy into creating a vibrant alumni community. It feels good to know that there are so many of us already who’ve all gone through the same things and who are connected through that experience. I know that whenever I need to, I can easily reach out to my fellow alumni for questions, advice, feedback or even job opportunities.

In this context, “Career Week” was also very useful: it helps you figure out what the next steps are on your journey. From learning more about the different career paths, to helping you spruce up your CV, LinkedIn profile and helping you prepare for job interviews, the Career Week covers plenty of topics which are really important for you to reach your goals as a fresh graduate. Learning is obviously very important, but being able to get out into the world with that newfound knowledge just as much so.

Le Wagon has given me the tools and the confidence to achieve my tech-related goals. Right after graduating from the bootcamp I started working remotely from Istanbul for a Belgian tech-startup called ExoVibe as a Web Developer. That is more than I could have hoped for beforehand and I would not have been able to achieve that so soon if it weren’t for Le Wagon.

I’ve been very lucky to land this job and it’s really every thing I was hoping for: I’m applying what I already learned but I still have to learn a lot of new things on the job (esp. more JavaScript and React), I’m getting paid, I get to stay in Istanbul and I’m working for an innovative, young and dynamic start-up that is on a mission to disrupt the world of ergonomics. 

On the slightly longer term, I’d like to continue my bicycle trip. The destination is yet uncertain, but I feel confident I’ll be able to do so now that I have secured a stable source of income. Finally, once I am back home and ready to settle down again for a while, I look forward to combining my background in business and economics with my new skills as a developer to help innovative startups make a positive impact on the world, preferably in the energy sector which is a field I’m quite passionate about.
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