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How Le Wagon’s community played a big role in Chris’ journey in tech

One of the strengths of Le Wagon: its international community. And it's not Chris who'll say otherwise! After studying at Le Wagon Tel Aviv, he started his web developer career in Paris thanks to Le Wagon's career services. He then landed his next job in Brussels after a fortuitous meeting with an alumni during an event!

Can you introduce yourself?

Hey, my name is Chris. I was born and raised in Belgium, just outside of Brussels, by a Belgian father and British mother. I studies Economics in Leuven and got my master's degree there. I thought it was really interesting, but I felt it was too focused on numbers. So I went to Edinburgh to do a postgrad in performance psychology. Performance psychology has its roots in sports psychology but it also looks much broader. It looks at the mental game of people in all sorts of organizations. These studies gave me the necessary background to start working in consultancy, for a firm that specializes in performance optimization, in Utrecht. Looking both at processes and people.

Why did you choose to learn to code?

I wanted to learn to code because I see software development as a stepping stone to achieving my most meaningful ambitions. I thought that combining software development with a background in economics and behavioral science would provide a strong foundation to be able to turn an idea into a company. 
Coding is already impacting our lives in meaningful ways and will continue to do so in the future. If I'm able to make a positive contribution to that future, that would be a dream come true. This is what drove me to apply to Le Wagon and to follow the web development bootcamp in Tel Aviv (I decided to use this opportunity to discover a new city!). 

And after finishing the bootcamp, what did you do?

I took a short break And after that I continued coding every day. Mostly by working on small, fun projects that would allow me to improve my understanding of Rails and JavaScript. For example, I created a little project that would show the filming locations of any movie on an interactive map. When I felt confident in my abilities, I started applying for jobs.

Did you benefit from Le Wagon career services? 

Yes, they definitely did! After my bootcamp in Tel Aviv, I moved to Paris. I contacted Le Wagon’s office there and they were super helpful. They gave me a lot of tips to prepare for technical job interviews, put me in contact with alumni, and invited me to all the career events. They also included my profile in their Hiring Newsletter that is sent to hundreds of tech companies in France. This gave me a lot of opportunities for interviews and thanks to this, I finally landed a job as a full-stack developer in a small dev studio in Paris. The founders were alumni and teachers at Le Wagon. The perfect environment to get started.

And about Le Wagon‘s community - how did it also help you take your next professional steps? 

The community is very active and helpful. People are always open to talking and helping young Le Wagon graduates. Don’t be afraid to send alumni a quick Slack message or to contact them on Linkedin. There are also plenty of interesting channels on Le Wagon’s slack. Channels about Ruby, JavaScript, security, freelancers, etc. Through these channels, I learned a lot on a technical level. Every time, I’d have a technical question or something I couldn’t solve, I would ask the community and alumni would come to the rescue. 

The network also helped me get my current job after I moved from Paris to Brussels. I went to an alumni event here in Brussels and talked to some alumni, one of which is now my colleague. It’s just another example of how Le Wagon alumni are keen to help each other. Thanks to that, I'm now evolving as a full-stack engineer at Student.be.

Any advice for anyone thinking of joining Le Wagon? 

Don’t be afraid to try it out in a city other than where you live. It will make your experience that much more memorable. Also, ask the Le Wagon team if they can put you in contact with alumni. We all remember the excitement and doubts we had before taking the leap. It might be for you, it might not, but it won’t hurt to get that extra perspective from someone who was in your shoes just a few years ago.
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