What pushed you, an infantry soldier, to go into tech?
When I joined the Canadian Grenadier Guards, a reserve infantry regiment of the Canadian Army, I had just graduated from high school. It was 2016, and I found myself acquiring not just a new family, but amazing leadership skills and a really fun experience too. I enjoyed my time with the CGG so much that I eventually decided to drop out of college and join the army full-time as a Weapons Engineering Technician. However, when it came time to sign the contract, I started having second thoughts.
I knew deep down that if I went ahead with the army, I might not ever realize my other dream of working in tech. I didn’t even know if I had what it takes to work in this field, but I remembered a friend of mine who had learned how to code at a bootcamp. I admit, I was a little skeptical about whether it was possible to become a programmer without going to university, but I took a chance and applied to Le Wagon anyway. As it turns out, they proved to me that it’s totally possible!
What was your experience at the bootcamp?
Some days, I was really proud of myself. Others, I wished I had never started the course because nothing I did worked! The coding challenges from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day were the toughest part for me. They’re meant to be hard to help you improve your skills.
Luckily, things are set up so that you’re always coding in pairs, and you know what they say about two heads being better than one! Working with a different teammate each day, you easily make new friends.
You learn to work in teams, which I realized is a key skill in the tech area. Whenever you’re stuck, you can raise a ticket and a teacher will come to the rescue.
They always have your back and help lead you to a solution. Each week is more challenging than the last, and you start wondering if you’ll ever really “get it”. You’ll hear teachers say, “trust the process,” but you have a feeling you’re not progressing. Then, during the final project weeks, all the magic starts happening. With your team of three or four, you have to create a web application from scratch.
This is when you realize that you’ve learned a lot after all, and that you’re capable of creating magic with your computer.
You finally start believing in “trusting the process”. On the final day of bootcamp, you realize how much you’ll miss everything about Le Wagon, especially the friends you made, and that you were a fool for ever wanting the bootcamp to finish sooner.
How did you end up working as a python developer at Canscan?
After the bootcamp, I decided to look for an internship instead of a job in order to continue working on my skills. Two months into my search, I received a message from Jennifer Ivens, the CEO at Canscan Technology, asking me if I’d be interested to speak to her about a junior developer position.
Research the jobs out there that interest you and get familiar with their requirements. Try to explore other languages and create new projects in teams.
During our phone call, I told her an internship was what I was after, and she really liked the idea of me being the first intern at Canscan. So, for the 3 months after that, my goal was to learn as much Python as possible. Louay, a senior developer at Canscan, as well as the whole team there, played a huge role in helping me accomplish this goal. As a bonus, I learned a lot of stuff related to machine learning too. Today, I’m proud to say I’m a junior developer at Canscan Technology.
Any tips for graduates ready for the job hunt?
Once you finish the bootcamp, never stop learning! Research the jobs out there that interest you and get familiar with their requirements. Try to explore other languages and create new projects in teams. The Career Playbook offered by Le Wagon is very useful and so is attending tech events
. Most importantly, don’t be scared to apply for a job you think you’re not good enough for.
If you are looking into making a career change, submit your application
to join our Summer batch starting on July 6