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From tech recruiter to developer: Mike knows a shortcut

Since graduating from university in the UK, Mike was working as a recruitment agent for several years. Today, he is a successful back-end developer creating solutions for a fast-growing startup in Tokyo.

Why did you decide to move from tech recruitment to web development? 

When I moved to Japan, I continued to work in recruitment, hiring server side developers and quality assurance engineers. The tech recruiter job offered me the opportunity to learn more about web development and the required skills set. Through interviewing real developers, I realized that the best candidates are not only technically good but also able to work in teams. 

My redundancy served as a kickstarter for deciding to join Le Wagon and pick up a new skill. I was always interested in computers and programming but never really followed through on it. Although my dad is a hardware programmer, I thought that my dislike for math would prevent me from pursuing a tech education. 

As a former recruiter, I knew that there's a huge market for tech workers in Japan. If I want to change my job, why not go into the most in demand sector? It was an excellent opportunity to make a change and hopefully build a new career.

How was your experience studying at Le Wagon?

Studying at Le Wagon was very intense, starting early in the morning and often finishing late at night. However, at the end of the day, I could look back and see the enormous progress I've made.

Le Wagon helped me learn how to work in a team and take into account others’ input when incorporating it into our final product. It was a good simulation of working in a real company where everyone has to pull together to get the project finished.
Final project for Mike and his team
As a final project, my team developed a business expenses monitoring app Bokkun where employees could submit their receipts and reduce the amount of time spent doing paperwork. 

It came from my painful experience in recruitment, when I had to deal with my expenses using Excel spreadsheets. The coolest thing is that my graduation project helped me land my first developer job!

Really? How did it help you to find a job?

During the Demo Day pitch night, I talked to a Le Wagon grad who works at a company called Crowd Cast developing a product very similar to Bokkun. Guess what, they were looking for back-end engineers and I ended up getting that job, in the middle of the pandemic!

WATCH DEMO DAY PRESENTATIONS (Mike’s pitch from 45:00)

At first, I sent my CV, did some exercises on Codewars and was invited for a technical interview. Since the company uses Ruby and Rails and my team lead went through Le Wagon himself, the process was quite straightforward. The final casual talk with the CEO to check cultural fit turned into an actual job offer.

How was your first month as an engineer?

My first weeks felt pretty much like being back at the bootcamp, because every day I was running across new things. Since it was in the middle of the pandemic, my company sent me a laptop and onboarded me remotely through Slack and Zoom. Everyone was really kind and supportive so it's been pretty smooth.

Now I feel more confident because I’ve been able to get some bugfix pull requests merged, and even started to work on features myself. Still, every day there's something which I don't fully understand and have to research. But in the end it’s all part of the learning process. 

Who should join a coding bootcamp? 

I'd recommend anyone who has an interest in programming to consider Le Wagon bootcamp. It gives you all the tools to set up your own career within web development, whether it’s freelance or joining a business.

The ones who do the best in the bootcamp are those willing to learn new things. By the end of the 9 weeks, you can make fully fledged web apps, but at the same time you have so many things to learn. Even though I still feel at the start of my journey, I’m equipped to deal with any work situations and able to constantly upskill myself.

As a former recruiter, would you hire yourself today?

Obviously all junior developers require some internal training but I would be impressed with a portfolio that Le Wagon grads make during project weeks and their motivation. All bootcamp alumni are genuinely interested in programming and can be really convincing when talking about their reasons to apply for a certain company. 

On top of that, joining a bootcamp requires investing a significant amount of time, so it shows a high level of dedication. As an ex-recruiter, I believe that Le Wagon alumni are the perfect choice for fast-growing companies handling innovative solutions. 
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