What to do after graduating from a coding boot camp?

To start, if you have recently graduated from a coding boot camp, congratulations! This article was written with you in mind. Being a coding boot camp alumni myself, from the Flatiron School, I experienced a sudden pitfall of uncertainty after graduation. After months of being told what to do, the instructions suddenly stopped and I was left to figure it all out on my own. My hope, with this article, is to prepare you for this sudden reality and give you insights on how to carry on.

You have just finished attending your graduation ceremony and realized you are at a loss on what to do next to continue growing as a software engineer. Sure the most important next step is finding a job based on your newly acquired skillset but how do you go about doing that? The answer is don’t stop coding. Make considerable efforts in identifying technologies that you want to utilize in a professional work environment. A technique I used to help me was observing the skillset listed in job descriptions that were appealing to me. If there were any gaps between your resume skill set and the job description skillset fill in those gaps by building a project that utilizes those skills. For example, I found myself really enjoying working on the React.js framework and also realized that I enjoyed working on the backend. However, after reviewing the job market I did not see many positions for a React.js and Ruby on Rails backend stack. I did see many positions utilizing React in the MERN stack so I decided to invest in a well-reviewed curriculum that taught the MERN stack which resulted in me filling in the gaps. What is the takeaway? Identify which technologies you enjoy working with, find jobs that closely match your skillset and if there are any gaps fill it in. That is one way to attain solid footing after graduation.

An alternative path to keep yourself grounded after graduation is getting involved with a major open source project. Learning how to work with seasoned professionals and making real-world contributions can help you stand out in a pool of applicants. A great platform to get involved with open source projects is Hackathon and/or Hacktoberfest.

Next, please please focus on studying data structures and algorithms. Coding boot camps help you build a solid foundation but most of them do not go into detail when it comes to studying data structures, problem-solving algorithms, and understanding time-space complexity. If you chose to pick up this skill set, it requires a lot of time to become proficient in this area. My advice is to start early.

To summarize, the day after, or the week after giving yourself a well-deserved break, graduation plan out what skills you need to pick up. Acquire them by building a project around those skills. A few noteworthy skills to mention that nearly every employer wants to see is the deployment of an app, adding new features to an aging app, and building test units. Reach out to professional developers who own open-source projects that have issues. In my experience, many are very welcoming and helpful. Lastly, please please make significant efforts towards studying how to solve algorithms, learning how to use data structures, and time-space complexity. Hopefully, this gives you a bit of structure in terms of what you need to do next after graduation. Good luck!

I do software engineering