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5 Common Excuses Keeping You From Breaking Into the Tech Field

Just a few months before starting at Codeup in the Redwood cohort, I was sitting in the football stadium at the University of Colorado at Boulder, pondering what I would do after graduation. The commencement speaker that year was Kate Fagan, a sports reporter and commentator at ESPN. In her speech, something she said stuck out to me: “Try replacing ‘should’ with ‘want’ and, as frequently as you are able, make decisions with that rubric. Life is best when your ‘should’ and your ‘want’ are aligned.” Sitting there in that stadium, I realized that I knew exactly what I should be doing after graduating, which was applying to attend graduate school for the next five years. But the actual truth was, I didn’t know what I truly wanted. Did I really want to jump into something for five years that I wasn’t completely sure about?

With this in mind I moved to San Antonio after graduation, mostly to be closer to my family. One night at the dinner table, my brother-in-law mentioned several eye-catching billboards around town promoting a local coding bootcamp named Codeup. I had dabbled a bit in coding when I was in college, so my interest was immediately piqued. However, there were doubts nagging at the back of my mind. Am I even capable enough to attend an intensive coding bootcamp like this? I’m not really a super logical person… Am I cut out for this? etc, etc. Despite having a ton of reservations about my capabilities and the usefulness of attending a boot camp, I decided to take a leap of faith. And just a year-and-a-half later, I celebrated my one year as a software developer at Armor in Richardson, TX. In some ways, it feels like a dream. The hard work I put in, the days and nights of impassioned coding, pushing through all the excuses… and finally landing a dream job?! It’s a colorful blur.

So that’s why in this post, I want to address five common excuses that may be keeping you from considering a career in technology. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really make sense to let your fears and nagging doubts keep you from the job of your dreams.

1. “I’m not cut out for a career in tech”

This was one of the primary fears at the forefront of my mind when thinking about doing a complete shift to a technology career. And, as I went through Codeup, I heard this many times from my peers. To be honest, it doesn’t ever fully go away. There are days even now at work where I think I’m in over my head and that I don’t belong there (Imposter Syndrome, anyone?). This fear completely disregards the fact that I’m already doing it. The truth is, it isn’t always easy. Technology is constantly changing, creating new problems and forcing those within the field to continuously find new solutions. At my company, even our most senior developers are learning something new every day. We all have our doubts sometimes, but those self-limiting beliefs shouldn’t keep you from pursuing anything you set your mind to.

2. “I wouldn’t fit in with engineers”

Let me ask you something. What does a veteran, electrical technician, and college music teacher have in common? Well, there was at least one of each in my cohort at Codeup, and all of them excelled and went on to become software developers. Other characters in my cohort included a stay-at-home-mom, barista, marketing professional, and a chef. All of these, however, are just arbitrary labels. None of these people told themselves “I’m just going to be a barista forever, because that’s who I am” or “My personality only suits being in a teacher, so I’m not going to try something different.” The reality is, our self-concept is always constantly shifting. There was such a colorful diversity of backgrounds, personalities, and skill sets at Codeup, proving that there’s no one type or mold of individual that can pursue a technology career.

3. “I don’t want to work alone all day staring at a computer screen”

There are days where indeed this is the case for me, just “heads down coding”, but more often than not my days are filled with collaboration and communication with my teammates. When someone runs into a problem they don’t have the knowledge to solve, they track down someone who does. When a few of us are working in the same codebase, we make sure to frequently communicate to make sure we’re not stepping on each other’s toes. On top of that, we get to be a part of producing the product, providing feedback and suggestions. There are very few days where I just sit at my desk all day, boring holes into my computer screen. Although my experience may certainly be atypical, the main point I’m trying to make is that there is a large range of positions and cultures within the technology field. There are also other roles within the technology field beyond coding and data analytics, such as evangelists and solutions consultants. Both of these have lots of interaction with people and clients! Don’t be afraid to try a few different things until you find your fit.

4. “I don’t have enough experience”

Most of us at Codeup did not come in with prior experience in coding. The great thing about coding bootcamps is that they typically take you from 0 to 100 in a condensed period of time. They guide you through the entire process, allowing you to maximize your success, with everything from technical skills, networking, portfolio-building, and resume review. Even with bootcamps aside, there is a plethora of both paid and free resources online that give you the ability to learn a lot of the preliminary skills you would need. There are communities (e.g. Chingu) with the sole purpose of learning and building projects in new technologies. Experience can be gained, so seek out those resources. They’re only a few keystrokes away.

One thing to note about the technology field is that it’s becoming more and more heavily based on experience and not your formal education. Many companies will see the value in someone who has practical experience. The reality is that many companies are shifting towards seeking out individuals that can come in and hit the ground running with practical know-how instead of purely theoretical education.

5. “I’m not tech savvy enough.”

Although basic computer skills are necessary for success, it’s probably not as much as you think. And like I mentioned above, being able to excel in this field is all about embracing change and learning to learn. You may think you’re not tech savvy because you always have issues with your radio or you can’t get your apps to work right or you get frustrated with your computer software for not doing what you want it to – all of these things are valid struggles. Trust me, I’ve been there. The reality is this: Many of these skills can be learned.


As you look into pursuing a career in the technology field, don’t let these thought patterns keep you from getting where you want to be. Instead, ask yourself the real questions: Why do I want to do this? What kind of lifestyle do I see for myself? What am I passionate about? Excuses are excuses, not truths about you and your life. Set a vision and relentlessly pursue it, letting all these limiting beliefs slide off of you. They don’t have to define your journey.


Joyce Ling is a software developer at a cloud security company based in Richardson, TX. In her free time, she sings in a women’s chorus, rock climbs, plays guitar, and currently runs an organization to bring queer women together in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. 

Follow her on Instagram @ironicsushi or read more of her work at The Luscious Word.

Which Program is Right for Me?

To Web Develop or to Data Science?
That is the question.

With our recent program launch, Codeup now offers two technical career tracks: “Full Stack Web Development – Java” and “Data Science.” If you’re a prospective student, you might be wondering which program is right for you! First, we recommend understanding what data science is and what full-stack web development is. Second, ask yourself the following three questions:

PAST: WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?

One key difference between our programs is the prerequisite background knowledge. Our web development program doesn’t have any required skills! Some students enter with no tech experience, and others enter with a lot. Having programming experience is always a plus, but not a must. However, Data Science relies on experience in math, statistics, and basic programming for all incoming students. You’ll need concepts like working with matrices, writing Python functions, and solving systems of equations. That means that you either need coursework in those subjects, self-teaching experience, or on the job training.

Your answer to this question isn’t a simple yes/no, but it should help you determine the ramp-up period to one of our programs and which one fits you better now. If you don’t have any math or programming background, web development may be a better fit. If you have a Math or CS degree, data science may be.

PRESENT: WHAT GETS YOU EXCITED? (WHERE ARE YOU NOW?)

Do numbers get you hyped up? Do you love or hate excel? Do you really like programming? Do massive data sets feel intimidating or exciting? Do you enjoy statistics and math? Do you like being visually creative? Do you want to build web applications? Do you want to focus just on technical work or mix technical and business work?

This list isn’t exhaustive, but it should kickstart your thinking to explore your intrinsic interest in the content of our programs. Try to understand what each profession does day-to-day, and then ask yourself: which gets me more excited? And make sure your answer is brutally honest! Our programs have the same structures, and both career paths are in demand with great opportunity. You’re in great shape either way, but you’ll be much happier with the content that makes you happy.

FUTURE: WHAT JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES DO YOU WANT DOWN THE LINE?

When you graduate from Codeup, we’ll help you land your first job. From the Web Development program, that likely means a job as a software developer, web developer, or programmer. From the Data Science program, that likely means a job as a data scientist, data engineer, or machine learning engineer. But that’s just the first job! As you move through your tech career, you’ll discover new interests and opportunities, like the following.

Web Development: web developer (alternative titles: web designer, UI/UX designer, front-end developer, front-end engineer, full-stack developer, software developer), programming, quality assurance technician, technical sales, product/project manager, etc.

Data Science: data scientist, analysts of all kinds (data, business, risk, fraud, marketing, web, competitive), customer intelligence, business intelligence, data engineer, dashboard/data visualization developer, machine learning engineer, etc.

NOW WHAT?

You now know what data science and full-stack web development are. You have compared your background skills with our program prerequisites. You have thought about what content gets you more excited! And lastly, you’ve considered what future opportunities you’ll want to open for yourself.

Did you decide which program is a better fit? Awesome, congrats! You can apply here and begin your journey to a career you love!

Still not sure? Let us help! Codeup’s mission is to help you launch your career, and or staff is dedicated to helping you find your fit.

5 Things Codeup Doesn’t Tell You

I remember during my first day of Codeup I began to doubt my ability to overcome the challenges that lay ahead. I soon learned that what I was experiencing was “impostor syndrome.” Jason Straughan, Codeup’s CEO, introduced us to this phenomenon that same day. Thanks to his kind advice I was able to identify, and overcome my doubts. Codeup shared many valuable lessons with me, but some lessons were taught through exposure outside of the Vogue building. If you decide to enroll at Codeup, you will find yourself learning many things outside the classroom. I realized through my own journey that there are things Codeup didn’t tell me. So, I’ve narrowed it down to the 5 main things I had to learn on my own as a newly placed software developer.

You Need to be Multilingual

You need to be adaptable and willing to open your ears to all ideas. They say the best way to learn a different language is through practice. In most of our professional and non-professional lives, relationships will have an assigned lingo to properly cater to that relationship. Furthermore, professional groups and organizations like projectQUEST, H-E-B, and Codeup have their own kind of language. These languages are used to identify and recognize individuals of that group or organization. It is important to keep this in mind before you start ANY application process, or start working with new people.

Even though I did not have a college degree, I still had an interest in developing coding skills. I understood early on in my application process that I was in control of my outcome. I assumed determination contained the key to my success, and soon found myself being referred to ProjectQUEST for financial assistance.I would have never known about ProjectQUEST if the Codeup staff had not offered this vital information. The dedication and support offered by these organizations helped me through the multiple application processes. If you plan to visit projectQUEST or Workforce Solutions to inquire about their grants, make sure you’re determined to learn their language, and earn the money. If you have the right amount of determination you can find the proper channels fueling San Antonio’s STEM ecosystem through a simple Google search. Determination is one of the common denominators all Codeup graduates share, and if you too share this similarity, check out the scholarships offered by Codeup.

People want jobs, but not everyone wants to work.

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Codeup’s mission statement is the following, “At Codeup, we focus on two things: you and your success. Find a job within six months of graduation, or get 50% of your tuition returned.” Let me assure you they deliver in service,  content, and in career guidance. However, the staff cannot force you to either study the curriculum or develop programming skills for you. There are people that come ready to overcome adversity, then there are the few who expect to be fed morning tacos with a silver spoon. If you’re seriously considering Codeup, you need to prepare yourself to manage the beautiful chaos of assignments, interviews, and presentations.

My high school soccer coach had a saying, “Do you think Ronaldo is going to parachute from a helicopter and score for you?” We never expected Ronaldo at our high school practices but that was our coach handing down some of his kind wisdom. He used this as a tactic to build the team up before the start of our shooting drills. Ronaldo is a world star player who plays at a professional level so what coach Ramos was really trying to say was, “Work hard if you want the goal. Don’t expect someone to come and score for you!” You need to have a sense of responsibility before embarking on your own journey and launching your career.

Have a servant’s heart.

Some lessons weren’t coming from a screen or projector and I considered these some of my favorite lessons because they spoke more about human character. A perfect example is when the Codeup staff noticed a need in our community and decided to share their passion for service with all San Antonians. The office staff volunteered to serve at the San Antonio Food Bank. This was one of the unspoken teachings Codeup shared with me – these amazing individuals create an environment where you can grow in skill and as a human being. Kudos to them!

I will iterate once again that Codeup will not force you to do something you don’t want to do. As a newly placed member of this ecosystem and a Codeup graduate I would like to ask Codeup fellows and members of the community to ponder, “How are we contributing to the San Antonio ecosystem?” Having the heart of a servant is something Codeup can’t force you to do, but is a skill necessary to achieve self growth and development.

Don’t eat the tacos!

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Codeup is geared to focus on your professional life, and not your waistline. The Codeup family loves to spoil the cohorts with food, they must know the way to a developer’s heart. The morning tacos, the pizza, and snacks should be enough to lure you into the Vogue building. I loved every bite and sip of these delicious perks. However I do have to confess I gained a few pounds during my time at Codeup. I was also on a budget so the ramen noodle isle at the Walgreens became very familiar. Now that I look back I wish I only had one slice of pizza instead of my usual three.

One of the hardest parts of my Codeup journey was finding time to exercise. Taking care of myself felt impossible in this intense immersive environment, but believe me when I say “It is possible!” This was thanks to one of my colleagues, who insisted on completing daily reps of stairs up and down the Travis Park garage.I felt instant restoration after just a few days of exercise. This simple exercise routine helped me deal with stress and gave me enough time to meditate on the things that pushed me towards triumph.

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

The saying “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you” has stuck with me since I was thirteen years old, and made the dumb decision to complain about my job in front of my dad. My dad was not fond of me complaining of the man who signed my checks, so he shared a lesson behind his belligerent words. This made me realize that my ego was blocking my ability to humble myself, and that I needed to be thankful to the people that were trying to help me. His wise words taught me to stay loyal to those who become part of my upbringing.

This saying has stuck with me ever since, and I decided to mark it as a special lesson. A lesson I could only acquired through experience. I realize now the same goes with any organization or relationship that we hold, professional or non professional. We should be able to acknowledge where our loyalties stand, and if we are giving the proper amount of recognition to those who have helped us.

The Codeup staff did everything in their power to plug me into a bigger network of opportunities. Lastly, I was exposed to a network of genuinely loving, and caring people. These amazing benefits make me appreciate the Codeup program so much more. I walked in with the desire to learn computer programming. I am leaving with the ability and skills that say “I am a software developer!”

Skills Fund: Financing to Fuel Your Codeup Future

Editor’s Note (March 2021): Skills Fund is now Ascent Funding! Learn more about our partners at Ascent, here.

 

Picture this: You’re making a change. You’ve made a life-changing decision to attend Codeup in order to switch up your career or jumpstart your skills. You’re on your way to a transformed life – with just one barrier in the way: paying for your Codeup tuition and cost of living.

Codeup is focused on two things: you and your success. Their curriculum is designed by experts and regional employers, the coursework is taught by the best instructors around, and they have a track record of successful graduates.

Skills Fund is focused on two things: you and your success.  Take what you’ve heard about or experienced with student loans, and throw it out the window. Whether you’ve proudly served our country and you’re ready to enter the workforce, you’re just starting your career, looking for a career switch, or upskilling, we’re providing a return on education by only partnering with bootcamps and schools that provide impactful, proveable outcomes to their students.

“Tuition is the number one concern that applicants have coming into Codeup, and having a trusted lending partner like Skills Fund to direct them to is extremely beneficial.  As an Admissions Manager, I am confident that Skills Fund is providing a great experience to our students and offering a great product to help them cover their tuition costs.”

-Mario, Codeup Admissions Manager

 

What does this mean? We’ve partnered with Codeup to provide clear-cut, fully upfront, and transparent financing for tuition and living expenses. Eligible students may borrow up to $21,500 for tuition and $6,000 for cost of living.

But – a student loan? We get it. Traditionally, loans have been confusing – and unnecessarily so. We’re on a mission to be transparent, up-front, and honest about all the terms involved with our financing. We’re the only lender that provides all details of your financing before you even apply. Students may discover their rate (interest rate + general APR) and monthly repayment amount using our loan calculator on our partnership website.

How will I repay? While you’re attending Codeup and for two months of grace afterwards, you’ll make low, interest-only payments towards your loan balance. After your grace period ends, you’ll begin full repayments. We’re betting on your future, so there should be no strings attached: you can pay your loan off at any time with no prepayment penalties.

How does it work? The simple process takes just four steps.

  1. After you’ve applied to Codeup, head to the Skills Fund partnership website to discover your terms, calculate your monthly repayment, and apply for a loan online in less than 10 minutes. Choose from a 3- or 5-year loan, and add on cost of living financing if needed.
  2. At the end of the application, we’ll let you know whether or not you’ve been approved. If you’re denied, you may be given the opportunity to add a cosigner.
  3. On the second Wednesday after your program begins, your tuition financing is sent to the school and your cost of living is sent directly to you.
  4. You’ll start making payments one month after your loan is disbursed. You’ll be provided with several options for making payments, including AutoPay.

What if I have most of my tuition covered, and only need to borrow a small amount to attend? With Skills Fund, you can borrow as little as $2,000 towards your tuition. You can calculate your monthly repayment online to understand what you would need to contribute to your financing per month.

What if I have a low credit score? Skills Fund believes in you and your future, and that is reflected in our underwriting. If you’re credit denied, you may be eligible to apply again with a cosigner.

To learn more about Skills Fund financing for Codeup, visit our partnership website or email us at CustomerTrust@Skills.Fund.

LEARN MORE

Anxious About the Job Fair

I hope you’ve got your resumes ready, because Codeup’s bi-annual Tech Job Fair is coming back this Fall! For most people, this is an exciting event, full of opportunity and new beginnings. While for some, the words “Job Fair” provoke anxiety and a deep-seated fear of proper handshaking.

(via GIPHY)

To help a few of you entry-level folks out there, I sat down with my boss Fred Tawil – President of Swipetrack Solutions – and asked him if he had some advice for anyone attending the Job Fair in September.

Interview With the Boss

How did you get into tech?

I taught myself how to program years and years ago. When I graduated as a political science major, I needed something to do. My dad owned bingo halls and he needed a player tracking system, so I figured okay, I’ll make a player tracking system. I taught myself how to program, I built the kiosk and built the software to run the player tracking.

As someone who didn’t formally study something like CS, what has been the most difficult thing about managing a bunch of programmers? 

I don’t know. Everybody has their own method of programming and development. It’s that balancing act between getting something done quick and getting it done right. It’s figuring out how much time we can spend making it reliable versus getting it deployed.

That’s true. There’s always something new coming out in this industry.

Yeah, it’s always good to keep an eye out on what’s coming up, that way you’re not stuck when something gets depreciated or reaches its end-of-life.

When you’re hiring, do you typically read everyone’s resumes?

It depends. We typically glance at them. I understand that a lot of Codeup grads weren’t in tech and are trying to move into it. That’s actually good for us, especially as a small company. We like to see previous work history so we can hire someone with multiple skills.

Back when you were conducting the interviews yourself, what are some things that would make a candidate stand out to you?

Most of the time when we’re hiring, we get a lot of competent coders that come to see us, and we see lots and lots of resumes. But an important thing for us now is, will this person fit in with the environment and will they like working here? When it comes down to the interview, you can be a competent coder, but what we want to know is if you’ll mesh with the group of people here and if you’re someone we can work with day to day.

How important would you say it is for someone to have a personal website and to have recent commits on GitHub?

I can tell you we looked at everyone’s personal website if their resume looked good. GitHub accounts not so much, because a lot of the time when someone is coming from a coding bootcamp they’re all the same. A lot of the websites also looked similar, but if there was a way that you set yours apart, we saw those and those were pretty interesting.

For us it’s not so much what you did while you were at Codeup, it’s what else you did. Show me that you really enjoy programming and that you do it in your free time, as opposed to just looking for a higher paycheck. Do you have any apps in the App store, or a web application you made? Did you actually spend time on your website? I can tell you we do look at the source code and make sure if we’re hiring somebody that they didn’t just use a theme they bought on the internet and are pretending they built it. It’s very easy to tell.

Do you have any advice for anyone who is nervous about going to their first Tech Job Fair? 

It might be different, but I think it’s more laid-back. I would say to just relax. The three or four times we did it, we enjoyed talking to people and finding those whose personalities stood out. So be relaxed, enjoy it, and just talk.

From Personal Experience  

I clearly remember attending my first Tech Job Fair back in 2017, only because I was extremely anxious every day leading up to the event. I would go to Geekdom after class and had late nights to make sure that my website and online profiles were ready to go. Once the day came and I got there, my first thought was to run back to the car.

responsibilities(Image: Tenor)

Three Easy Steps

Whether you’re planning to attend the Tech Job Fair to find employment or to network, it’s completely normal to be a little worried about it. So here’s my advice:

  1. Do Your Research

I can vouch for the importance of doing a little research before attending. Make sure to look at the list of companies who will be there and make a mental note of those that really interest you. You’ll be better off and more prepared to ask all the right questions.

  1. Introduce Yourself

If you’re not quite sure how, “Hello, my name is…” goes a long way.

  1. Follow Up

This is the step that most people forget. If you find a place that you fall in love with, you need to follow up. Why wouldn’t you? That would be like falling head over heels for someone on the first date and forgetting to call. There are plenty of fish in the sea and a simple email thanking them for their time could be the reason they remember your name.

Pro Tip: If you’re currently in Codeup, you can even invite them to Demo Day and have another shot at impressing them with your new skills.

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Bottom Line

Most importantly, STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF. Getting hired into a new company is a lot like entering a new relationship. Companies want to hire someone they can get along with everyday – someone who values their work and the company culture. Ultimately, you want to be hired by people who “get” you. It’s usually easy to tell when someone is not being genuine, so avoid pretending to be someone you’re not. Put yourself out there, smile and most of all, bring some hand-sanitizer because you’re going to be shaking a lot of hands.

 

 

Sophie studied music for a few years before diving into the world of web development. Now it’s too late to go back because there are bugs that need fixing.
Her husband is also a software developer, and their baby looks a lot like Pooh Bear.
In her free time she covers music, re-watches The Office and drinks more bubble tea than any person should.
She is serving in the Texas National Guard and currently trains at Aerial Horizon.

The Job Fair is Over….Now What? Post Job Fair Tips

The Job Fair is Over….Now What? Post Job Fair Tips

 

We’ve written about how to kill it at the job fair and how to leave a lasting impression at the Job Fair. But, what happens when the Job Fair doors close?

Here at Codeup, we’re passionate about bridging the gap between talent and demand, so we’ve outlined helpful tips to ensure you continue bringing your A-game and leave a lasting impression!

1) Make meaningful connections with employers on LinkedIn

Don’t let yourself become someone they barely remember. Find the recruiters on LinkedIn and connect with them.
Add a personal note as to why you want to connect with them. Consider recapping conversations you had at the job fair and reiterating what position(s) in which you were interested. Don’t blindly connect – remind them of who you are!

2) Social Media

Use social media to your advantage! Companies are more connected than ever before, so what better way to show you’re interested than by following them on social media? Some key ones include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and possibly even Instagram. But, WHY social media? You’ll be constantly in the loop of what the companies are up to and what they’re in the business of doing. As a result, you stay relevant.

3) Set up alerts

In the advent of social media, apps are also on the rise. Set up alerts through your favorite job sites – almost all of which have apps.

Here’s a few that our Director of Employer Partnerships recommend:

4) Double check your resume

Do you have two resumés? It’s best to have two – one that is tailored for the role you want and one tailored to recruiters. Hand out the latter one to recruiters or at job fairs. It should also highlight the well roundedness of who you are!

5) How’s your cover letter?

Step one: do you have a cover letter? Step two: is it one that can be tailored with minimal effort? While most companies nowadays don’t require a mandatory cover letter, it’s good to have one on file. This link has great tips on prepping one.

6) Recruiters can be your friend (in the professional sense)

A good recruiter won’t view working with you as a transaction. Working with a recruiter allows you to a) outsource a significant portion of the job search while also gaining a direct connection to a professional network b) give you access to a transparent job search process (such as company culture and interviewer style). In addition, it’s in a recruiter’s best interest to stay in touch with you once you accept an offer to make sure you’re adjusting. You’re not a transaction – you’re an investment. When they see you continue to succeed, it allows them to stay at the top of your mind as you continue your professional path.

7) Show that you’re available

Does your LinkedIn reflect that you’re wanting to hear from recruiters? This is an often overlooked step, but is key when actively job searching.

Other (little) things that make a (BIG) Difference

  • Functional email address
    • Have a functional GMAIL address. Why Gmail? It’s encrypted in transit and at rest. These emails are typically embraced by HR and recruiting managers
    • If you have an email ending in .edu, that’s okay!
    • In addition, a naming conversation is encouraged, like “first.last,” ‘last.first,” anything that incorporates your names and not personally identifying information (i.e. birthdays, SSN)
  • Set up an outgoing voicemail, so recruiters aren’t totally detracted from the message. It helps convey a soft skill by hearing a voice
    • We know robo calls are the worst. But, it’s best to answer your phone from unknown numbers while job searching – especially if it’s a local number to the job market where you’re searching. It could be a recruiter or a hiring manager who’s interested in you in that very moment, and may pass you up for the next person that picks up the phone.

The next Tech Job Fair is scheduled for September 2018. Until then, we wish you all the best of luck as you continue navigating through the job search!

10 Tips to Crush It at the SA Tech Job Fair

SA Tech Job Fair

The third bi-annual San Antonio Tech Job Fair is just around the corner. Over 25 companies will be at The Jack Guenther Pavilion on April 10th, and they are hungry for new tech team members!

At the job fair, companies want to quickly source a list of new talent leads. AKA they need to find qualified employees they can begin interviewing for jobs. Recruiters will represent their organization at tables with informational handouts and company swag. Your goal at a job fair is to set yourself apart from other candidates and ensure your name makes it to the top of those lead lists.

Think of your interaction with the company as a mini screening interview. The company rep will subtly evaluate basic qualities like your professionalism, communication and interpersonal skills, work experience, and interest level in the organization. Job fairs are also an opportunity for you to gain information about companies that may not be easily accessible online.  

At Codeup, we’re passionate about bridging the gap between talent and demand, so we’ve outlined 10 tips to ensure you bring your A-game and leave a lasting impression!

10 Tips for Totally Crushing it at the SA Tech Job Fair

  1. Use keywords to describe your skills, but don’t go overboard. You’ll probably be talking to a recruiter or talent acquisition specialist. As a technical candidate, recognize these individuals usually aren’t developers or network administrators. They know terms like “JavaScript” and “Apache,” but haven’t written a line of code or spun up a server, so don’t get too caught up in industry jargon.
  2. Research the companies ahead of time. Review the list of attending companies and make sure you know what the company does and whether or not they hire people in your desired role. Look up recent news on the company and mention it during your conversation.
  3. Define your own goals for the job fair. Are you searching for a specific type of role or company culture? What matters most in your job search? Are there companies you want to prioritize?  Develop a game plan and be intentional with your time.
  4. Prepare a stellar résumé. Bring about 20 copies of your résumé to the event, printed on nice paper. We won’t cover resume writing in this post, but there are a plethora of online resources you can consult. For job fairs, don’t worry about cover letters.
  5. Polish your online profiles. If recruiters have a copy of your resume, you can be sure they will stalk you online soon. Make sure your online presence is professional and appropriate. A good place to start is by Googling yourself. Update your LinkedIn, and clean up any social media profiles.
  6. Craft a 30-60 second elevator pitch. You may only have a few minutes with an employer. What will you say if they ask, “Tell me about yourself?” Consider structuring your pitch like this: Who you are + What you do + What your goals are + Why that matters to the company.
  7. Don’t show up in a t-shirt, but trade in your suit for something more chill. Always keep it professional, but remember: tech is typically more casual than other industries. You’ll likely feel out of place if you look like you belong on Wall St., so refer to this guide on dressing for tech interviews.
  8. Don’t forget the basics. Start and end each conversation with a firm handshake. Make eye contact while conversing. Smile! Thank the recruiter before you move on to the next table.
  9. Ask educated questions. Don’t waste valuable face time with recruiters by asking questions like, “What does [Insert Company here] do?” They hate that question! Instead, try some of these:
    1. What are the top 3-5 examples of knowledge, skills, and abilities you look for in candidates?
    2. What’s the best advice you have for someone who wants to work here?
    3. What is your interview process like?
    4. Are you hiring for any roles not currently listed on your websites?
  10. Follow up. Collect business cards from each table. The next day, send a short note expressing your interest in the company’s opportunities and thanking the recruiter for his or her time.

RSVP for the SA Tech Job Fair taking place at the Jack Guenther Pavilion – September 18th starting at 4 pm. 

6 Tips For Picking The Best Coding Bootcamp

6 Tips For Picking The Best Coding Bootcamp

Having a tough time choosing the best coding bootcamp for you? Not sure whether the bootcamp you’ve just been admitted to is legit?

Well, you’re in luck!

As Codeup‘s admissions director, I speak to dozens of current and prospective students everyday. I’m here to help cut through the noise and share feedback from those students, and help you on your path to picking the best coding bootcamp for you.

Program fit and quality are key to launching a successful career as a software developer, and there are six non-negotiables to keep in mind as you make your decision.

6 Tips For Picking the Best Coding Bootcamp (TL;DR)

  1. Learn from the pros. Be sure you’ll have lots of access to experienced, passionate instructors.
  2. Quality over quantity. Be wary of schools with lots of campuses. You don’t want to end up at a diploma mill!
  3. In-person, not online! Schools with in-person learning environments produce better programmers.
  4. Do they put their money where their mouth is? Check out the school’s job placement opportunities and/or job guarantee.
  5. Networking! Ask about how the school gets students integrated in the local tech community.
  6. Keep an eye on funding options, especially those from non-profit sources. Even if you don’t qualify for a grant or scholarship, it means the school has been vetted by third parties.

1. Lots of 1:1 Time with Qualified, Experienced Instructors

We’ve all dealt with disengaged teachers, but at a good program, you shouldn’t have to. Be sure that there’s a full staff of bona fide instructors that maximize individual attention and mutual accountability.

Look for three things in your programming instruction: actual work experience in the industry (not just at the bootcamp!), a passion for teaching, and access to one-on-one tutoring.

College computer science courses are heavy on theory, light on useful applications. That’s great for some folks, but a good immersive coding program gives you the tools you need to get a job, and it’s best to learn from people who’ve been using them to build creations of their own. When reviewing instructors’ credentials, look past the fancy degrees and give brownie points for web development jobs and industry savvy.

With that in mind, some of the most brilliant software developers simply aren’t the greatest teachers. You want to be sure your instructors love interacting with students, explaining complex concepts to beginners, and offering one-on-one help whenever needed.

Also, when possible, be sure to do a campus visit and meet the instructional staff. The program staff should always be open to this.

2. Fewer Locations = Higher Quality

Alright, I’ll say it. Be wary of coding schools with multiple campuses. Some bootcamps are decent in one city and terrible in another. It’s much easier for a program to give you quality, individualized attention when the staff and instructors aren’t answering to people in a different time zone.

There’s decades of evidence for this. The country’s best universities hunker down in one spot and focus on student success. Money-hungry diploma mills have locations in strip malls from coast-to-coast, some of which are known for high dropout rates and have been banned from recruiting military personnel. As with any decision in higher ed, choosing a focused coding bootcamp makes all the difference.

3. Immersion

You’ve probably heard people compare learning programming to learning spoken languages. There are lots of similarities, but there’s a big one to keep in mind: immersion. Both types of languages are learned best through using the language all day, every day, with other people, for an extended period of time.

A coding bootcamp worth your time should provide a collaborative environment that immerses you in code. You’ll be able to sharpen your new skills alongside a team of experts and vetted fellow students. Instructors push you to the next level, and when the going gets tough, you can always ask one of your bright classmates—a whole group of bright classmates, in fact!

4. A Stellar Job Placement Record

What’s the end game of any good coding program? Getting you a well-paid job at a company you like!

First, check out the schools’s job placement rate. If their admissions strategy and teaching are solid, it should be north of 90% over six months. This means they’re accepting students who will succeed as developers, not just anyone who can pay the tuition.

Next, take a look at the list of companies where alumni take jobs. Are they all funneled into one industry? What’s the ratio of startups to corporations? A diverse set of post-grad placements suggests you’ll learn the programming skills necessary to succeed in any work environment.

Also, make sure the school is willing to put its money where its mouth is. Good programs should guarantee you a job in a timely fashion or else give you a significant refund.

Would you rather start something of your own? Even better! Keep reading below.

5. Ecosystem, Ecosystem, Ecosystem

The tech industry thrives in areas where entrepreneurs, investors, creatives, and developers—i.e., you!—can easily get together and make the magic happen.

Collaborative workspaces, like Geekdom in San Antonio, allow entrepreneurs to build new business and products together. Notable local tech companies like Rackspace and top-tier startup accelerators are also key indicators of a healthy ecosystem and provide important funding sources for new ventures. Cities with diverse, technology-heavy industries (e.g., healthcare, military, energy, aeronautics, automotive, and advanced manufacturing) also offer a strong commercial base to support tech entrepreneurs and job seekers.

As you start to build things, it’s also nice to be in a somewhat smaller ecosystem. Getting in on the ground floor of a growing tech scene gives you access to willing and able mentors. Smaller tech cities also tend to have lower costs of living. A new software engineer often finds it helpful to be a big fish in a friendly, easy-to-navigate pond, where the tech community’s got her back in times of success and failure.

6. Ample Funding Options

Keep an eye out for schools with various funding options. Many offer loans that allow students to defer payments until after graduation. That’s a huge plus, but you should also ask about non-profit tuition grants and scholarships. And should you not qualify for these benefits, at least you can rest assured that third parties have vetted your school and its leadership is serious increasing access to education.

So…which coding bootcamp is right for you?

Immersive coding programs can get you started on an exciting new career path. That said, big life transitions aren’t easy. It’s important to find the right program, and we encourage all applicants to vet their options for how well each school teaches and accommodates their students.

If you have any questions or comments about Codeup, or anything else, we’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to send an email to info@codeup.com or schedule a phone call. We’ll be in touch shortly.

Don’t worry – Here’s the Best Bootcamp Funding Options!

Don’t worry – Here’s the Best Bootcamp Funding Options!

 

At Codeup we work to fully service your coding learning experience from the first day you connect with us, until well into your new career. As we see it, our students are courageously jumping into an intensely immersive experience.  We want to give you the tools you need to swim fearlessly, while learning really valuable skills.

One tool we find many of our students need is help paying for the Codeup experience. Our home-grown scholarship programs, grant/funding partners, and excellent financing options make it straight-forward and easy. We’ve worked to make sure we have the best partners so that there are no predatory lenders or sketchy unreliable customer service experiences.

We are happy to introduce you to our newest partner who can be a helpful funding resource for you. Meet Skills Fund. You’ll like them as much as we do when you see what they have to offer.

Editor’s Note (March 2021): Skills Fund is now Ascent Funding! Check out our partnership page, here.

Here’s what they have to say for themselves, in their own words:


A PARTNERSHIP TO INVEST IN YOUR CODEUP EXPERIENCE & SUCCESS

Skills Fund’s goal is simple: we don’t finance students to attend crappy programs. For this reason, we work daily to build the best financing tools for leading bootcamps and their students.

  • ‣ Fixed interest rates: 8.49% for 36 months; 10.49% for 60 months
  • ‣ Finance up to $15,000 (tuition – deposit) of program costs
  • ‣ Interest-only payments while in program and for 60 days following graduation
  • ‣ Transparent loan terms: understand your interest rate before applying
  • ‣ 10 minutes to complete your application. Pre-approval within minutes.
  • ‣ Cosigner options available

CHOOSE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU

Select from 3- and 5-year loans, and only pay interest while in-course. Gain the benefit of lower monthly payments during the repayment phase.  Different packages make interest rates workable for you, in terms of duration to pay back the loans and amounts disbursed. For more information on your Skills Fund loan options, please visit the Codeup Skills Fund portal.

What is the advantage of financing and how can I use the money?

A full cash payment can place unfavorable stress on your savings, and the high Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of a credit card can quickly increase the cost of your education. Financing enables ease of payment, with low, fixed competitive interest rates that can be paid back at anytime without penalty.  You can only use the loan to directly fund your Codeup education. The loan will be disbursed to Codeup within days of starting your course. Bootcamp funding like this makes completing the program hassle-free.

Will I qualify for a Skills Fund loan or do I need a cosigner?

As long as you meet the basic underwriting criteria – you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have no recent bankruptcies and no history of loan default – you’ll most likely qualify for payment for your Codeup experience. You can (1) apply individually, and should you not be approved, you can reapply with a cosigner, or (2) initiate your loan process with a cosigner.


 

So there you have it!  Don’t worry if these terms sound ultra-complex. We’ll walk through every step with you because that’s our DNA – high touch, high care. We are on your team!  We want funding be an easy part, because upgrading your life and developing your future are worth investing in!

Interested in learning more? Give us a call at (210) 802-7289 or send us an e-mail at info@codeup.com.