We’re catching up with some of our alumni and they’re sharing advice for our students and recent graduates.
Megan Freeman went through NSS’s web development bootcamp as a part of Cohort 9. She left a career in business dentistry to purse software development. Her six months at NSS laid the groundwork for her first job in tech by exposing Megan to current technologies. This made it easier for her to go deeper and learn more on the job.
She has learned A LOT on the job, including: “Agile and Scrum; release processes; how to QA; ‘Definition of Done;’ management; reporting and documentation tools to aid in the System Development Life Cycle, or SDLC, (such as Jira and LeanKit); collaboration with other departments; and communication!” With all of these new skills Megan is now a Scrum Master.
Her learning doesn’t stop when the clock strikes five. She has taken several Scrum certification courses and reads books on Agile. She shared, “Not only does it help me to do my job better, this has definitely influenced call backs on my resume and increased network connections! The investment in continuing education is also an investment to your employer’s continued growth and success. Knowledge + experience = Value. Besides that, it provides transparency to the dedication to your role.”
Megan encourages graduates to “Be yourself!” in the interview process. She also offered some great advice about the dreaded white board test in interviews.
When you are given a technical test, interviewers are not looking for perfection and don't even expect it. My first interview was a white board test where I was asked to code an elevator. In real life that takes time and a team, not a single person on the spot with a white board and a marker. The test serves more as a brain scan to see HOW you solve a problem. What is your problem solving process like? If it's the same or different as others on the team is not something to worry about. Just go with it, and BE YOURSELF along the way.
And once you’re in your first job as a developer she says, “Don’t be intimidated or afraid to ask questions or admit that you can’t figure something out. You will be a much more desirable and respected person to work with if you have truly tried and speak up sooner than later (like at the end of the sprint when it’s too late to solve your problem and make it deliverable).”
Megan’s top career advice is to keep learning and networking. Go to meetups. (Follow us on Twitter for meetups each week). Be active on Nashdev, a Nashville tech community Slack group, by asking questions. (Check out the #beginners_and_mentors channel). She also suggests graduates leverage their strengths. Leverage your background and interests by searching for companies that work in those fields. She shared, “NSS doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, the only talking point on your resume as junior developer.”
Finally, Megan encourages you to “find your place in technology.” She explains, “There are so many roles in software development. Success can be found in those roles as well. If you are happy as a developer, and most are, then GREAT! If you are one of the few that aren’t, DO. NOT. QUIT. Just find your place.”