Two and half weeks after graduating from Makers Academy I was offered a full time job as a software engineer at Pivotal Labs. As I prepare for my first day at work tomorrow, I took some time to think back as to how I came to find myself in this fortunate position.
I almost didn’t go to Silicon Milkroundabout in November 2013. I was halfway through Makers Academy and didn’t think any company would want to talk to someone with six weeks worth of ‘experience’, if that’s what you can call it. So, although I decided to go, it wasn’t with the mindset of securing a job, but with a view to see what was out there in the world of tech. I had a coding test to complete that weekend, so couldn’t afford to spend all day there. I went through the company profiles and websites and took down the names of the ones that seemed the most interesting.
On the day, I had some excellent conversations with employees from different firms. No one seemed put off by the fact that I was only halfway through a coding bootcamp. In fact, they seemed more excited about it than anything else and those that didn’t feel they would be in a position to hire me soon wanted to keep in touch and monitor my progress over the following months.
Whilst the conversations were fun, they were also tiring. Even though I wasn’t really looking for a job, I found that I was selling myself at each stand and had a lot of questions based on the previous night’s research. After four or five meaningful conversations, armed with e-mail addresses to follow up discussions on, I decided to call it a day. However, as I was trying to find my way out, the Pivotal Labs stand by the entrance caught my eye. I hadn’t heard of them before coming across their website the previous evening but from what I’d read I liked the sound of the environment and culture of the company. It seemed like a place where I’d be really challenged and yet supported in continuing to learn. At the time, nobody else was chatting to the Pivotal employees, so I decided to have one more conversation.
The few of you that regularly read my blog posts might remember when I mentioned that I’d gone to code with the director of a top software agency. Well, that was the director of Pivotal Labs. It turned out that though he wasn’t sure about hiring a junior developer, he enjoyed our conversation and invited me to come and visit their offices one Friday afternoon. After a few hours of coding, impressed with how much I’d picked up in such a short time at Makers Academy, I was invited to complete their interview process. This involved two more rounds; the first was a one-hour technical challenge focusing on TDD and the second was a day pairing with a member of the team. In the end they decided to extend a full-time offer my way and I quickly accepted.
My story and others of Makers Academy graduates goes to show just how effective the course can be in helping you change your life. When I turned down my investment banking job last year, I had no idea what was next for me, and I never thought it could be this, especially in such a short space of time. I graduated from university six months ago with no technical skills to my name and now I’m going to work for one of the best digital agencies in the world. I’m incredibly excited.
Thank you Makers Academy. Thank you very much.