Lenni chose to go to a coding bootcamp instead of going to college. She learned to code with Boolean coding bootcamp. She is already working as Software Engineer at a FinTech company in the UK. Read on to hear her career tips on learning to code and getting hired and why she chose a coding bootcamp instead of university. Thanks to the Boolean online bootcamp for supporting this article.
Hey Lenni, so can you introduce yourself?
I am Lenni from Hertfordshire in England. I am currently working as a Junior Engineer at a FinTech startup which I have been doing for four months now.
Why did you choose going to Boolean online bootcamp instead of university?
I have a brother who is a few years older than me and he went to university. He told me all about it when would come back on holidays. When I was younger I thought going to university was guaranteed and it wasn’t until I was actually in my last few months of middle school that I started to second guess that idea.
After looking into it, I found that university required a lot of study outside of lessons and I knew from my experience at middle school that that just wasn’t how my brain worked. I need a set schedule with allotted times where I worked and time where I would relax.
I do feel sad that I will never experience the parties and the socialisation that comes with student living but I know for a fact that if I had gone to uni, I would have ended up dropping out and that would kill my motivation. A bootcamp with a set daily schedule was, in the end, exactly what I needed.
Why did you learn to code?
Most of the people in my family work in tech so I’ve been exposed to programming from a young age. I was never as good at it as my brother, so I wasn’t sure if it was something I wanted to pursue at first but I decided to pick computer science as one of my high school subjects and fell in love with it.
However, I had to choose between pursuing theatre and computer science which was very difficult as both were passions of mine. I took up voice acting during my high school A Level exams and liked it but realised computer science was ultimately more fulfilling for me and more stable.
What was the Boolean course like?
Eventually, we’d start coding completely from scratch. There were also 3 big projects we completed throughout the course. Two solo projects and one team project. It was great fun and we had to come up with the ideas ourselves which helped to teach creativity which is an important and often neglected part of coding.
Why did you choose to study with Boolean?
I looked at a few different boot camps, when I learned I failed my A Levels (UK high school leaving exams), and easily decided Boolean was for me. I completed my A Levels during the height of the pandemic. This meant for the first time in my life, I was expected to be completely self sufficient with my study.
Lessons were hands off with just the teacher talking into a camera and they were almost impossible to contact. I decided this was not how I wanted to learn. When I saw Boolean’s hands-on approach to learning, I knew it would be right for me. They give you the perfect amount of space so they’re not holding your hand but they’re not leaving you to your own devices either.
I think the way they have the lectures in the morning then supported challenges in the afternoon is the perfect balance that I really needed. I learned more in my 6 months at Boolean than I did in my 5 years of high school.
How has your life changed since learning to code?
My life has just gone up and up. I have a solid 9 - 5 (which gives me the stability I need), I’ve moved out and I’m able to spend time with my friends that I couldn’t before. I went from £1.2k a year doing freelance voice acting to £25k with plenty of opportunity to move up the ladder and earn more.
Doing the boot camp wasn’t easy, it was long hours and I had to work over half term meaning I couldn’t see my friends then but I have absolutely no regrets because the freedom it has given me now that I’m out in work is more than I could have imagined.
What does a typical day as a developer look like for you?
My day always starts with a standup at 8:45. We discuss what we did the day before, what we plan to do today, if there’s anything we need help with etc. Then we have a quick break to make a cup of coffee before we start coding for the day. Because I am still a junior developer, most days I pair with one of my seniors. We will either pick a card from our Kanban board, prioritising bugs, or continue working on whatever we were doing the day before depending on if we finished or not.
For bug cards, we check to see if the bug is reproducible in the local client and then if it is we get to work. The code base is huge so we spend some time navigating around to find where we need to work. Then we write a test. We do what we have to do then once all the tests work, we mark the card as completed and move on.
A lot of what I do is either Scala or TypeScript, but we also sometimes have to use Postgresql, React and CSS. We also have quite a few meetings with clients throughout the week and we have planning sessions every Tuesday where we go over our Kanban board, demo any finished cards and see if anything needs to be added. There’s more meetings than I thought, especially for the seniors, but overall it’s about what I expected.
What was the interview process like for your first developer job?
During the career sessions, Boolean encouraged me to post on LinkedIn. At first I was skeptical but as it turns out it was good advice because the CTO of my company reached out to me when he saw I was open to work through a connection. I didn’t reach out to Boolean for the initial meeting but when it came to my actual job interview, I decided to talk to Patrick about it.
He was incredibly helpful in giving me great advice on how to stay calm, how to answer common questions, and even what to expect in terms of pay. It also helps that as part of the course, we had practice interviews with Patrick and our teacher which really helped me to know what to expect.
After the interview went well, I was assigned two coding challenges. One to complete on my own and the other to do with the rest of the team. I learned during this second challenge that the people I would be working with were absolutely lovely which was very comforting.
What are your career goals for the future?
I plan to stay with my company for as long as they’ll have me. They treat me great and are excellent in helping me develop. However, I do not want to stay a Junior. My CTO and I already have a plan in place to help me develop and hopefully I’ll rise through the ranks over some years and make it to senior developer.
When I’m a little bit more settled into my life, I’d like to continue voice acting on the side and maybe get into some amateur dramatics but my main goal is to stay in computer science and become the best programmer I can be.
I don’t have anything to promote but I would like to take this chance to say hang in there! Life will get hard, sometimes there’s a pandemic that messes up your education, but you can make it through and life will find a way of working out.
If you’re keen to start a new career in tech, head to the Boolean website and discover their courses including full-stack, front-end, and data analytics. The Boolean philosophy is based on: live & online classes, a job-focused curriculum, teachers who have industry experience in their field, and careers support until you find your first job in tech. Check out this and more at the website.