I spend ten years in retail technology support, I knew how computers worked inside and out, but I was getting tired of users complaining to me, having no upward mobility in my job, and not being able to find another company willing to give me a chance. So after much consideration, I decided to go to a coding bootcamp. It was relatively quick, not too expensive, and lent me the hope that I could pursue a new career.
So I went, I spent 15 rigorous weeks, learning coding languages that I had little experiences in, passing coding challenges, and building projects. Overall, I kind of enjoyed the whole process, I knew what each day was going to look like, what was expecting of me, and what I wanted to accomplish.
By the end of 15 weeks, I was starting to get a little ran down (there’s only so much time that I can work seven days a week) and looking forward to what came next…
After graduation, I was excited to take at least a little bit of a break from coding and just give my mind a rest. Once I rested up a little bit, I brought my mind back to where I was: I didn’t have a job, I didn’t really like job hunting, I didn’t really know where to start, and I didn’t know what goals I had to accomplish. Sure the end goal is to get a job in the new career path that I had chosen, but there isn’t really a clear roadmap of how to get there.
For a while I just concentrated on coding, several other people in the group I graduated with had talked about algorithms and data structures that they were going to learn, so I jumped on board with that. The idea of at least having something new to study, at least kept me moving towards some goal.
So I did some online classes and videos, learned some new interesting topics and considered that a success. However, the other struggle that I now faced was my time was all free. I really wasn’t expected to be anywhere at any certain time, or have my project done by any set time. So I felt a little overwhelmed by the immense void before me.
That brings me to why I decided to write this, to basically vocalize the steps that I decided to take, in the hopes that maybe it will give someone else a place to start. Fair warning I am still in the mist of my job search but I feel more confident now than I did then.
First, I decided to give myself a schedule. For me, I set aside the hours between 10 and 6 to just focus on my job search, that’s a full eight hours since I rarely eat lunch. During this time, I would look at job descriptions, craft cover letters, search for points of contact, etc. Looking for a job would become my job.
Next, I would set aside time within my 10 to 6 timeframe to actually code. Whether working on a portfolio website, doing problems on LeetCode or CodeWars, or just working on a personal project. I still like coding a whole lot more than job hunting but I wanted to limit the time that I would spend coding.
Finally, I still wanted to give myself some downtime. Hence, why I set my schedule up as 10 to 6, once 6 o’clock would roll around I could give myself a break, just to do the things that I enjoy doing, not the things that I HAD to do. Sure it’s not a hard stop at 6, sometimes I’m in the middle of something and I just want to get it done, but I make sure that as soon as I finish, I wrap it up for the day.
Well, that’s about it, like I said it’s still a work in progress and I don’t know how helpful it is, but it helps me to put things down on paper to gain a greater perspective. I hope that this helps you in some way, and thanks for reading!