Life after EDA

 Three Weeks in the Wild

First and foremost, this should be considered payback for my dreadful IOU blog post a while back. Like the Lannisters, a Developer always pays her debts.

 Freedom

I woke up on Saturday, with not only a slight headache (self inflicted & celebratory related), but also a bizarre sense of freedom. Not the kind that follows some sort of terrible captivation, but a new sense that felt like I’d just hit refresh on my life. I was unaware of what shape my life would be taking in the very imminent future but I was content none-the-less. I suspect this contentment was largely aided by the sleep in past 9 o'clock, something I hadn’t done in over nine weeks.

This #freedom was largely short lived as the realities of nine-weeks of domestic TODOs came crashing down in one mighty blow. Not only had I put relationships on hold for this period, shopping supplies had dwindled to equate to bare shelves, washing had been recycled to their socially-acceptable limits and anything that had been broken, remained that way. So what did I do on my first day of #freedom? Chores. Yeah, I’m a pretty exciting person…

 Institutionalised

One of the unexpected byproducts of graduation that impended on me was the fact I had broken a pretty rigid routine. I hate to make a negative analogy, and by no means does this reflect on EDA, but it’s kind of like when a prisoner is released from jail (luckily no first hand experience there). One day I was a member of a community that relied on check-ins and check-ups and now I’d checked-out completely.

I didn’t realise how slowly a day can actually go. I got through my chores pretty swiftly on the Saturday and then I had free time. Idle felt weird, walking aimlessly felt weird, watching TV without feeling guilty felt weird, spending time with friends that I hadn’t seen in two and a half months felt weird.

I’ve recently reiterated to myself that I’m one of those people for whom freetime is actually counterproductive. The busier I see to be, the more I get involved in, the more I fill up my calendar, the more I can achieve. So I suppose I felt quite a lot of discomfort in my new unproductive state of being. Although I did get to catch up on a lot of good TV…

 Job Hunt

There is an unofficial week ten of EDA, Careers Week. This is essentially a code free week where we focus all our energy on completing the cycle and landing that dream tech job. The lead was curated and guided by Rohan, who helped us explore potential work options, tidy up our CV’s (I’m still a one page pioneer at heart Rohan), prepare cover letters, prep us for interviews and, probably most valuably lined up a few in house talks with people from the industry.

Everyone kind of took a different approach to the week. Some people sent their CV’s far and wide with the idea they would filter depending on bites they got. I took more of a refined approach and actually only contacted a few (five) places around Wellington. I was lucky enough to hear back from all but one and so the interviews commenced…

 Silicon Welly

It’s no secret that Wellington has a great cluster of tech companies. Both the quantity and diversity, in terms of sizes and culture, means that as developers we’re pretty spoilt for choice. It also means that we can shop around a little to ensure that the fit is right for both parties. I came off a not great experience last year with an ultra-corporate culture so was quite wary of anything that violated Gladwell’s Rule of 150. Actually, it was more like 25 for me, I really wanted to be a part of a smaller team, and probably the biggest pulling factor was a flat structure with little-to-no hierarchy. As a forever-economist at heart, I find hierarchy to be a major hindrance to business efficiencies and more importantly innovation.

From my shortlist of companies I got the opportunity to visit these firms on site. It’s hard to really grasp the culture in a couple of one hour interviews and there was a lot of reading between the lines for me, and I’m sure my interviewers. But one of them stood out above the rest as the place for me. I soon had the great news that they felt the same way and I landed what is essentially my dream job in Wellington.

 WDC

So after being fortunate enough to have secured a job with my number one pick I had my first day of work; WDC. I don’t think anyone could ask for a better introduction to the working world as a developer. It was an opportunity to meet majority of the people I’d be working with, learn about NodeBots AND meet a whole lot more people from the tech industry.

 Nine-to-Five Alternatives

Having a set of skills that’s in demand opens up doors. I personally was torn between contributing to something I’m extremely passionate about (education development) and honing my skills professionally. I obviously settled on the latter, but the choice was the second hardest I’ve ever had to make in my life.

It’s probably worth listing a few of the alternatives that you can go on to after finishing something like EDA:

  1. Go work for an awesome tech company in Wellington
  2. Go work for an awesome tech company somewhere else in NZ
  3. Go work for an awesome tech company anywhere in the world
  4. Become a contractor
  5. Join a start-up
  6. Form a start-up
  7. Share your skills and become a teacher
  8. Become a superhero
  9. Go and teach DDA at Hogwarts

Ok, I think you get the idea, you’ve got options. AND what’s best is that our cohort is taking these up. Not all of us set out to join the ranks of the traditionally employed and I’ll be even more excited to see what everyone is doing in say, two years.

 GSK Persistence

Speaking of the Great Spotted Kiwis, Enspiral Dev Academy’s pioneering cohort, I’m really impressed with how we’re living on after the fact. We spent every waking moment with each other for nine weeks, and some really strong connections were formed over that time period. It would be acceptable and maybe even expected for these bonds to weaken with time, and for us to drift away from one another, sharing only memories of that nine weeks. BUT everyone has been pretty proactive in keeping in contact.

Meetups certainly help, but Joshua and the team have to be commended on organising an engaged learning community that we can all be a part of. On top of that, we catch up just to hang out, talk tech and even work on personal projects.

 Closing Thoughts

I think I’ve said it before, but Enspiral Dev Academy has actually changed my life. This time last year I was sitting in a large accounting firm going through the motions, uninspired by the work I was doing, questioning how much value I was offering society. Now, I’m sitting amongst a team of creative, passionate people, getting paid to do something I seriously would do for free.

This is my last post in this series as I’ve kind of completed my journey of becoming a developer. I hope anyone contemplating taking the leap has found it, at the very least, insightful. When I committed to writing a blog during my time at EDA it’s purpose was two-fold; both for a personal recount and to shed a little light on the new concept of coding bootcamps in New Zealand. I know it achieved the former and only you know if it did so the latter.

Please, if you have any questions above my time at EDA get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.

 
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