Ask an Instructor: Jumpstart Your Tech Career (Time Management Edition)

Wow, congrats on finishing all those paths!

As far as the pro certificates go, the advantage is that they demonstrate that beyond just “completing content” (which doesn’t necessarily demonstrate that you know your stuff), you have also passed exams that measure how well you actually know the content you completed. The exams can also help you pinpoint where you might need to brush up on concepts before interviews!

That said, the most valuable way to demonstrate that you really know what you are doing is having a strong portfolio.

Best of luck!

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Hi, thanks for your question! Completing a coding camp is a great way to get on the path to a career in tech. Many of Codecademy’s own software engineers have learned to code through an online or in-person bootcamp. Several folks on our team, including myself, have gotten their start with Codecademy. So I think employers will definitely consider an engineer who has taken a non-traditional education route to learn programming.

That being said, I think that there are several other steps you’ll want to take to make yourself stand out to a prospective employer. In particular, building a portfolio is a great way to continue developing your skills while also showcasing your abilities. Contributing to open source projects is also a great way to get experience in a live production environment. Other technical skills that will help you shine are experience with GitHub and Test Driven Development, two key, but often overlooked, skills that developers use everyday.

Soft skills are incredibly important too, so it’s great you’re thinking about this. Written and verbal communication are key skills; being able to express technical implementations and blockers to engineers and laypeople will be an invaluable asset. Other skills to hone are teamwork, creative problem solving, adaptability, and time management.

In terms of networking opportunities, there are a lot of communities both virtual and in-person. Codecademy forums and our Discord server are great ways to stay in touch with other developers. We also have Codecademy Chapters that host virtual and in-person meetings in cities across the globe. I’d also look up local Meetup events. There are tons of communities there, and on other platforms, that host opportunities to connect with other tech companies and other developers.

I hope this helps! Good luck!

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Does Codecademy have some stats regarding how many post-60s are hired?

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Hey, I’m currently on the path to become a full stack developer and I would love to know if there’s any certificates I could add to my resume to make it desirable

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Are there any methods (pomodoro for instance) that the employees at Codecademy use to keep from getting burnt out, depressed, etc.

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Hi there! I’m a mid-career switcher as well. I’m currently working on the Data Scientist: Data Analytics pathway. My educational background is in the life sciences and I too am wondering how a certificate will stand up to another job candidate with a CS degree even if I have a great portfolio. I know there are Data Science Masters programs, but I already have an M.S. and I really didn’t want to take on more student loans. What are your thoughts on those Masters programs? Are they a must for someone like me with no previous background or experience?

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Hi! I completely understand that creating a good portfolio is probably the only answer you ever get to this question, so I’ll focus on other aspects. That said, I will note that for better or for worse, a strong portfolio is a very attractive trait for a candidate to have.

You’re right though; it’s currently a tough market for everyone. The upside for you is that it means recruiters are looking for candidates with the strongest skills and not necessarily the most impressive degree. If you’re struggling to break into the full-time job market as a career switcher, I would try starting with part-time work if you can get some so you can beef up your resume with relevant work. List any and all skills, frameworks, and technologies that you’re even tangentially familiar with on your resume to help get you to that first stage of actually talking with the recruiter.

Once you make it past the first round, start taking lots and lots and lots of interview and whiteboarding prep and learn how to break down and present problems in real-time.

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This might be a dumb question but…
Let’s say I do a amount of projects, ‘build a portfolio,’ that I want to showcase in an interview… how do I show that to employers or during an interview?

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I am 63, and I am paranoid that I’m hitting problems with the mandatory positive-discrimination employment forms, e.g. “What is your age/sexual preference/religion” type questions?
Some of them state “Prefer not to answer”, while many of them don’t have that option. I know of other candidates who have been excluded because of their age on these forms (or at interview), which I know isn’t supposed to happen but, unfortunately, does.
I don’t think answering “Prefer not to answer” to every question unrelated to IT employment works.
I would appreciate any suggestions on how to deal with this discrimination under the guise of inclusiveness?
Thank you

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That helps a lot! thank you for your response :smiley:

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@adamorse - thank you for your thoughts.

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No such questions!

It depends a little on the type of project – for example, I’d showcase a data science project a little differently from a sample web design project.

Are you looking at a particular industry/job? If not, I can give more general advice!

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Would you recommend some strong portfolios to get a clearer view of what is required?

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Hello,

As far as I know we do not.

What I will say (and I’ll loop in @mikeyj007 as well) is that you don’t know what different companies are hiring for when you apply. While you yourself may view your age as a challenge, a hiring manager may be excited to have someone with a substantial work background that they can bring to the team.

Additionally, I’d say many people in programming in general have a path of building out a portfolio, taking freelance work to gain experience, and working their way to a full-time position. I would also recommend looking at the LinkedIn pages of large organizations, and finding people in similar age-bands to you in positions that you want. You could speak with them about their own journeys, which could give you insights into where you could best direct your energies, as well as raise your confidence.

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Hello! While most companies are slowly relaxing the college degree requirement, having an M.S. will definitely give you a leg up on other candidates. An M.S. is not a must especially if you can somehow prove that you have the equivalent education and skills, but can definitely help you.

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I’m career switching from costumes in film/TV, I just recently started learning Python while I figure out which path I want to take. I’m leaning towards more software or web development than data analytics.

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All of those are great choices and can lead to rewarding careers.

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Hello, I’m currently completing the Data Science with ML specialization career path. I’ve been wanting to start contributing to open-source projects in Data Science as a student but I don’t know where to start. Any advice on where I can find them or how I can start? Thank you.

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I’m more in the data field, ironically! But I’d say that for both software design and web dev, the advantage is that you can build a fully functional product, whether that is a web app or general software. My recommendation is to always create a GitHub repo for your portfolio. Then you can include both your code as well as links to the live webiste/app/etc. It is also always a good idea to include documentation to guide interviewers, making it clear:

  • what skills the project demonstrates
  • what your process was in development
  • what’s cool about your specific project

Does that help?

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yes totally!!! thank you very much :smile:

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