3 Students Who Completed Boot Camp and Landed New Roles Amidst COVID-19

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We’ve all seen it, heard it, read it, and repeated it: 2020 has marked the worst job market since the Great Depression. But that doesn’t mean recruitment everywhere is paused. There are still numerous companies hiring, and plenty of roles that need filling. It’s just a matter of finding the right opportunity at the right time. 

Fernando Cisneros, George Oddoye, and Faissal Islambouli are three former boot camp students who completed their respective Trilogy-powered programs just as the COVID-19 crisis and mandated stay-at-home orders came to a head — and who still landed their dream roles shortly after. Here are their top takeaways from the experience. 

1. Fernando Cisneros: Don’t give up on yourself

When Fernando Cisneros first moved from Mexico to the U.S., he struggled to put his business administration degree and years of experience co-owning a dental practice to good use. He enrolled in The Digital Marketing Boot Camp at Texas McCombs to level up his skill set and seek out more career opportunities. 

At first, Fernando’s plan seemed to be on track. He went through two rounds of interviews for a digital marketing analyst position at Practice Cafe — a marketing agency that, fittingly for Fernando, worked with dental practices all over the country. He received an offer, and accepted it. 

Immediately afterward, the COVID-19 crisis hit. “A week before my start date, they told me they’d need to put my offer on an indefinite hold,” Fernando recalled. 

For many people, this might have been enough to lose motivation. But Fernando moved the opportunity to the back burner and got back to work. He kept updating his resume, applying to jobs, and taking interviews. Weeks later, he received a call. 

“Practice Cafe recently got back in touch with me,” said Fernando. “I started last Monday. […] It’s been emotional for me to finally see how the boot camp paid off. Even though I doubted myself at times, it’s truly helped me achieve my goals.”

2. George Oddoye: Commit time to the things you can control

George Oddoye, formerly a STEM tutor, enrolled in Georgia Tech Data Science and Analytics Boot Camp to get back to the other side of the classroom and transfer his newly sharpened skills to the technology industry. 

George dedicated himself completely to finding a new role. Four months into the program, he built a comprehensive online portfolio, leveraging every skill he learned in class. When it came to actual job applications, he was just as rigorous. 

“My career director coached me through the interview process,” said George. “This made me comfortable with my opener and self-assured in my story. The boot camp made my resume competitive and helped me stand out.” 

After meticulously building his career materials and mastering his interviewing tactics, George successfully advanced through the recruiting process and received not one but two job offers in one week. His biggest takeaway? Focus on the things you can control — not the things you can’t.

“Build an online portfolio. Apply to roles early, before the boot camp is done. And don’t feel defeated,” he said. 

3. Faissal Islambouli: Leverage support systems to succeed

For Faissal Islambouli, UofT SCS Cybersecurity Boot Camp provided a guiding light. He knew he wanted a career in cybersecurity, but he wasn’t sure about the specifics. The support offered through the boot camp changed that.

“The people and support systems were just as important as the actual material,” Faissal said. “That was the biggest draw for me. I could learn topics on my own time if I wanted, but I wouldn’t know the right questions to ask or the right direction to take. The boot camp offered that guidance.” 

This became an even more integral factor when Faissal started his job search. He worked consistently with his career director, Nathalie Semaan, throughout the entire search process, which extended several months after the boot camp officially ended while he completed additional certifications to further boost his credentials. Natalie helped him structure the search, provided contacts and resources, and offered constructive advice until the very end. “She never faltered,” said Faissal. “The guidance was amazing.”

Similar to Fernando, Faissal landed his new role — as a Junior Security Analyst at Pivotree — right at the start of stay-at-home orders. “My job has been a blast,” he said. “I’ve still never met my co-workers in person due to COVID-19, but it’s been such a smooth transition to remote work. I feel lucky to have gotten this role — the timing was perfect.”

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