Pam Kelly had years of technological experience under her belt — but still, she had trouble proving her technical knowledge during the job search. After working in a role as project manager, software trainer and technical writer for seven years at a software company, Pam was unfortunately laid off in August 2019.
Despite possessing over a decade’s worth of experience in information technology — not to mention a Master’s in Information Systems and a law degree — she still had difficulty landing a job. After making it to a final round interview at a prominent sales software company, the hiring manager indicated that her interviews went well, but they wanted someone with more technical expertise.
“I had a lot of experience working with developers and platform architects, so I knew I was enough for the role and had plenty of writing experience,” said Pam, “but you can’t really prove that by just saying you can do it.”
When that happened, Pam knew she had to bolster her credentials on paper. She’d always wanted to join a coding boot camp and finally had the time to enroll while she continued her job search. Berkeley Coding Boot Camp’s part-time, online course was the perfect match.
Growing her technical toolkit
Pam started the boot camp in November 2019, meeting online three days a week for class. Because the course was already online, little changed when the COVID-19 outbreak hit the U.S. The pandemic did, however, inspire one of her class projects. Pam and her teammates designed a virtual learning environment where students could embark on a digital scavenger hunt.
In another project, Pam and her group project team had an opportunity to brush up on Node JS, jQuery, Handlebars, MySQL, Sequelize, Materialize, Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) while designing an app called Coffee Express. The app allows users to make custom coffee orders and queue up songs for employees to play while they wait for their orders.
These projects were both creative and highly technical, providing Pam and her classmates an opportunity to whip up innovative solutions to real-life problems. It was an opportunity Pam found invaluable. “I’m a problem-solver, so I love creating something from scratch that’s useful to others,” she said.
In addition to honing a range of coding skills, Pam was able to put her project management background to good use by managing project timelines and coordinating the progress of her team members. She noticed that others were able to play to their strengths, too, creating fantastic UX/UI designs.
“It was fun to collaborate with others to come up with something new and get to work with others with different strengths,” said Pam.
Persevering amidst a pandemic
For boot camp students, the job search can be tough in general, but is especially so during an unprecedented pandemic. Irene from Berkeley Boot Camps’ career services helped Pam navigate the process. “There was constant support,” she said. “I was meeting with Irene regularly. Her checking in and giving advice were extremely helpful.”
Back in February, Pam was nearing the offer stage for a job at a tech company before the position was put on hold due to the outbreak. Despite the challenging circumstances, Pam was able to make the most of her time attending the boot camp and upskilling outside of class. Eventually, she found a position that furthered her career goals as a technical writer.
“What the boot camp gave me, especially during my job search, was credibility,” said Pam. “I don’t have to prove that I’m technical enough for what I’m doing. There’s no question about that anymore.”
Arriving at a dream destination
The third time was the charm in Pam’s job search. One of her classmates and group project teammates at the boot camp worked at a leading tech company and offered to be a reference should she find a position of interest. Although Pam didn’t have luck the first two times that she applied for technical writing positions at the tech company in March and April, Pam was informed about another role that opened up in May. After an extensive interview process, Pam was offered and accepted a position as a technical writer at the company, beginning her new role on July 27.
Curious to see what doors boot camp can open up for you? Explore the Berkeley Boot Camps offered in Coding, Data Analytics, UX/UI, Cybersecurity, Digital Marketing, FinTech, and Tech Project Management.