Georgia Tech CodingGeoffrey Goodwin was flying high in 2018 after he built a voice-controlled drone with his team in the Georgia Tech Coding Boot Camp. That drone may be grounded these days, but his career has since taken off.

“It’s been a complete life changer, which I’m very grateful for,” said Geoffrey.

Ready to take his career to new heights, he left his job as a Senior Manager in Product Management at E*TRADE Financial in the last month of the boot camp to devote time and energy to his job search. “Finding a new job was basically my full-time job,” he said. “But like many things in life, the plans versus actuality were a bit farther apart from one another than I anticipated.”

The job search was on

Geoffrey spent a lot of time with recruiters to no end. He was looking for a job that would allow him to put the skills he learned in JavaScript and React to work, but felt the recruiters were just looking to add him to their pool of candidates.

Then, as luck would have it, a conversation with one of his boot camp project mates, Thomas Yeager, opened a door. His teammate’s company was expanding, and he was able to put in a good word for Geoffrey. Before he knew it, Geoffrey was brought in for an interview with the company’s senior engineers. And thanks to the guidance from the boot camp’s career services, Geoffrey was ready to rock the interview.

The position sounded promising. Geoffrey would be a full-time, full-stack developer, putting all the skills he learned in the boot camp to work. He liked what he heard, and the engineers liked what Geoffrey could bring to the table. A few days later, they called with an offer—one that he felt was below what the market supported.

“I was a stranger to negotiating or counter offers,” Geoffrey said. “They wouldn’t budge on their offer, so I respectfully declined.” Evidently, not only did Geoff know his own worth, but the company knew it as well. The hiring manager came back with a new offer, and he was hired.

Unfortunately, he soon found that the job wasn’t quite what he’d hoped. Rather than exercising his skills as a full-stack developer, his new role was more of a data scientist focused on analytics dashboards and writing queries. He wasn’t using what he learned from the boot camp—the skills he’d worked so hard to hone. In hindsight, Geoffrey said he should’ve heeded the warning signs and trusted his instincts.

“The interview process is every bit as much for you, the candidate, to interview the company as it is for the company to interview you,” he said.

A new opportunity arises

Geoffrey continued along in his job, but he wasn’t satisfied. Then, five weeks in, he hit another stroke of luck. His boot camp TA, Leaveil Armstrong, called to discuss a career opportunity at The Home Depot. His team at Home Depot was growing, and he immediately thought of Geoffrey.

It was almost as if there were some form of cosmic career karma in play. Earlier last year, Geoffrey’s sister, Valarie Regas (also a boot camp grad and TA), had been approached by recruiters at The Home Depot for a software developer role. When she decided instead to continue on her path toward Development Operations, she recommended Leaveil and he landed the position. So when Leaveil thought of Geoffrey for this new job, it was fate. “It was a real pay-it-forward moment. It found its way back to me,” he said, full of gratitude for the opportunity.

Geoffrey was brought in for an interview, and this time he knew exactly what to ask and what he needed to hear. The team talked about their methodologies and even gave him a coding challenge.

“That was a good sign,” he said. “The answers made me feel more prepared for what I was walking into and it was clear I’d actually be coding this time.”

Before he even made it home from the interview, the company contacted Geoffrey to say they wanted him. Ready for this new opportunity, he jumped into a contract-to-hire position at The Home Depot. Recently promoted to a full-time associate role, he’s thankful he learned the value of maintaining the relationships he formed during the boot camp, and he’s excited to be putting his new skills to work.

”I was actually one of the more experienced team members with respect to React,” he said somewhat surprised. “So, even though I was coming on as a junior developer, I could be an authority on it because of what I learned in the boot camp.”

Looking back on the road to his new career, Geoffrey offers a bit of advice to others on a similar journey.

“If you’re serious about putting the time and effort that it takes to be successful in the class, then hopefully you’re naturally the type of person to find the job and be successful when you land it,” he said. “Also, trust your gut, know your worth, and don’t be afraid to step up or walk away.”

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