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Previously a freelance Digital Marketer, Sandra was working on various client projects when she first got the itch to become a developer. Her interest in the field had been sparked over four years earlier, when she was working for a technology company, but she wasn’t able to explore that further — she didn’t have the skills or education…that is until she discovered our Full-Time Web Development Program in Vancouver.
Here’s what she had to say about her experience in the program, and what she’s up to now working at one of our hiring partners: Slack.
BrainStation: What were you doing before the program?
Sandra: I was doing freelance work as a digital marketer and developing my passion project, an ethical fashion brand.
What led you to enroll in the Web Development Full-time Program at BrainStation?
I had an interest in coding ever since I landed my first job within the tech industry four years ago. The more I got exposed to it the more my curiosity and appreciation grew. In 2017 I has reached a point where I was feeling stuck in my career and wanted new direction. I finally decided to challenge myself and take the plunge into web development. After conducting some research and weighing my options I chose to go with BrainStation. Their curriculum, class structure and company culture clearly had their students’ best interests at heart. I was impressed with their knowledge of the tech landscape at both a local and global level. They have fostered strong ties within the industry over the years and had an excellent reputation.
What were your feelings going into it on day one?
I was nervous because I knew it was going to be challenging but more than that I was excited with anticipation. I knew it would be a memorable experience.
Did you have any prior experience with the content?
What was your experience like in class?
From day one I knew I had made the right move by choosing BrainStation. The course was well structured and organized. Jonathan was experienced, articulate and visibly invested in our learning process. Our TAs were supportive and knowledgeable, always available and ready to help. There was a good repertoire between the educator and the TAs, which resulted in a comfortable and trusting learning environment. While the content itself was challenging and the pace was fast, we were provided with a variety of useful resources and support. The material we covered was relevant to the contemporary industry needs.
How has completing this full-time program helped you find work in Vancouver’s growing tech scene?
This course gave me the knowledge and tools needed to begin a new and exciting career. While you can never know it all within development, having strong foundations are the key to define which path you will take. Building on our foundations while being constantly challenged was a key takeaway from this course. You will never be able to fulfil all requirements of a job posting but creating an identity as a developer, working on your strengths and exploring new technologies will catch any employer’s attention. In addition, the camaraderie that was formed in the course went beyond the 10 weeks. I still keep close contact with my classmates and collaborate in projects and continue to learn together. Our shared experiences and interest in coding keep us motivated and on track to reach our goals. I completed this course feeling prepared to continue learning and keep building on what I had already learned.
Would you recommend this program to others?
I would 100% recommend this program to others with the disclosure that you have to be motivated and ready to work hard. You will get out of the course only as much as you put in. I don’t feel like not having a computer science degree (or something similar) has held me back in any way, at the end of the day it’s all about experience and a program like this gives you the core theory, but most importantly the practical skills to build a solid portfolio of projects.
Is there anything else you’d like to add about the experience?
While the material was excellent and the education above and beyond I’d like to comment on the community aspect of this experience as well. I believe that the supportive staff at BrainStation and my amazing classmates where what truly made this course a memorable experience. During my time at BrainStation, and even now as an alumnae, I feel I’ve created bonds and fostered relationships that will last a lifetime. And that is the biggest takeaway.
And finally, how was the job search after graduating?
The job search, although tedious and at times discouraging, was another good learning experience. It showed me what I still need to work on and revealed how much I have already learned. Employers definitely have hesitations about junior developers, since they’re aware we need mentorship and support — sometimes those resources are just not available. But the opportunities are out there, it’s just a matter of persevering and having patience. Overall, the feedback I’ve gotten from companies has been positive and helped understand what areas I need to focus on.
BrainStation offered a great deal of career and moral support throughout the process and kept me accountable, making sure I didn’t lose momentum or motivation. I’m thrilled to say that I am now in the process of accepting an offer from Slack, something that I would have never thought possible — it’s truly a dream come true. This opportunity is proof that BrainStation was the right career move. I’m excited to see where it goes!