ARTICLE

How William turned his passion for books into a full-time frontend gig

William moved to Sweden from Australia just 2 years ago. With a background in literature and a big passion for books, he had no connection to coding - until a friend stopped by his place in Stockholm to attend the Technigo boot camp. Hearing her thoughts made him curious about coding and now, only months later, he works as a frontend developer at a big Swedish book retailer — combining his passion for reading with his new skills, something his employer certainly appreciated from the get-go.

From Australia to Sweden

William met his Swedish girlfriend in Australia and moved to Stockholm 2 years ago via the Sambovisa, a visa that allows you to stay if you live with a Swedish partner He enjoyed the change, especially learning the language. “I’d always wanted to learn a second language but it took moving to another country to motivate myself”, he says. It helps that Stockholm is a great place to live.

Finding out about the boot camp

“A friend of my girlfriend came to Stockholm to stay with us because she attended the orientation day. I didn’t have an idea of the concept of boot camps back then but when she described it, I got really interested”, William explains. He had always found writing code quite exotic, but it was eye-opening to meet someone his age without prior coding experience learning it all in a 6 months course - with the potential to change her entire career.

“She was here for two days and everything she described that they had done during that time really interested me.”

William, who originally studied literature and history, studied those subjects because he was simply interested in reading and history without a set idea of what he wanted to work with later in life. His family owns a farm in Australia where he worked on the side. After he moved to Sweden, he attended university to do a masters in literature. “I also worked in a book shop. Essentially, everything I’d done before the boot camp was completely unrelated to coding. I was a blank slate”, he says.

Curious about coding from the start

“My image of coding was so romantic. But I didn't know much about it. The idea that I could go from not knowing anything to being good enough to work in the field was really attractive and made me curious”, William explains. The boot camp format also appealed to him, because he didn’t have to go back to university again for several years. The fact that the boot camp was so fast-paced, intense, and hands-on was a plus as well.

“I’d been interested in computing at a younger age...it felt a bit like picking up a lost thread.”

Working as a frontend developer right after the boot camp

William now works at a large Swedish book e-commerce store. It combines his interest in books with his interest in coding. “Typically, the people who study coding are not so interested in reading. So for the company, it was nice to find someone that had coding knowledge but also an interest in their product”, William explains. It meant that he was very enthusiastic about what they were doing. He was motivated and had an easy time taking the side of the customers.

The person who hired William also liked that he had moved from a foreign country and had completely shifted his career. “It showed that I was willing to go outside of my comfort zone and challenge myself. Many companies value that.”

William hadn’t applied for many jobs. He found the ad for his current job through Technigo. Technigo provides help with coaching students to land their first gig after the boot camp. William appreciated that. “But my advice is to send your profile to more companies. You really need to be proactive if you want to find a job. In my case, I finished the course in the middle of the summer so there weren’t that many open positions. Reaching out earlier can help improve your chances of getting employed right after the boot camp.”

After his initial conversations with the company, he was sent a mock project to show his skills. He was asked to plan out how he would design an app and pitch it. He was asked to elaborate on how the different parts of the app would interact and communicate with each other. “I was a little surprised about this. I had expected the interview to be more practical, specific to a coding problem. I ended up talking more about planning out an idea. I can recommend reading up on the different types of potential interview questions and skill tests because they may be more high-concept than you expect.”

A helpful first step in a new country

The recruiter William spoke with was already aware of the boot camp. That helped him get a foot in the door. Ever since attending Technigo, he’s been contacted by people on Linkedin who are aware of what Technigo does. “There definitely is name recognition that may have helped me”, he states.

William says that it was nice for him as a new expat in Sweden to meet people through the boot camp. The boot camp was structured into small groups for the entire duration of the course. Groups met twice a week but also spoke privately. For William, a great opportunity to meet people. Technigo also deliberately tried to match people who they thought would get along, including their location. “This really helped the groups bond and was a big plus for me as someone who had just moved here looking to get to know people.”