After a string of unrelated jobs—office manager, bank teller, associate banker, sales manager—Elena Nurullina felt burnt out from working jobs she didn’t enjoy. When the pandemic hit in 2020, she decided to soul-search. She discovered Springboard on Career Karma and read a review from a fellow graduate who completed the bootcamp while raising two young children, with another baby on the way. Pregnant with her second child at the time, Elena was convinced that Springboard offered the flexibility and accountability she needed.
She studied nights and early mornings when her kids were sleeping. After graduating from Springboard’s Software Engineering Bootcamp, she landed a junior web developer role at G/O Media, a publishing company that owns several major digital brands, including Gizmodo, Quartz, and The Onion.
I compared different bootcamps, but I chose Springboard because I was pregnant at the time and I needed a flexible course. Some bootcamps offer day classes, which doesn’t work if you have kids or a day job. I studied at night when my kids were sleeping.
It was rough. I had to take a few breaks, so it took me a year and a half to finish the course. But I finally finished the bootcamp and now work as a junior developer.
I would wake up at 5 a.m. while my kids were still asleep. My brain works best in the mornings. I would work on my exercises and go through the curriculum. But my kids’ sleep schedule wasn’t always consistent, so sometimes I had to reschedule my mentor calls. Any time my kids went to sleep, I would go back to my studies.
Eventually, I could send my older child to daycare, so I dedicated 40 hours a week to studying.
Request additional mentor calls if needed and chat with other students on Slack if you have a problem. Sometimes you run into a bug in your code, and it can take hours or days to resolve it yourself. Also, I recommend studying in the morning because at night your brain is tired.
It was tough. Maybe because I was pregnant and had brain fog. I have a degree in economics, and I love math. Even then, it was really hard. Some days I would cry. But I was always sure that one day I would finish the course as long as I did my best.
I would revisit specific units and rewatch lectures to make sure I understood the material. I didn’t want to have to resubmit any assignments, I wanted to get everything right the first time.
Before Springboard, I took some free prep courses from other bootcamps, but even those seemed to require you to have some experience with coding. With Springboard, everything was taught step by step at a beginner level. You learn what programming languages are and how to make minor manipulations to your code. Then you learn object-oriented programming languages like Python with Flask.
When I created my first capstone project, I was able to make API requests and see my website live and fully functional. That’s when I knew I was on the right path and getting closer to my new job.
My first capstone project was a recipe generator. You can input terms like ‘lactose-free’ into the search bar or specify what items you have in your fridge and see recipes based on that. You could also search for recipes based on cuisine, like Japanese, Korean, or Jewish food. Just for fun, I added some jokes and suggested exercises to do before or after eating.
The company owns 11 websites that require maintenance and bug fixes every day. Right now, I’m working on quality assurance and reviewing code written by other developers. Everything is done using JIRA, which is connected to GitHub. My role is hybrid; I go to the office 3-4 days a week.
I had no one to help me with the kids, and I don’t have a lot of friends who understand coding, so I did everything by myself. Nine months into the program, my mom was finally able to visit and help me take care of the kids, so I was able to work faster.
The only thing is, if you take breaks during the Springboard program, it’s hard to catch up. Coding is like learning a new language. If you don’t use it, you forget the words. Even if you have kids or a part-time job, if you spend four hours a day studying, you can do it.
I found that the best time to apply for jobs is before 12 p.m., especially if you’re using LinkedIn’s ‘Easy Apply’ button. Most jobs are posted in the morning, so if you apply before noon, your application will be at the top. That’s how I got a lot of interviews.
During the interview, ask questions. The employer will see that you’re interested in the job and that you researched the company beforehand. Some interviews are very hard, even for junior positions. They might ask questions more suited to senior positions, so be prepared.