Hans is an Electronics and Communications Engineering (ECE) fresh graduate from the University of the East when he decided to enroll in Zuitt. He was one of the first few boot campers of Tuitt (now known as Zuitt) in 2018 who climbed up the career ladder in just 4 years’ time. Today, Hans works as a Senior Developer at Accenture.
In this article, let’s take a look at Hans’ story on how he built himself up as a developer as he shares his career mindset and goals in order for him to get to where he is now.
(Interviewed and written by Dana Diaz)
—— Introduce yourself to the Zuitt community
Hi, everyone! I’m Hans. I’ve been in the Software Engineering field for more than 4 years now. I am currently working with Accenture as a Senior Developer. I am mainly handling integrations and reports in some AWS Services. I graduated with an Electronics and Communications Engineering (ECE) degree from the University of the East – Manila last 2018 and I went directly to Zuitt after that.
Building Coding Skills from a Bootcamp after earning a University Degree
—— Why did you want to become a Developer?
There wasn’t really a clear path to Web Development but what I know for myself back then is that I was driven by quick results. In college, as an ECE graduate, the main task in my team was to understand how and what to do with the prototypes that we have. We did robotics, and one of my tasks is to build an antenna signal-linked software development at that time. I was amazed by building codes because with little coding you’ll get big outputs in a short amount of time. That’s when I thought to myself that I have to explore my passion even further. I saw Web Development (creating websites) and then I found Zuitt.
—— How did you find out about Zuitt?
I looked for coding Bootcamps in the Philippines. Initially, I was looking for a security coding Bootcamp but I didn’t find any because it wasn’t a trend yet. Getting in with web development was the way in. At that time, there were only 3 or 4 Bootcamps in the Philippines. I tried to weigh all available Bootcamps. Looking at Zuitt, even though they were only at 9 batches at that time, I saw that they have many good reviews and that their advertisements are well thought of. That’s why I took the leap and enrolled at Zuitt.
—— Tell us about your overall Zuitt Bootcamp experience
Being that I was alone applying for Tuitt (former name of Zuitt), I did not have any friends who I could interact with. Starting up, I was kind of timid and focused only on learning. But I was blessed that I was seated beside two of the most talented developers in my class. They have their own specializations. Seated on my left was Lady Ann Baron. She is like the front-end master from our batch. She was super good! On my right is Shirland Bernales. He was the back-end lord from our batch. The functions of his applications were so good! I was super blessed because I absorbed many things from them.
Back-end. This was pretty rough actually. We were building our website on Vanilla PHP and MySQL. I did not have any background in that language and database. My instructors and classmates helped me a lot. Even during their off hours, they respond to my questions. With that, I became accustomed to that type of development in the back end. I even got the time to research and added it to the website (archery e-commerce platform) that I was building.
Full Stack. We were asked to build something from everything that we have learned from the Bootcamp. At that time, social media platforms were the big thing. We almost had the same ideas but to elevate our website, we came up with a real-time chatbot. Even though we only used a database to create that. It was fun and hard to do at the same time. We have instructors who are always on top of us and teaching us every step of the way. We were very grateful to them because they helped us with our final website.
—— What is the best thing about Zuitt?
For me, Zuitt is not just about “teaching you how to code”. Zuitt also taught me that software engineering is a collaboration and not a one-man job. Your idea can be great but it can still be elevated by others. The instructors here aren’t just instructors. They can be your friend or even your brother. They will help you in any way that they can even after the Bootcamp – even 4 or 5 years later. They are still there to guide you along the way if need be so. Zuitt for me is the best thing that happened after I graduated from college.
The search for a Developer role as a newbie in the Tech industry
—— After the Bootcamp, what was your initial goal?
Basically, my expectation at that time was not really to get a high-paying salary but to get my foot in the door of companies. I was surprised because when I was applying for jobs, I didn’t have a hard time. In Zuitt, we created a platform to market and present ourselves. The portfolio plus the resume made it light and easy to place my foot in the door of the companies. I just attended the interviews and showed them my portfolio.
—— Any advice for newbies applying for a Developer position for the first time?
Explain what you do and explain how you did it. Share how you communicate with the team. Tell them about your learning habits. Be a sponge and say that you know how to interact with any other languages and that you can learn in just a nick of time. When I was starting, my expectation from companies was that I would learn from them. I will learn what the job entails and then the salary comes after.
—— How was your job hunting?
For my first job at the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), they are not looking for something specific. If you are new in software engineering, they do not look so much at what skills you have. They check your attitude and habits. I did not have a hard time because my portfolio speaks for itself. It basically explained what I can do for them.
They also asked me this: What are your study habits when it comes to development? I showed them my portfolio and designs and told them that even though I came from a Bootcamp background rather than an IT degree, it does not mean that I can’t give them the program that they need. Studying for 3 months in the Bootcamp can attest to what I can learn from that amount of time. I can learn a new language for a month or two weeks minimum and then I can build something up from scratch. Fast forward to my actual job, I was pushed into an angular environment and then I just learned that for a month and then I gave them the platform that they need.
—— Tell me about your career growth expectations at the beginning of your developer career.
My mindset at that time was to absorb all the knowledge that I could get from developers within my team. Even though we’re only a team of 3 developers, I needed to learn something from them because I am a fresh graduate from a Bootcamp. The more knowledge I get the better.
Opposite our office is our ops team. I learned from them too. I got my new goal because of them. I realized that I can learn more other than web development. I can also study cloud platforms. My eyes were opened to DevOps. I asked that team if I can shadow them so that I can learn from what they are doing. From then on, my goal is to become a DevOps Engineer.
—— Share about your transition from Junior Developer to Senior Developer.
After DOST, Covid came, so I needed another job to sustain myself – I needed a bigger salary. So, I jumped to Accenture.
With Accenture, I was given a Junior Developer role. The first project that I got was thrown into AWS and it was mainly back-end. I was tasked to do back-end codes. Those codes will be pushed into Lambda and uploaded to the management console of AWS. That was the trend that I have been seeing so I tagged that job as my goal. I started looking into more services on AWS. It’s not yet DevOps but I am going there!
I was then transferred to my next project which is React development but for integrations. I needed to integrate the back end into the front end. With that thing going, I thought of getting AWS certifications so I could give myself qualifications for the next project or next company. It’s for me to have proof that I know AWS. My team leads were very supportive of my role. They gave me an extra job to fulfill what I want to happen. They also gave me a newbie (an associate developer) to handle my team. They were looking at my leadership skills which I also learned from them. My team leads are the role models of my job.
When I moved into my next project, we didn’t have a team lead but I acted as one. They gave me two more developers for that project. I embedded what I learned from my past project into my new project. I shared my knowledge and taught my downlines about AWS platforms. I also did some admin tasks. I didn’t know that I was already in the promotion period phase at Accenture. My delivery lead asked my team leads if I am good for promotion. Thankfully, I got good feedback from them. Looking at a long list of managers and team leaders who are backing me on my job, I am so grateful. I got the senior role a month after moving from the project that I led.
—— Any training you think you will be needing as a Senior Developer?
For a Senior Developer, mainly there is a need for knowing how to handle your junior developers. You should also have to have the background and knowledge on what that is expected to learn. I needed to learn how to do admin tasks like documentation, reports, or minutes of the meeting for the managers. You also need to understand how to become a scrum master. You have to learn everything and then apply it to make your team cohesive and running efficiently. I think the things that I need to learn more about are: How to be a better mentor; How to be a better developer for my team; And then how to do admin tasks efficiently.
—— How are you in your current job now?
Currently good! I do not have any problem with being a team lead in my team. I am still getting the hang of doing admin tasks. My current job is still a learning curve if I want to be a manager. I should know how to assess and learn project management tasks. I am striving to be somewhere up there on the ranks. I just treat this (current Senior Developer role) as a challenge. And that some of these challenges are tailored to my next role.
Career Advice and Message for Aspiring Web Developers
—— What is your advice for those who are just starting as junior developers?
So for the current and future boot campers, there are three things that I want to pass on to you.
First, Be like a sponge. Everything that you will learn from here on now is the industry standard out there. Currently, Zuitt teaches the MERN stack. I can say that there are so many jobs out there that are using React. Don’t be scared out there and just be a sponge. Absorb everything! Not just the coding part, but also, the learning habits and the communication skills within your team.
Second, Don’t sell yourself short. Remember that what you will learn here (in Zuitt) is just laying the groundwork for you to get your foot in the door of companies. Don’t just tell the interviewer what you learned in Zuitt. Tell them how you were able to learn something in just a short span of time also. You may be doing a set of different languages in that company but your learning package (in Zuitt) will not fail you. Believe me! Show employers that you are easily teachable and very accommodating as a peer. Zuitt also teaches soft skills. Your attitude is more important than the technical skills that you have when you are starting this career.
Third, Always be confident. You finish the Bootcamp with Zuitt. You are probably way ahead of those who graduated with an IT degree. Zuitt is teaching you the industry standard. Be confident in what you have. Imposter syndrome is unavoidable. What you learned from Zuitt will take you to another level.
—— What is your message to those who want to level up in their careers?
My message for them will be to improve their soft skills. Your promotion is not really about being good with your coding, it is about being part of the team. Being good at what you do does not entail that the people around you see that you are good to have a bigger role. You have to get along with people for them to realize that you are part of their team. This is a reality with companies. Better take in mind that soft skills are as important as your knowledge of coding. Be kind to everyone. Absorb every knowledge that you are getting from your higher-ups and that will help you in a long way in the future.
—— Message for instructors and boot campers
To my Zuitt Instructors ~ Thank you for giving me this opportunity to learn in Zuitt with all of you. Thank you for giving me the guidance to be a developer. I learned soft skills from you guys. I was timid before and you gave me the inspiration to talk more to my peers. I am not shy anymore when I talk with my colleagues and when I am teaching my juniors. I also got that mindset from you guys! Thank you for the learnings that I got from all of you.
To my fellow boot campers, and my batchmates ~ I wish for everyone to grow more in our fields – whether in IT or not. I hope everyone is okay. Don’t worry about things. Keep on striving for more. We’re still young and we are able to elevate ourselves in our careers. I hope we keep striving for higher positions.
(End of interview)
If you have a similar experience to share with our boot campers, drop us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.