Needing the Right Mindset : Rico’s Advice for Tech Career Shifters

Rico is a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in Economics. He worked as a Management Trainee for Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines for nearly 2 years. However, due to an emergency, he needed to resign to help out his family before he was able to complete his training. During this time, he ended up learning a little bit of coding to help out his family’s business. This was when Rico discovered his interest in coding and started wanting to learn more aside from basic Javascript and Google Sheets. Since then, he has become a Full Stack Developer after his training in Zuitt Coding Bootcamp. 

In this article, through his perseverance and relentless mindset, we’ll be discussing how Rico was able to spread his wings as a Career Shifter and enter the tech world with little experience in coding under his belt. 

—— Introduce yourself to the Zuitt Community.

Rico Dela Rosa: Hi everyone! I’m Rico and I’m a Full Stack Web Developer. I graduated with a degree in Economics from Ateneo de Manila University in Katipunan. Before I became a web developer, I actually worked in management for 5 years. I decided to shift into the tech industry as a web developer mostly because I got fascinated by building systems.

Career Shifting As a Possibility

—— Where did you learn about Zuitt? 

I actually met a friend who graduated with a Degree in Agriculture, who took the bootcamp, and is now working as Full-Stack Web Developer. It was a lightbulb moment. It made me think, ‘Hey, this is actually possible!’. He made a career out of it. I was about a year into learning web development, and he told me that he took the bootcamp and became a web developer, and I kind of wanted that too. 

I continued to do online learning and started googling about Zuitt. Eventually, I registered and got into the orientation and was given the choice to enroll, so I enrolled in the next batch right at that moment. 

One of the reasons why I chose Zuitt is because that friend of mine got hired as a web developer after training in Zuitt, and to me, that’s already like social proof. That’s when I decided to do Zuitt’s part-time class. 

—— What was your goal in joining the Bootcamp? 

Actually, the funny thing is, I actually found a job as a Junior Web Developer two weeks into the bootcamp. This was because my goal was after the bootcamp, within a year, I wanted to close the pay gap. I wanted to get the same salary as I was getting during my previous career. So I was panicking. I started around October and the graduation was in February the next year. I was looking for tech jobs that pay better because I now graduated from the bootcamp. I got to build a lot of cool things during that time. 

Making Career Shifting into a Numbers Game

—— As a career shifter, how was your job-hunting experience? 

It took me a month before I was able to find a couple of jobs that would accept me. My experience is when applying as a career shifter, they always tell me, “you don’t have a tech job in your CV”. I’ve been working in the Junior Developer position for around 3-4 months, then they would say, “Okay, you have 3-4 months in your experience, but we are looking for someone you have 1-2 years experience. Somebody with a Computer Science degree or a Computer Engineering degree.” 

For me, it wasn’t that it was intimidating, it was that I needed to be in the right mindset to be able to apply to a lot of jobs. One thing I realized is that being a tech career shifter means you’re starting from scratch. And you’re competing with other people who have already been working as web developers. Number 2, you’re competing with other people who have computer science or engineering degrees.

Applying for a job was challenging for sure, but the key was to think of the application process as a numbers game. Personally, my metric is, the conversion rate is 1%, if you apply to 100 jobs you will only get 1 offer. That’s what I expect. You should assume you’re gonna be rejected unless they give you that job offer. It really hurts when you think you’ve got the job. It’s emotionally taxing to be rejected. That was difficult, but it’s really like that. Going into it, I knew that even if you face rejection, it’ll still hurt, but I needed to go back to the mindset that “Okay. The conversion is 1%, I need to send out 100 applications. I’ll be rejected 99 times, but I’ll get 1 job offer.” That’s for me. That’s what I told myself because it really is emotionally taxing to get rejected but that the more you do it the easier it becomes. 

That this is just part of the process of applying. Career shifting isn’t easy, it’s a challenge but it’s something you want to do and I feel like Zuitt has prepared me for technical interviews, portfolios, etc. 

I found two part time jobs as well in Again, just send out applications, send messages, make them know that you’re good at the job. That’s what you have to do, you have to sell yourself,you have to tell them you’re the best web developer in the world, and you have to believe it and be able to deliver. 

Failing Forward is an Opportunity to Grow

—— Tell us your advice for Career Shifters 

The best advice: I would summarize in 6 letters. It’s ABC-DEF. ABC means, Always Be Confident. You always have to be confident in whatever you do, if you’ve done the work – you have the right to be confident. Everybody needs to know that you can do what you were able to do. You have to be able to tell them “Hey I can do it, I’ll probably be able to make mistakes, but I can do it”. You’ll lose a lot of opportunities just by not being confident. If you’re not able to rise to the occasion, grab the opportunity and tell yourself, “Hey I can do this”, then you’ll lose a lot of opportunities for growth. ABC, again, Always Be Curious. Always ask yourself because you’re a career shifter, you’re learning so many things at a high rate, so you need to be able to ask yourself ‘“What does this do? What if I do this? Will I break it?”.  

You have to be able to learn really fast,to learn to experiment, and to think outside of the box sometimes. You have to understand what you don’t know. You have to know that you don’t know this and figure it out to have a deeper understanding of it. As a career shifter, that is one of your greatest assets, being curious and asking many questions. Don’t be afraid to be the stupidest person in the room because that’s actually an opportunity for you to grow. 

That’s ABC, now DEF is Do Expect Failure. As I said, if you write code, 80% of the time (for me) your code will not work. Be prepared to fix it. Just don’t make super bad mistakes that cost a lot of money. Set up an environment where it costs the company or yourself zero dollars. If you’re learning, you’re probably in a sandbox environment where you can fail, and that’s okay. They have a saying, “Failing Forward ”. Failure is a way of learning, failure is a path to learning. if you fail forward, you make a lot of mistakes, but you will learn a lot. 

That’s my message for Zuitt bootcampers and career shifters in general. Always be curious or always be confident and do expect failure. 

(End of interview)

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