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Full Stack MERN Developer

Linda Kovacs

The pandemic hit Linda Kovacs’ career hard. When her freelancing job came to a halt, she decided to seek full-time employment in tech. However, she knew that to stay on top of her game, she needed to re-skill. So, she joined Practicum, which she described as the “best experience ever.”

Now, Linda works as a full-time software engineer at Accenture and aims to continue growing in her career. She shared, “Living my dream is a great motivator to keep getting better.”

Tell us about your background. What were you doing before attending the program?

Before joining Practicum, I was working with various corporations, and then, I was a freelance web developer and designer. I was using tools, such as LAMP stack, WordPress, Joomla, Adobe Creative Suite, and so on. The tech world is always evolving, and re-skilling every few years is kind of expected in order to apply the latest and more up-to-date security tools and features.

What motivated you to explore a new career or upskill in your existing field, and why did you decide to pick this program?

Over the years, I saw that re-skilling is a must to stay on top of the latest trends. I saw the increased demand for JavaScript and MERN Stack, and I knew that PHP would fade away. I wanted to enhance my skills so I could always be on top of my career. 

I started to learn on my own using the FreeCodeCamp resources. However, with Practicum’s bootcamp I got the chance to extend my knowledge because of their project’s code review, which gives you the valuable feedback that you don’t get while learning alone. Plus, you get to work with other colleagues that are going through the same journey as you.

What did you like about the program? Are there any highlights that stood out to you?

I liked the fact that I could recommend additional features to be added to the program. I had regular meetings where I shared my experience and what I thought should be improved or added. It was the best experience ever. The team is awesome and supports you in each step you take. I hit rock bottom many times, but there was always someone in the team to lift me and my teammates as well.

How did you fit the program into your schedule?

Even though I had previous experience, I still needed to dedicate several hours to learning and working on projects. At times, it was really hard, and I had to dedicate time to fixing my code after the code reviews.

Can you give us any examples of projects that you worked on during the program?

I worked on several responsive websites using Full Stack MERN (Front End + Back End), React, JSX, Node.js, Express.js, Database MongoDB, Mongoose, API, Server, Microsoft Azure Cloud, JavaScript/ES6, Webpack, Figma, HTM5, CSS3 (BEM methodology). 

[Check out Linda’s project portfolio here.]

Do you have any advice for someone considering this program?

The most difficult part is to start. As soon as you get started, you really enjoy the coding experience. We are often afraid we can’t make it and that coding is difficult, but just like any other skill, coding can be learned by everyone. All you need is to dedicate time. When things might not work the way you would like, you will find the solution, and that will be the best experience ever!

How did the program support you in finding a job?

The program provides a career path with live workshops where you get to learn from experts how to make or update your resume, LinkedIn profile, and cover letter. It also teaches you how to job hunt, provides tips and tools to use along the way, gives you all the necessary information regarding portfolios, and teaches you how to make your own website to display your work. 

Was the job search process different from what you expected?

I guess the job search is always challenging and never easy. No matter how much experience you have with interviewing or working in the field, still, it is not an easy task. You have to prove yourself over and over again.

How many companies did you interview at? How did you choose which one to work with?

I applied to hundreds of companies, and I had about 50 interviews. I chose the company I work for because of the benefits it offered. The first time I interviewed with them was in 2019, and I didn’t get the job. But when I interviewed with them again in 2020, I was hired.

How are the skills you gained from the course useful in your current career?

I think the skills I gained during the bootcamp helped me to get to where I am today, and without all that hard work, it would have been really difficult to advance in my career. I am working on a financial project for a 401K product, and I am on the design team. 

What do you think is different about your life now versus before the program? 

The pandemic brought a lot of uncertainty for many businesses. I faced the same challenge before joining my full-time position. At Accenture, there are a lot of opportunities for professional growth, and that is what I’m looking for. 

I’m working on my skills and looking forward to new adventures. But first, I have to deliver trust, value, and credibility and grow deep roots in the company. Then, I’ll just start to grow, like a tree. 

What do you find fulfilling about your current line of work (software engineering, UX design, etc.)?

I like the project I am working on and the team I am working with. It is so fulfilling to be surrounded by like-minded people who work together and help each other hit those deadlines. Living my dream is a great motivator to keep getting better. I worked hard and sacrificed a lot to get here, and now I have to put in even more effort to keep going. I’m looking to grow every day and become a better version of myself. This is just the beginning of a great story in my life!

What do you enjoy about working at your current company, are there any specific perks you enjoy (work hours, pay, time off, etc.)?

Besides my team and the project, I enjoy the perks it offers, such as the flexible remote working hours, my salary, the time off, the benefits provided, the many learning opportunities, the thorough feedback I am given, the potential promotions and recognitions, and so on.

Do you have any job search advice for someone considering a career in your field?

Give yourself more credit. You can find a job by having only bootcamp experience. Also, don’t only look for junior positions. Otherwise, you are cutting yourself off from many other opportunities. Just apply for everything that you have the skills for. Sometimes companies will hire you even if you don’t have all the required experience. You never know when the next opportunity will come your way!

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