Now an iOS Developer at Rave inc. Marc Maguire previously worked as an Account Manager in the Marketing industry for six years. After taking a year off to travel the world with his wife, he decided to enroll in the Lighthouse Labs’ iOS Development Bootcamp to pursue his passion in application development. He recently spoke with us from his home in Waterloo, Ontario to discuss the job seeking process after Bootcamp and how it differed from his previous experience.
How did you find the Career Services at Lighthouse Labs?
The Career Services at Lighthouse Labs was a big part of my job search. We received a lot of preparation for everything from interviewing to getting connected with interested employers. Because we had such a big mix of backgrounds in my Bootcamp, we went through it all quite thoroughly. Some advice was definitely a lot more valuable to me than others. The most helpful part for me was Career Services helping me get a foot in the door and connecting me to potential employers. As an untested Software Developer, it was great to be connected to people willing to take a chance on you. I had told the Career Services team from the beginning that I wanted to move to Waterloo after the Bootcamp and they were very accommodating from day one to help me do that.
How did you prepare for the job search?
To be honest, the technical parts of the interviews were pretty intimidating. With a normal interview, sometimes you just really click on a culture basis and you can tell how well you did. With a technical interview there is a lot more emphasis on your practical ability. We did one technical interview during the Bootcamp but I still felt like I wasn’t completely prepared. Having to solve a development problem on the spot without my development environment was a pretty crazy experience. Realizing that most people don’t actually get the right answer and that most interviewers are looking for your logic in solving the problem was really helpful. I spent a lot of time practicing for the technical interview and I feel like that was the best preparation I did for the job search. In terms of iOS theory and culture, I actually felt unbelievably prepared for it. I was told that I was the only Junior Developer who answered all the theory questions correctly during my interview, which was very surprising considering I work with a lot of students from the University of Waterloo.
What was the most difficult thing in your job search?
Definitely the technical interviews. I was lucky enough that one of the Lighthouse Labs staff connected me with someone in Waterloo that helped me prepare for the technical interviews. He pointed me in the right direction of things to practice. One of the things we went over, string manipulation, actually ended up being one of the things I was tested on during my interview.
Did you have any fears in the job search?
Prior to Bootcamp, my wife and I had quit our jobs and went on a big trip. Coming back from that, I was trying to figure out what to do next. Bootcamp made a lot of sense because I wanted to try something new and I knew I was passionate about iOS development. However, it was still a big leap of faith because I was leaving something I was very comfortable with in Account Management and going into something completely new. Financially, it was a big risk as well. I’m really glad I did it and that things turned out well but it certainly didn’t happen without a lot of thought and consideration.
How was this job search different from your previous job searches?
To be honest, I don’t have a ton of experience searching for jobs because my last two jobs I landed through referrals. This time around it was actually pretty similar to that. Career Services got me in touch with several different companies and I ended up getting hired through that so it was actually a very nice process.
How did your background play into your post-bootcamp job search?
My experience in Account Management was huge. The people, time management, and business skills I’ve gained throughout the years went a really long way in helping me to land the job I have now. The ability for me to understand cultures, learn quickly and give feedback has allowed me get acclimatized to my new work environment sooner than I expected as well. The project management experience I’ve had in the past is already useful to me in this role and I foresee a lot of growth for myself in management in the future if my career ends up going in that direction.
How long did it take you to find a job?
I accepted a job offer two weeks after Bootcamp. The process was one phone interview the week after Bootcamp and then an in person interview the week after, followed by the job offer. I actually had a job offer from another company the day after Bootcamp finished but I ended up declining it to explore opportunities with the company I am working with now. I had been told to expect, and prepared for, the job search to last several months so I was really happy at how quickly the process went.
Were there any tactics that were not fruitful?
I was lucky enough that everything I did ended up turning out alright for me. In hindsight, I put all my focus into securing the job that I have now, which could’ve been bad had I not been made an offer.
What advice would you give new grads?
I don’t consider myself the best networker but I have had a lot of success getting jobs through referrals. For most people, the first job after Bootcamp will probably come this way. My advice would be to talk to anyone you know who might have a lead in a company or industry you are interested in, before and during Bootcamp, so that people know that you will be looking after it is completed. Also, it is really important to practice technical interviews because it’s probably a different ball game that what you are used to. Practice whiteboarding, speaking through problems and understanding the theory.