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What would you say to junior developers out of a bootcamp looking to work at Stripe?

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patio11's avatar
a year ago

I am going to take the liberty of substituting "a high-status well-run software company" as the target here rather than Stripe.

You should certainly want to work at one of them for your first job in industry. It will help you learn more quickly than working at a company which happens to employ engineers but where software isn't key to the success of the enterprise like e.g. a typical insurance company. I would try to find companies in the goldilocks zone of "Big enough to have mentors available who will have bandwith to help you grow; small enough such that your personal contributions actually matter and that you will own things that you can point to in the world and say 'That thing, that thing was mine' versus e.g. optimizing the SQL query which renders a preference page for the company's 37th most important product.

Given that you want to work at one of these companies, see career advice I have given before. The unique factor bootcamp grads have is that you as soon as practical want a better branding for yourself than "bootcamp grad" because the industry has not done you favors in teaching decisionmakers at software companies that that branding leads to successful engineers.

Specific things you should cultivate:

  • Build some things you can show off.
  • See other things I have written regarding cultivating internal people who are bullish about your candidacy and will advocate for you, so that you quickly get a job. Then, do the job, and do well in it.

The great thing about our industry is that, given 2 years of execution at an employer, you're just "an engineer" not "an engineer who graduated from a bootcamp." A less great, but true, thing about our industry is that it matters a non-trivial amount what the status of that engineering employer is. If possible, consider getting one with good "resume value"; this matters disproportionately early in your career and when you otherwise do not have many proof-points that you'll probabilistically be a great engineer.

6 points
ZainRzv's avatar
@ZainRzv (replying to @patio11 )
a year ago

Could you please share a link to the referenced post?

”See other things I have written regarding cultivating internal people who are bullish about your candidacy and will advocate for you, so that you quickly get a job. Then, do the job, and do well in it.“

3 points
maxefremov's avatar
@maxefremov (replying to @ZainRzv )
a year ago

Here's a start: some of Patrick's thoughts on the subject of finding someone bullish enough about your candidacy to at least get in you in front of a decision maker at a company:

https://twitter.com/patio11/status/28034519633
https://twitter.com/patio11/status/686805675859574784
https://twitter.com/patio11/status/770807498802540544

But I would love some of Patrick's elaboration.

4 points
ZainRzv's avatar
@ZainRzv (replying to @maxefremov )
a year ago

Thanks!

2 points

This question is part of an AMA with Patrick McKenzie.

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