26-year-old Kerusha Govender, who hails from Paarl, felt “boxed in” while studying for her masters in Historical Studies. In response, she made the radical decision to completely change paths and enrol on a full-time Software Engineering Bootcamp, which she completed online. She says:
I enrolled on the Software Engineering Bootcamp, because I needed to do something to empower myself in the job market. I was not enjoying my masters so I quit and tried to look for a job, but I was unsuccessful. It was clear I needed to upskill. I also wanted to move out of my comfort zone. I had boxed myself in in ways that were not helpful to my career.
Many people find themselves in such a “comfort zone” in their work. Basically, it’s where familiarity and routine give you a sense of safety and predictability, explains TopResume. However, stepping out of your comfort zone can increase your productivity, creativity and ability to cope with change. Learning new technology is an excellent way of achieving this productivity boost.
Kerusha confirms this by explaining that completing the bootcamp helped her see her capacities. She says:
The Software Engineering Bootcamp helped improve my confidence and showed me what I’m capable of – this was an invaluable experience. The exposure and learning process also gave me a fair introduction to what the industry is about.
Excitingly, she has now landed a job as an intern at Iris Business Systems, where she is writing a user manual from scratch for the business’ biggest software product. In part, this requires SQL, which she was introduced to on the bootcamp, as well as several other languages and tools. Kerusha will need to draw on what she learnt during her bootcamp in order to come to grips with these languages and tools. She says:
I think my bootcamp experience equipped me in my current role of having to pick up new skills.
Regarding the bootcamp itself, Kerusha “really enjoyed learning new concepts and writing code.” But it was the capstone projects, where there was some leeway for initiative, which were her absolute favourites.
The capstone projects are vital for populating your developer portfolio, which shows off your newly acquired skills to prospective employers. Some things you might build include an investment calculator or a system that interacts with databases. You’ll also learn about the important version control system, Git, to host and review your code.
Throughout the process, Kerusha had the support of her own personalised mentor. Here’s what she says about the experience:
Clarinda, my mentor, is very nurturing. I enjoyed our chats about her experiences in the industry. As a student, it’s very comforting to know you have access to assistance. Her support meant a lot to me.
And what advice would Kerusha offer to newcomers wanting to start a career in tech. She says:
Make sure you do your research, so you know what you’re getting yourself into. Try to get a mentor or a friend who is a developer. Plug into online platforms or channels, because they help with the learning process. Work hard and persevere, but enjoy the process.
If you’re keen to upskill or you just want to enter the in-demand field of tech (no previous experience necessary), HyperionDev offers online bootcamps in Full Stack Web Development, Data Science or Software Engineering. You can also trial one of these courses for free. If online learning is not your thing, you could join a face-to-face Web Developer or Software Engineering course in Cape Town or Johannesburg. Start your career in tech today.