Finding a Job During COVID-19
Dallas Lind is a recent graduate of General Assembly’s software engineering bootcamp. Entering the job market just as COVID-19 emerged, she successfully found an internship where she’s further developing her skills. Read how.
Hi Dallas! Can you give us a short intro to who you are and your new role?
Hi! I’m Dallas Lind and I’m a recent graduate of the General Assembly software engineering program. I graduated with my Bachelors in Finance and Accounting, but quickly realized it wasn’t for me.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to make the transition into tech! After I got acquainted with the MERN stack, I sought out entry level or junior level positions in the field.
I have a bit of anxiety when it comes to technical assessments/interviews which made me hunt harder and I lagged behind my peers on that front. And with the Covid crisis looming, that made my hunt even harder.
“What am I going to do? Am I smart enough to land a position in this field?”
I was very fortunate to have found a position with Kurrent Logic when I did, as a participant in their developer intern program. I will be learning C#, .Net, and Angular hands on so I can contribute to future projects after security clearance is acquired while helping support full time employees in the meantime. In addition, we have weekly stand ups where interns learn the ins and outs of agile methodology and even obtain certification in it.
What was your mindset as you approached a job hunt in the midst of COVID-19?
As a new entry-level developer, I felt like I needed to hit the ground running to find my first position in the field, but I think I took a panicked approach! As the General Assembly program ended, my first thoughts were, “There goes my routine. What am I going to do? Am I smart enough to land a position in this field?”. I felt as if the program had prepared me, but I was an anxious person by nature and felt doubtful about my own skills.
I felt really optimistic initially, but the job hunt wore me down really quick. I completed technical interviews and knew what I needed to improve on, but it felt as if the learning curve was difficult to get a handle on (leetcode style questions). I was picked to be a part-time teaching assistant for General Assembly to assist their ongoing classes, which was a really good way for me to improve my speaking skills in regards to technical concepts, but I knew that wasn’t sustainable as I needed to find something full-time to survive and pay the bills.
What was your strategy for finding a new role?
So, the program at General Assembly is fantastic and one of their biggest points is that networking is vital to secure a position in this industry. However, I didn’t network. I hated networking. It wasn’t that I dislike meeting new people, it was the feeling of trying to be genuine while having motivations that amounted to, “So any good job leads?”.
“I made sure to express gratitude at every step of the process and clarify what specifically about the posting excited me.”
I had reached out directly to people on LinkedIn, but the premium membership cost and lack of feedback never seemed to actually get me anywhere.
I’m possibly the worst archetype of software engineer and that’s the socially awkward type. I ended up mass applying to many types of opportunities and I leaned heavily on LinkedIn and Indeed.
Tell us the story of how you got the job at Kurrent Logic LLC.
It feels like I always had good luck hearing back from Indeed listings and the developer internship posting for Kurrent Logic wasn’t different.
I knew nothing about them or their type of work, but the listing was perfect for the type of learning experience I was looking for so I applied. The interview process was two steps where I spoke to the person who would be my immediate supervisor and then the CEO about my projects from General Assembly and what skills I felt comfortable with.
It was a phone call and then a Zoom call, so the process itself took maybe around three weeks from application to offer.
It was a great experience doing research on the company and being able to answer why I would be an asset. The interview process was an informative experience, so I made sure to express gratitude at every step of the process and clarify what specifically about the posting excited me.
What resources did you use in your job search?
Honestly, the General Assembly outcomes team was phenomenal in their feedback on my job hunt methods and resume feedback. As for getting better at interviews, I picked up a Udemy course in how to better approach technical interviews. The resources I used were Indeed, LinkedIn, and the Technical.ly newsletter that was recommended to me by an owner of a boutique staffing firm in the DMV area.
“Make sure you’re well equipped knowledge-wise about your projects on your resume and the technology you say you know. They will ask.”
I find having resources to stay up to dates with industry standards (local or otherwise) is great to pull on for interviews since it shows sustained interest.
What advice do you have for someone who is in a job search right now?
Here’s the obligatory response: Don’t give up!
More realistically though, it seems to boil down to being a numbers game. It’s hard to work with a system that operates in that way, so do what I didn’t and go network! I’m lame and ridiculously shy, but that doesn’t mean you have to be!
It took me 5 months from graduation from the immersive program at General Assembly to landing that role (I would say 75% of my cohort landed roles in the first three months), so don’t feel as if you’re lagging behind if you’re comparing yourself to a cohort/peers and just keep applying.
Make sure you’re well equipped knowledge-wise about your projects on your resume and the technology you say you know. They will ask.
Was there anyone in particular you want to shout out who helped your career along? An individual, or community?
I’m so happy about the General Assembly outcomes team (I sound like a hardcore shill, but the program was genuinely fantastic and the instructors/staff were awesome to work with) and my husband was my #1 supporter. Without them, I would’ve lost my mind a long time ago hunting for this position.
Where can we go to learn more about you and your work?
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