Renée Dubuc completed Promineo Tech’s front-end and back-end coding bootcamps in partnership with Nashua Community College in New Hampshire. Our Founder & CEO, Nick Suwyn, recently sat down with Renée to learn more about her bootcamp experience and job hunt journey—and the transformative life lessons she gained along the way, including great time management advice anyone can use.
Renée first embarked on her coding bootcamp journey with Promineo Tech in October 2020. She had just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Southern New Hampshire University and was struggling to find a full-time job post-college and mid-pandemic.
“I was part of the first group of pandemic college grads, never easy being the first in that type of group,” Renée joked.
Creating Authentic Connections Through Bootcamps
Renée’s first coding bootcamp, back-end software development, took place over six months, ending in March 2021. During this period, she was unemployed, which allowed her to dedicate ample time to her studies and embrace the challenges of learning to code.
Once the bootcamp was nearing completion and it became time to look for jobs again, Renée decided to take a different approach to her job search: networking. She learned when it comes to applying for jobs, it’s best to focus on quality, not quantity.
“The mistake I made the first time applying for jobs was just going on LinkedIn and applying to every graphic design job that had the ‘easy apply’ button on it,” Renée said.
With this job search, Renée took the time to build her network and establish authentic connections. One of those connections was the bootcamp program coordinator at her college, Kimberly Eckenrode.
“We became closer through the bootcamp and worked closely together. I nurtured that connection. In order for somebody to recommend a job for you, they have to know you, and what you’re like, and what you’re looking for. It doesn’t really work if they just pull a job out of thin air and hand you the posting. The more closely you know someone the better quality the referral is going to be,” said Renée.
“If you are somebody who doesn’t have a lot of connections right now, I highly recommend LinkedIn, which I know Promineo Tech teaches us about. Definitely connect with other students.”
You can connect with Renée on LinkedIn here.
After some time, Kim sent Renée a job listing for an internship with an advertising agency nearby. “And that’s one of those moments where the stars aligned. Because you know the right people,” Renée said.
Landing Her First Technology Internship
Synchronistically, Renée received an internship offer from the agency, GYK Antler, the day she graduated from the back-end bootcamp. “My boss, or the man who would be my boss, actually attended my graduation ceremony online. No pressure, right? But I think that helped seal the deal, too,” said Renée.
Renée accepted the internship, and then after two months, received a full-time offer! “Which was so quick, I was blown away. I ended up working at the agency full-time for another year and three months,” Renée said.
Juggling Bootcamp & Life Challenges
Rewind to October 2021, which is when Renée decided to continue her coding bootcamp studies with Promineo Tech and enrolled in the front-end coding bootcamp.
By this point, Renée had not only had transitioned into full-time employment, but also had taken on caregiving responsibilities for two ill family members. This major shift in her life profoundly impacted her approach to her studies.
Bootcamps are not easy. They’re not full-time, but they take a lot of effort and work to effectively learn and complete. Because of this, one of the key takeaways from Renée’s bootcamp experiences was the importance of effective time management.
Renée’s Time Management Tips
During her second bootcamp, she faced the complex task of juggling her full-time job, caregiving duties, and rigorous coding studies.
“By the summer I was pretty burnt out. I was really discouraged by my situation at one point, I fell behind in the bootcamp and stayed behind for several months, so I actually hired a life coach to help me get through it all,” said Renée.
She was dealing with multiple high-priorities and needed help navigating this challenging time in life. “When something’s high priority and something’s low priority, that’s an easy choice. But how do you juggle all these high priorities at the same time? That’s what I needed help with” Renée said.
“I realized it’s perfectly okay to put a goal down for a while, as long as you pick it back up at some point. So I took the summer off and then in the fall I was refreshed and ready to try and tackle it again.”
Here are the three critical time management lessons she learned:
Accurate project estimation
Renée learned how to estimate project timelines more accurately, a skill that proved valuable in her professional life. This skill enables her to plan and execute short-term tasks and long-term projects effectively.
Evaluate consequences of time allocation
She became adept at evaluating the consequences of her schedule and how it impacted her free time. By making intentional choices, she managed her time more efficiently.
“The questions that [the life coach] asked me really made me understand okay, time does exist, but I have to use it differently if I’m going to achieve this long term goal,” said Renée.
Perfect is the enemy of done
Perhaps the most significant lesson Renée learned was that perfectionism can hinder progress. Striving for perfection can lead to projects never being completed. Instead, she adopted the mindset of submitting work even if it wasn’t perfect, understanding that she could revisit and improve it later.
Renée shared, “people had warned me about this during the first bootcamp. But I was unemployed. I had a lot of time on my hands, so I had the time to struggle through it. The difference is the second time, I did not have time to struggle through it.”
Job Searching & The Power of Networking
Unfortunately, in September 2022, Renée’s time at GYK Antler came to an end. But, she said, “when one door closes, another opens…” Determined to secure a new job, she set a strict two month deadline for herself, motivated by the goal of getting off her parents’ health insurance and on her own plan.
Renée utilized the connections she had made during the pandemic, particularly through the New Hampshire Tech Alliance’s Tech Women Power Breakfasts. Through these events, she met recruiters who eventually helped her find her second job.
“I highly recommend community events and online webinars that put you in a room with other like-minded people and people with similar goals,” said Renée. (Pro Tip: Just about every state has a tech council/alliance/network that you too can take advantage of!)
Thanks to the power of networking and persistence, Renée landed a full-time job within her two-month timeframe. By November 2022, she was employed as a Jr. Full Stack Web Developer.
Renée’s Favorite Part About Promineo Tech: The Community
One aspect of Renée’s bootcamp experience that stood out was the sense of community.
“I loved the community. Any time of day, any time zone you’re in, there’s always somebody who is willing to chat, or Slack back and forth with you, or to hop on a quick call,” Renée said.
The sense of belonging and the willingness of both mentors and fellow students to help one another significantly contributed to her success. The community aspect of bootcamps is often an underrated but pivotal element in a student’s journey.
“You may think, how is my classmate going to help me? They’re in the same spot as me. But one thing that I learned is that bootcamps actually attract a variety of students with varying levels of experience. Just because somebody’s a student, don’t assume that they can’t help you,” said Renée.
Renée and her bootcamp classmates still keep in touch. In fact, they finally met each other in person at the Granite State Code Camp recently. “That was great. We had known each other for two years, but only virtually, and we finally met in person,” Renée said.
Renée’s best piece of advice for bootcamp students? “Be aware that there are options if you’re struggling. I was offered the option to continue self-paced, and that was really helpful. If you’re struggling, don’t just stop and assume there are no resources. Educate yourself about what resources are available.”
Progress, Not Perfection
To sum up Renée’s valuable insights, her bootcamp journey can be distilled into three words: “progress, not perfection.” This mantra encapsulates the importance of moving forward, taking action, and embracing imperfection rather than getting stuck in the quest for perfection.
Renée’s story serves as an inspiring testament to the power of resilience, networking, and community in the world of coding bootcamps. Whether you’re considering a bootcamp or already on your journey, remember that success is within reach if you persevere, seek help when needed, and focus on making progress.