The path from high school to your dream career is rarely a straight line. Many of the world’s best tech professionals have had to take long and winding paths to get to where they are today. Ironhack, in our mission to get as many students into their dream tech careers as possible, creates bootcamps and career services to bridge gaps and shorten the path.
But don’t just take our word for it. We’re going to stop selling ourselves and let our students speak for themselves!
Here are three of our incredible alumni who were all able to transform their careers.
Mariana is from Brazil but has been living in Amsterdam since 2019. She joined the Ironhack Full Stack Web Development bootcamp in May 2021. Amsterdam’s Hybrid model offers students the opportunity to take our online bootcamp (full-time and part-time) whilst having access to a beautiful campus in the heart of the city.
Mariana originally dreamed of becoming a magistrate, having previously studied law. But her curiosity for tech changed her mind.
“I have always considered myself a very fair person and wanted to use that to make my country a better place to live. After 10 years involved in law, I realized that I want to change the world in another way.
My last permanent employment was at the same law company that I worked at since I left the university. They kept me in the job when I moved to the Netherlands, but then I decided I wanted to have work experience here in the Netherlands and I looked for a company that outsourced catering services. With that, I worked for a while as a dishwasher at the company where my boyfriend works as a developer. So I discovered a new universe for me and started to open my mind to new things.
A year later, I started thinking more seriously about transitioning my career, so I took a short course on full stack development to check if I would like it before investing in a bootcamp and then joined Ironhack Amsterdam in May of this 2021.”
Drawn to Web Development because she wanted a career that would let her explore her creativity, Mariana also chose Web Dev because ‘technology is an area that grows every day and enables a flexible work culture…I like the idea of being able to reach the whole world with my work and also because, because of my personality, I like being able to test things I do before presenting them to other people.’
The question on everyone’s lips…but did she get a job?
“I found my job through Ironhack. When I finished the course I was a little insecure about looking for a job, mainly because I was going to spend three months in Brazil at the end of the year, which restricted my job options. But, through a “Meet our partner” meeting promoted by Ironhack’s Career Services, I met Strangelove, which is a company that combines remote-first approach together with flexible office spaces, and I applied for the position through my career coach, Carla Martin.
What I can highlight about my work is flexibility. Now I’m in Brazil, visiting my family, and I still manage to work in Holland. Expats certainly know that this is a huge advantage.
And about my position as a front-end developer, I find it very rewarding to be able to build things that people in different places can use. As it is an agency, I work on several projects, which helps to learn more dynamically and develop different skills.”
Amr Hayek, who graduated from Ironhack’s UX/UI Design bootcamp in 2021 is now a designer at Icon Incar.
“Having a lengthy background in art and graphic design I wanted to level up by taking the next step and entering the world of tech. I have a big love for psychology and while researching which career path I wanted to take for the coming years, I found out that UX/UI is the future. I’m personally passionate about it as it combines both Visual and Psychological aspects.
With some more research I found out about Ironhack, and I was able to get a feel of the experience there via the website and some photos within the website. As a person who cares about visuals I can say that I had a fantastic experience on Ironhack’s website in both user experience and user interface, the color choices were fantastic and the functions on the website kept me engaged and I was like, this is where I want to be.”
Enrolling in a bootcamp is no small investment, especially in terms of the time and energy it takes to go from signing up to graduation. But for Amr, the investment was well worth it when his bootcamp helped him to land his dream job.
“I feel extremely proud and happy, the feeling of ‘I made it’ after creating a long-term plan and being devoted to achieving what I want and overcoming challenges along the way.”
There’s a common misconception that tech jobs are incredibly technical, and reliant on someone’s ability to understand complex technical concepts. But Amr has some words of advice for other creatives looking to reskill and break into the world of tech.
“Without getting there, taking the risk, and experiencing there will never be clarity about whether this is good for the person struggling to break into design or not. There are many interesting paths in design, from Coding to UX/UI.
My advice is lengthy research that takes weeks or a month, writing down what they’re skilled at, their likes and dislikes, and what people compliment them on frequently, like ‘you’re caring, you’ve got good taste in colors, you are able to analyze and make sense of things, you’re a peacemaker and able to keep cool in tough situations’.
All of this can give a hint about what you’re capable of doing, especially when it comes from people because we tend to doubt ourselves a lot as human beings. Therefore when it’s a frequent compliment from someone this means that it’s a solid fact, and that’s all you need to bring to your awareness so you can take the next step in life and in career.”
Gabriel Ayela, a French Ironhacker living in Germany, worked for 10 years in the music industry: hiring DJs, managing events and concerts, bookings, networking between musicians was all part of his daily life. But he has always been passionate about technology. As a kid, he got his first computer and the first thing he did was to open it to see what was inside and rebuild it again.
Due to the pandemic, his work in the music sector was in danger, so he decided to make a radical change. A friend of his studied at Ironhack and recommended it to him. Looking at the programs, he decided to join Cybersecurity
Why? Well, Gabriel suffered a cyber-attack, where someone accessed his accounts, and since then he was wondering why and how this could have happened. He was curious to understand what is behind a cyber-attack. Even though he is interested in coding, he didn’t want to specialize in any language but to understand the security implications for a company on the technical side. Ironhack’s Cybersecurity bootcamp seemed like a natural choice.
At first, “I was a bit scared, I didn’t know exactly what to expect.” Before the starting of the classes, there is a mandatory pre-work of 20 hours to complete which, according to Gabriel, “really makes you ready for the program. I felt comfortable with the classmates and instructors soon, because they are there to support you, which creates a really interactive and dynamic community.” Regarding the lack of previous experience, he says that “it’s not a barrier. I am interested and passionate. Even though the class finishes at 6pm, I can’t stop, I am always checking new tools, it’s a never-ending topic.”
When he was thinking about making this change, Gabriel looked for other options but most of them are in the US or didn’t have a real follow up and connection with the teachers. “I saw that at Ironhack, the instructors and facilitators are genuinely interested in helping us, to know who we are and support us.”
He also appreciated Ironhack’s Career Services, as he felt that Ironhack “has the great advantage of being focused on job placement. These are unique elements that make this program different.” He has a final tip for those who are thinking about joining Ironhack: “Yes, it will be intensive, but have no fear! It is so exciting that you forget about difficulties.”
It has always seemed quite insane to us that the career path you choose in your early twenties (or even in your teen years!) is the one that you have to stick with for the rest of your life. When students spend thousands of dollars/euros/pounds/pesos on a University education, or years of their lives dedicated to one discipline, the pressure to stick with it can feel intense.
But at Ironhack, we know how to help students to harness their current skills, learn new ones, and channel that skillset into pursuing a career in tech that they love.
Re-skilling can feel risky, but our graduates know that the risk of missing out on a job you love is even greater. Ironhackers know how to pick the right risks.