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1 June 2020 - 5 minutes

Why I went off the beaten track and followed a web development bootcamp?  An alumni story by Matt Hamers

From E-commerce to Web Development with Ironhack Amsterdam

Ironhack - Changing The Future of Tech Education

Web Development



Before I tell you why I did the web development bootcamp at Ironhack, I would like to take you back to a very important point in my life when I had to make a decision that would define my future career path. It was so important that I had to think about it very carefully. This decision was going to determine the field & industry I was going to work in for the rest of my life. At least that’s what everybody around me was telling me at that moment. I was 17 years old and I had no idea about what I wanted to be. I think I barely knew anything about myself either and I had no idea what it meant to have a full-time job. Let’s be honest:

How can a 17-year-old person decide in what industry to work for the rest of a their life? Yet this is exactly what we ask of people.

Let me tell you how this happened. By lack of a better idea, I chose to study economics and marketing. My dad owned a supermarket so I’ve been force-fed with commerce and food-retail since I was little. Therefore, a study in this direction seemed the most logical to me. During my studies, I did an internship at SPAR in the e-commerce department. When I started this internship, I did not know a lot about e-commerce. Although I knew a lot about food-retail because of my dad, I quickly found out that the food-retail that I knew was changing heavily because of the rapidly growing technological industry. I’ve heard about this change in a lot of other industries, but I did not expect that the food-retail would be changing so much.

I did not have any technical background at this point, so if I wanted to be prepared for the future, I had to do something about it. This triggered me to dive a little bit deeper into web development.

After my studies, I landed a job as a Product Owner at a startup named SphereMall, which is focusing on personalization in e-commerce. In a nutshell, a Product Owner forms a bridge between business and IT. I had a proper understanding of the business due to my educational background but I had no knowledge of IT. Therefore, this role was very challenging but also great for my motivation to learn more about IT.

The first two years were awesome. I learned a great deal about working with scrum masters, agile methodology, developers and web development in general. Every day I gained a better understanding of web development and I was able to participate in more technical conversations on a conceptual level. Still, I did not write any line of code myself so I did not really understand what was going on.

After two years this started to bother me. Especially when I had to estimate on when we could deliver a feature to a client. Sometimes the client asked for something that seemed very small and easy, but it would take weeks according to the development team. And sometimes a feature that I thought would take weeks to develop, was built in an hour.

These uncomfortable situations together with the interest that I gained for web development made me decide to do something about it. So I started with some online courses on web development which were great for me to find out if I really liked writing code, but I noticed that it was not the most effective and convenient way to learn web development all on your own.

Another option was to follow a coding bootcamp. To be honest, I was very skeptical of learning web development in just 9 weeks, but after reading some alumni stories I was convinced that it was worth the shot.

Now that I have done it, I can tell you that it is possible. I would be lying if I would say that you can become a fully-fledged developer in only 9 weeks of following a bootcamp, but what I can tell you is that you will have a great, solid foundation to start at a position as a junior developer at a company or further develop your skills autonomously.

In short, the reason why I decided to learn web development: I saw the industry I was working in changing heavily due to technological innovations. That forced me to dive into web development because I wanted to be prepared for the future. Over the years I gained a better understanding of web development but it was more on a conceptual level. I really wanted to understand it and thought that was only possible by learning how to write the code myself. I did several online coding courses to see if I really liked it but experienced that it was not very convenient and effective to learn it all by myself. So a web development bootcamp seemed to be the best way to go.

Now that I’m done with the bootcamp I can say that it definitely exceeded my expectations. I never thought that I would be able to learn so much in only 9 weeks.

Are you in a similar situation as I was or are you considering to join a coding bootcamp, but do you have some doubts or questions?

Feel free to send me a message on LinkedIn. I’m always open to chat about my experience and I’m very curious to hear more about yours.

You can also apply for the bootcamp and get in contact with the admissions manager. They are happy to answer all your questions and to give you more insight into the curriculum.

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