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February 20, 2024 - 7 minutes

Transitioning from Bootcamp to the Workplace: What to Expect

Here’s your guide for the scary switch into the real world.

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That first day on the job after leaving school, no matter what kind of education you chose, can be quite the challenge. And for those who had a career, chose to go back to school to reskill or upskill, and are now reentering the workforce, it can be quite the adjustment. Just like with any big change, you’ll be facing self-doubt, stress, nerves, and much more; we’ve created this article to help walk you through the process of shifting from a bootcamp to the workplace, including some of our best tips and tricks for a smooth transition. 

If you’re about to start your first tech job or are simply considering starting a bootcamp and wondering what your professional life will look like after you’re done, you’re in the right place. And we’ll let you in on a little secret: the preparations start while you’re still learning, not just post graduation. 

Ready? Let’s dive in. 

The Move Into the Workforce 

If the upcoming transition into the workforce is daunting and causing you some stress, don’t fret: this is an incredibly common feeling that many have and with good reason. Especially if it’s your first time leaving school and holding down a job, this transition is full of unknowns and what-ifs; if you’re shifting into a new field, you can also feel these nerves as you head into a new future. 

It may seem like everyone around you is confident heading into their next step, but this change is actually one that scares practically everyone and here’s why: 

  • It’s easy to compare yourself to others: we all know that one person who seems to make everything look easy and when we start to compare our journeys to those of other people, you’ll be just one quick step from creating a cycle of constantly feeling like you’re not good enough. Although it can be hard, remember that you’re on your own journey and you’re doing well! Comparison is the thief of joy, after all. 

  • You’ve set very high expectations: you’ve dreamed of becoming a UX/UI designer for a long time and are eager to create your own amazing design. But on your first day, you realize you’ll be working under more experienced designers and won’t have the chance to do something on your own just yet. While this may seem like a giant letdown and crush your spirits just a bit, try to control your expectations and instead see it as a chance to learn from some really talented people and advance your own skills. 

  • Your free time dwindles: if you’ve never had a typical, nine to five office job before, the transition into the working life can be extremely challenging, especially as you adjust to aspects like commutes, early mornings, and being in an office all day. During this period, you’ll need to find what works for you, taking the right steps to ensure you’re preparing yourself for success during the workday like going to bed early, hitting the gym after work, and meal prepping on the weekends. 

From the Classroom to the Office 

The steps you take to facilitate your move from the classroom to the office, especially when you’re coming from a tech bootcamp, will help make the transition even smoother; even if some of these aspects seem quite basic, take the time to reflect on them and see if there’s anything helpful that you could incorporate into your preparations. 

Below, we’ve put together a list of some of the main challenges that those just entering the workforce face and our solution to making sure it doesn’t hinder your success.

The competitive nature of the tech job market 

We’ve told you that the tech job market is broad and that there’s a skills gap in most fields and that’s totally true! But that doesn’t mean that the job hunt and process isn’t competitive and challenging; when you start out your job hunt, you may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of offers or requirements for submitting an application, not to mention the disappointing feeling of receiving a rejection or simply never hearing back. 

Our tip: when you start out, do your best to keep yourself grounded and understand that it may take a couple rounds of interviews and applications before you find the right role for you. A job is a big responsibility and especially for your first, you’ll want to guarantee you’re properly compensated, in a place that encourages your growth, and fits in with your career goals. Don’t give up hope and instead stay patient throughout the process–what’s meant to be will happen. 

A completely new lifestyle 

Depending on how long you’ve been studying for, you might have gotten used to some signature aspects of studying: choosing when you hit the books, taking breaks throughout the day, and having potentially flexible deadlines are all things that can disappear once you join the workforce. For many, this abrupt change can be tough to swallow and lead to feeling overwhelmed later on. 

Our tip: if you know you are going to miss some aspects of the student life once you enter the workforce, do what you can to incorporate the things you like into your office life; for example, if you enjoyed hitting the gym during the day, consider a lunchtime or pre-work workout to get your exercise fix. And, of course, make sure you’re realistic with your expectations and give yourself grace as you adjust to your new reality.

New financial freedom

If you’re heading into the workforce for the first time or are enjoying the nice pay raise that comes with lots of tech jobs, you may be feeling a sense of financial freedom that’s new to you and although it seems like the exact opposite of a challenge, being financially responsible with your earnings from your new role is a key part of achieving a easy transition into the workforce.

Our tip: be realistic with your spending and try to stick to a budget. And if you’re heading into the office every day, remember that lunches out and coffees can add up quite quickly and it’s best to make them at home when possible. Planning ahead for the amount you can allot for special occasions out a month and meal planning ahead of time can help you stay on top of your budget and your finances.

Moving to the bottom of the totem pole

Whether you’re joining the workforce for the first time or have made a career change and are starting out in a new industry or role, odds are you’ll be in an entry-level or junior role and be reporting to more experienced professionals as you get the hang of things. This can be understandably frustrating, especially if you’ve been eager to get going, but it’s essential to stay patient.

Our tip: even if you feel like you’re totally ready to take on any new project, remember that you can learn a lot from more experienced professionals and take this as a chance to enhance your skills as you get used to the company, the office life, and your new role. Instead of focusing on what you’d like to be doing, try to prioritize positive thinking and what you can get out of this time with a skilled professional above you.

Workplace culture 

The very concept of being an office instead of a classroom is a huge change in and of itself and regardless of the experience you’ve had before, it will take you a little bit of time to adjust to your specific office and understand office politics, what kind of formality is expected, and how to deliver and receive feedback in a constructive manner. 

Our tip: during your interview process, it’s a great idea to ask about the company’s culture and way of working to get a sneak peek of what life there will look like. But if you don’t have the chance, make sure you pay special attention to how people act at work and observe the general atmosphere of the office. 

Being on your own 

A huge part of transitioning to the working world is becoming independent when it comes to your work and responsibilities; when you were studying, you probably had classmates and instructors to help you if you got stuck or flexible deadlines if something came up. In the working world, however, deadlines are quite strict and you’ll be expected to meet them–no questions asked.

Our tip: prioritize finetuning your time management skills and speaking up for yourself when you’re still studying; the vast majority of bosses and teams are incredibly understanding, but you will still need to do your best to flag issues as soon as they arise and work to meet all deadlines given to you. 

The move into the workforce will be a challenge but it’s all about preparing yourself for what’s to come: with a bit of preparation and determination, you’ll be a smashing success in no time. 

If you’re looking for the way to get your foot in the door and land your first role in tech, the first thing to do is find the right bootcamp for you and learn what you need to know to be a competitive candidate in the tech job market. With our bootcamps in web development, UX/UI design, data analytics, cybersecurity, and data science and machine learning, we’re confident you’ll find the perfect fit for you. 

What are you waiting for?!

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