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How Bellevue Alumni Jake Sklarew Escaped His Kitchen Nightmare

How Bellevue Alumni Jake Sklarew Escaped His Kitchen Nightmare

As a chef in Michelin-starred restaurants
Learned to code using self-directed resources
He wasn’t sure the bootcamp would help get him a job.

After Dojo:
As a Software Engineer at Starbucks
Has a newfound confidence in his interview performance and algorithm skills
He loves his job and has many career goals.

Program: Three Full-Stack Bootcamps in Bellevue (WA)
When I tried to apply for jobs before the bootcamp, I only got one interview and failed the algorithm section. After the bootcamp, I was confident and able to crush the interviewers.
Please tell us about yourself. Your age, hobbies, passions and what you did (professionally) before joining the bootcamp.
31-year-old nerd. I enjoy digging deep into subjects that interest me and learning as many as I can about them. I enjoy video games, music and cooking. Prior to the bootcamp I was a chef in Michelin-starred restaurants in San Francisco.
Why did you choose to enroll in a bootcamp for coding?
I wanted to change careers. It is a nightmare to work in the restaurant industry. I used to work 100 hours per week and get paid less than half of what I earn now. Although I had always loved coding, I never felt comfortable with it.
What were your fears and doubts that prevented you from enrolling? How did you overcome them?
I was unsure if enrolling would make a difference and help me get a job. I felt I needed an extra boost after failing to find an entry-level job through self-teaching.
What was the secret to Coding Dojo’s success? Why did you choose Coding Dojo over other programs?
I reviewed a variety of boot camps, and Coding Dojo received great reviews. The Dojo also taught me the technology stacks that I was most interested in.
How was it to prepare for bootcamp? How did you prepare for the bootcamp?
I was nervous and tried my best to get through the first material quickly to stay ahead.
Talk us through the first few weeks of the program. Which parts were your favorites? What parts were difficult?
After all the hype about having to work 80 hours per week and keep up with our coursework, the first few weeks went a lot slower than I expected. Although I know that not everyone is at the same level and not everyone is learning at the same speed, I was surprised to discover that many students hadn’t attempted the prerequisite course work after spending so much on the course. Despite this, Web Fundamentals was a great course. I was astonished to discover that HTML/CSS/Javascript were not something I had ever learned. Once our instructor Bryanna showed us how simple divs, classes, ids, etc. It opened up a whole new world of possibilities for web design.
What were your strategies for overcoming the difficulties you faced?
I stayed up late a few nights to improve my Google skills. Almost every problem I encountered was solved by someone else. It was as simple as finding the right Stack Overflow blog or post about the issue and then applying it to my circumstances.
Do you have any funny stories to share about bootcamp? Make friends! Do you have fond memories?
We had so much fun playing Werewolf together with other Dojo members during our weekly activity hour that we used it as the basis for our first group project. It was great fun, and it felt great to make something that felt useful and helped us achieve our goals.
How did you feel about your job prospects and skills as you neared graduation?
I was concerned about the difficulty in finding a job after my previous attempts. I worked hard to complete my course work as quickly as possible so that I could apply for jobs. Two weeks before graduating, I began sending out applications. I applied to nearly 200 jobs before I received a few invitations to interview. It is a daunting process so I don’t recommend starting too early and not being patient.
How did your job hunt go? How did you land a job at your current job?
I didn’t receive many positive responses at first. After sending so many applications, my inbox was filled with rejections. But, I was finally able to do some interviews. I was able to land a job as an engineer for Starbucks’ back-end APIs. It was a job I love.
What advice would you give to others interested in coding bootcamps?

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