Meet Andi, who took our 12-week, intensive Coding Bootcamp in Stuttgart. He works as a Consultant and Team Lead at the KI Group, and took a break to attend Spiced. Here he tells us all about why he chose Web Development, and how he’s hoping to use his new-found skills.
Hi Andi! Thanks for joining us. Can you start by telling us a little about your background?
I studied Mechanical Engineering. I learned a lot in the area of production and really enjoyed it, but at some point I realized that the digital world could also be very interesting.
You took the course in Stuttgart. Could you tell us a little bit about the city?
We have a lot of industry, mainly automotive. We have Daimler, Porsche, we also have suppliers like Bosch around here. We’ve got a lot of big companies, but there are also startups around here. It’s not as big as in Berlin, but if you connect to the right events in Stuttgart, you will get to know a lot of people here working in different kind of startups with cool ideas. And that’s what I like. I like to go to these events and just connect with people.
Take us back to the day you decided to study Web Development?
I founded a small startup with no real knowledge, and I always had to rely on my developer to do things. I understood certain topics, but could never go deeper. I was never able to write code on my own – I couldn’t get down to the 0’s and 1’s and really build something.
On top of that, with my work, most of the time I’m in the product owner role, so I’m dealing all day long with developers. I started thinking it was important to get better with coding in order to work better with my developers.
So I had just finished a consulting job and I was thinking about studying, but I kept asking myself – do I really want to take all the time needed to study again? Then the Spiced course came up and it was perfect. I’m working, so 3 months was really something I could negotiate with my company and they could support me to do it.
This was just 1 week before the course was starting, so kind of last minute. I spoke with a colleague of mine who was also doing it in Berlin, and she recommended it to me and said, “it’s really cool, go for it.”
And so I did! I did the course to deepen my understanding. My intention was not to be a developer in the end – for me it was digging deeper into what the developers do in order to do my job better.
It was so last minute I had to do the pre-course in one week. That was tough. But worth it.
Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of trying to convince their work to let them take a break to study at a bootcamp?
I guess it always depends on which job you are currently in, but in my job, as a product owner, I’m dealing with developers. It was quite obvious to the company that it’s totally worth it in order for me to get a deeper understanding of what the developers are doing and do my work better.
What did you find to be the most challenging aspect of the course?
To be honest, I think for me it was the beginning with syntaxes. Since I didn’t have so long to do the prep course I was struggling a little in the first two weeks, but then Johannes helped me and gave me extra work to do in the evenings. By week three I started to get a much better understanding and improved a lot.
What about your favourite aspects of the course?
I think for me the most important thing was to get to know the frameworks we were working with in my job, since these frameworks are also used by the developers I work with. I got a deeper understanding of what the components actually do, how they interact and how to use them, and yeah, how to build my own application.
React was quite nice in the end. We spend a lot of time with React during the social networks, so I came to really like React and that’s why I built my final project on it.
What was your final project?
My final project actually came from an idea I started three years ago because a friend of mine contacted me and told me “I’ve got a problem”.
He was running a logistics company and at that time there were 40,000 truck drivers needed. So he asked if I would mind building a website for him and pushing it with online marketing too, to get some drivers. I built a really easy WordPress page with basic functionality, pushed it with online marketing and we were able to, within three months, generate 150 leads and 10 of these leads converted into employees. So it was successful – but an easy, basic page.
So in my final project, I decided to do something more special and build it better. I’m still continuing with it, actually, and it’s going to be some kind of Tinder for truck drivers – connecting companies with drivers and vice versa.
That’s definitely an original idea! Can’t wait to see it properly up and running. You were in a cohort affected by the coronavirus lockdown. Could you tell us a little bit about how that was, and how you adapted?
Luckily, since we were the first cohort to start in Stuttgart, we were only four people., That meant we were able to stay quite long inside the office. But when the hard lockdown came, we also had to go remote.
Ultimately I think it worked out well. I mean, we’re digital natives, so we can work actually from everywhere. But of course it’s still different if you’re in the same room and you’ve got your teacher and you just say, ‘Hey Johannes, I’ve got something’. Online you have to start a Zoom call or go back into the call, and it’s less instant.
Tell us a bit about Johannes, the Lead Coach for Full Stack in Stuttgart?
Johannes is a great teacher. He really is. He’s coming from industry. He’s very special because there was actually no question he was not able to answer. He was always available, no matter what time. Sometimes we’d have calls at midnight and he’d still be happy to help and up and ready the next day.
He’s definitely going the extra mile. I can only recommend doing this course with him.
Do you have any tips for our current Spicedlings that are working from home? Any kind of tricks that you found useful for yourself?
Even if it’s just virtual, I would suggest trying to have lunch breaks with people from your cohort. Just try it and connect with the others. I think that’s a huge benefit of Spiced, to extend your network. And you meet some very interesting people – we had a teacher, someone from chemistry, someone who studied physics. You can exchange ideas, and help each other out.
It really helps even just the camaraderie, like the support, knowing someone else’s going through it as well.
What advice do you have for upcoming Spicedlings?
I would say it’s always good to just do the work. Do it really fast afterwards, connect with your other students and see if they can help you or you can help them, and just always keep on track.
Even if you don’t understand a concept, keep going. I was glad we got this flyer in the beginning that says you don’t need to understand everything in detail, because I could remember it when I was feeling a little overwhelmed.
I think it’s a little difficult to get used to, but very rewarding. Because you’re presented with information, and you want to understand it, but actually if you keep going stuff becomes clear later.
Overall, how was Spiced for you?
The course was really exactly what I was searching for. It was tough. There was a lot of content in three months. Sometimes I reached the panic zone. But I spent more hours on it, worked hard, and in the end it was totally worth it.
I now have a really good overview on what is going on the newest technologies and it’s amazing that this was possible in just three months.
I didn’t want to spend three years on a whole study, so it was perfect for what I needed.
Looking to take the leap into Web Development? Check out our 12-Week Coding Bootcamps across Germany.