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How a Hack Reactor Grad Went from First Line of Code to a $226K Job Offer in 8 Months

“On July 29th, 2018, I made an irrational decision,” Jason Zedde writes. “I was choosing between a Chief of Staff role for a hyper-growth adtech company and attending a coding ‘bootcamp.’” Zedde chose the coding bootcamp, which paid off in the end: Zedde received a $226K job offer from Lyft eight months after writing his first line of code. This wasn’t just luck, however: Zedde was methodical throughout his journey of becoming a software engineer and put a lot of thought into each of his decisions. The full article on FreeCodeCamp.org details all the tools and strategies Zedde used over the course of his journey, but continue below for our brief synopsis.

Zedde took a three-week online coding course to see if it was a good fit. Three weeks later, Zedde discovered that he loved the technical challenge and didn’t want to stop. “I decided to apply to Hack Reactor, which I had heard described as ‘the Harvard of bootcamps,’ just to see if I could get in,” he says. The same week Zedde passed the entrance exam, he turned down his job offer as Chief of Staff.

After beginning Hack Reactor’s Software Engineering bootcamp, Zedde established a number of self-care habits and learning strategies. He reached out to bootcamp alumni for job seeking advice. After graduating, Zedde even took a temporary position with HackReactor as a teaching assistant to further immerse himself in the world of coding.

By the end of his learning experience, Zedde had enough money saved to sustain him for four months (although Hack Reactor typically recommends planning for six months). Zedde wrote down his goals, settled into a new routine of job searching, and applied to 44 companies. His initial target was to find a job making at least $120K. Thanks to his careful negotiation tactics, Zedde landed a job making $226K.

We highly recommend reading Zedde’s experience in detail on the full article, especially for those who aspire to be a Software Engineer. Zedde’s article provides a wealth of information around study habits, interviewing techniques, job negotiation tactics, and even specific salary information. “I shared specific compensation information in this article for two reasons,” Zedde writes. “One, I want this post to be as useful as possible to job seekers from non-traditional backgrounds, many of whom may be less familiar with these numbers. And two, because sharing our salaries is a concrete way to fight pay inequality that hurts everyone, especially minorities.”

Read Jason Zedde’s full article on FreeCodeCamp.org, or follow him on Twitter at @JasonZedde. For more information about Hack Reactor’s education, please take a look at our Software Engineering coding bootcamp.