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Actualize Blog

September 4, 2015

How To Ace A Coding Bootcamp Interview

By Jay Wengrow, CEO of Actualize

The popularity of coding bootcamps makes it increasingly important to ace your interview. Many competitive applicants come through the doors, but bootcamps will have limited availability. How can you stand out from the rest? Here are 4 tips to remember:


1. Professionalism – As with all interviews, have a professional appearance. Is this a business interview requiring formal attire? No – we’re developers. Hardly ever will you catch us wearing something like that. But that doesn’t mean we just dress sloppy. Look nice, be presentable, treat it like it’s a big deal. Hand in hand with this is acting and speaking professionally. You may feel comfortable during the interview, but don’t let your guard slip. Language is a key indicator of who you are – don’t let us get the wrong impression of you. Nothing beats a firm handshake, except for maybe making consistent eye contact throughout the interview.

2. Passion – Are we taking students who have proven they are strong developers with tons of experience? No! That’s why you’re doing the bootcamp. So what do you need if not a strong coding background? Passion. Show us you’re passionate about coding. We don’t have time for students who are unsure if this is the career path they want to go down. We have so many who know this is what they want. And how do they show us this passion? They’ve done what they could on their own. They’ve gone through online tutorials, they’ve exhausted the freebies (Codecademy, some courses on Code School, our own screencasts) and they’ve made very simple programs. Being able to do this doesn’t take months of preparation. Going through a course on Codecademy can take a week or less and then building your own mini program can take an evening. If you are passionate, you’ll make the time. Show it in your voice as well. Be excited, share your experiences with coding, talk about what’s going on in the development world today. Anyone can shine here if they really are passionate.

3. Ask Questions – Come with questions. As with any interview, we want to see if you’ve come prepared, if you’ve done your homework. Anyone who doesn’t have questions, we know they haven’t really looked into this as a career. There should be tons of questions from new developers. Should you ask them all? No – a developer will always have questions and will never get the answers to them all. But should you ask a few (particularly about the bootcamp)? Yes. Along with this, DON’T ask questions you should already know if you spent the time reading the material. Bootcamps will have a whole website with answers to those common questions. If you did read, but maybe forgot, look it up later. You know you can find it and you won’t look like you didn’t come prepared. One of the most unimpressive questions is “How much is tuition?” If you’ve really done your homework, you’ll know. It’s very obvious on pretty much every site.

4. Follow Instructions – Almost every interview will end with instructions on doing a coding exercise. This perhaps isn’t technically part of the interview, but it definitely is part of the application. If you ace the interview, doing the exercise incorrectly will do nothing for you. There’s a good chance you’ll get a no if you prove you can’t follow instructions. Does it take time to read everything? Yes, but do it. You are passionate about this, right? Follow the instructions and provide correct code.

The tips may seem simple and intuitive but that’s the beauty of it. This isn’t rocket science, as the old saying goes. We’re not looking for the top 2% out of thousands of people. But you’d be surprised how many don’t do it. Don’t let it be you!

Post By: Trevor Jones (ACLTC Alumni)

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