Chase Svoboda, our recent Techdegree graduate, just got a new role with General Motors
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Chase recently got a new dev job with the help of Treehouse! Congratulations Chase!
Let’s dive into Chase’s story and how he got to where he is now.
Out of college Chase became a consultant at a special education firm. He worked to secure better funding from Medicaid for special education programs at schools throughout Texas. Chase really loved his company, but after a couple of years he felt he wasn’t able to keep growing in his role.
At this company, Chase was becoming a part-time data analyst, but he was also doing a lot of customer relations. Chase loves to work with people, but he felt there wasn’t much opportunity to go towards more technical roles.
Chase asked his manager for the chance to learn a little bit of SQL so he could go into relational database management, and the manager had to turn him down because it wasn’t within the company’s scope for his role.
When the pandemic hit, Chase realized that the career choices he wanted to make and the lifestyle he wanted moving forward would be achievable through programming.
A lot of Chase’s friends were encouraging him to study coding, and they themselves were making the switch into development careers. This inspired Chase to go for it and to start thinking about a career in tech.
Getting started on a free Treehouse account
At first, one of Chase’s friends let him borrow his Treehouse account so that he could see the format, and see if he liked it.
Chase had dabbled a bit in Python during college, but back then it had felt way above his head. At this point in his career, he felt Treehouse gave a lot of easy steps to help him get a better entry to the difficult world of programming.
Chase always felt like coding didn’t come as second nature to him. It was key for him to have access to a self-paced and beginner-friendly program to get him started with programming.
Even though Chase didn’t feel like coding was his number one talent, he felt he was strong enough, and the opportunities are so immense in the world of development, that it motivated him to keep battling the learning curve.
Motivate yourself to get it done by signing up for the Techdegree
There’s free information out there, but paying for the Techdegree and the formal program really motivated Chase to actually get it done. Without paying for the Techdegree, he felt like there was always another day to do the material. If it’s free, it's easy to cancel and push to the side.
Once Chase started paying for the Techdegree, the tables turned and he started to feel a lot more accountable to finishing the Techdegree in a reasonable amount of time.
In November 2020, he had committed to the Treehouse subscription. Which he felt was extremely affordable compared to everything on the market. It was also a self-paced program, which was important because Chase was currently balancing a job as well as studying.
It might take longer than expected, but you’ll get it done
Chase’s goal was to get it done in 3 months, but it took about 6 months.
Chase started his Techdegree in November which meant balancing Christmas with Treehouse. Chase was also working his other job during that time. Eventually, Chase made a hard deadline to get the course done by April. He was fully committed to this because it meant he could save money, and it would also put the gas on his job application process.
After he finished in April, he applied to tons of jobs, putting the stamp on his resume saying “I completed a bootcamp”.
Chase studied with only Treehouse for the most part. There were also a few times where he used YouTube to get a more in-depth understanding of something. Treehouse often encourages students in certain areas to do that.
Many people will tell you that a good coder just knows what to put into google search, and the Treehouse instructors are on that same page too.
Other than the odd search, just about all of Chase’s studying was done with Treehouse. Treehouse really has great delivery when it comes to holding your hand throughout the process and making sure you understand every step of the process.
Applying for jobs
Chase went through the typical scenario of putting out tons of applications and hoping that at least one will work. By the time he interviewed with GM, he had gone through quite a few interviews.
As well, when interviewing with GM, it took a ton of steps with GM before getting the offer.
Without Chase’s background built on Treehouse, he wouldn’t have had the dedication to push through all the previous rejections, the motivation to keep applying, or have the confidence to apply to these kinds of jobs in the first place. Treehouse made a massive difference when it came to interviewing with all of these companies.
It took 10 months for Chase to officially start employment with GM
Chase started his interview process with GM in May but he didn’t get the job offer until September. Then, GM introduces new employees with a cohort-style start, so he didn’t start his actual employment until March.
It took about 10 months from the first interview to actually starting employment.
Fortunately, Chase still had employment with his old job, so he was able to continue earning while working on getting hired with GM. For those who are going through this - it can be challenging, but it does end up being manageable to balance the job hunt and working a job at the same time. You just have to stick with it and do a little bit every day.
Balancing interviews that take months while simultaneously working, and studying is what it takes to find your next opportunity.
A new role at GM
Chase’s new role is with the consents team, where they collect consent to use the GM applications from the users. As a part of this role, he’ll be working with Java, a language Chase doesn’t have as much experience with.
Although Chase’s proficiency is in Python, they still want him to work in Java. So don’t be scared to apply for jobs where you don’t have experience with the exact language on the job description! Employers believe that you can grow and learn on the job.
GM offers one of the highest starting rates for a junior developer. They hire new developers with no development work experience at 58,000 USD per year, and then it goes up from there.
GM has amazing benefits, great health care, and a lot of days off. GM is very standardized in their working culture, so you don’t get unlimited PTO, but they do push for taking days off as often as you can.
GM gives tons of training opportunities. To start, Chase’s manager explained that he wouldn’t be expected to dive into any projects just yet, and that they’re going to slowly introduce him to new working opportunities. At first, Chase will do a few courses that were designed by GM so he can learn about his job. Then, he’ll be paired with a GM buddy to make sure what he’s learning will directly impact the company as well.
His contract includes a decent bonus structure, as well as a way of advancing his salary over the year so there’s a reliable structure for how he will progress to where he wants to be with his salary.
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