In this episode we'll talk to Dustin, who is a recent graduate from the Coders Campus Bootcamp and managed to land a job within two months of starting the search.

Dustin and I talk about his prior coding experience that he had before he joined our Bootcamp (spoiler: it wasn't much at all), and we talk about his experience as he went through the curriculum.

Ultimately we know how his story turned out, but in this special interview we'll learn about HOW he was able to accomplish the task of completing the Bootcamp and landing a job while also being a father of a 2 year old, a husband, a full-time employee and part-time college student.

We'll also learn about the important lessons that Dustin learned once he began his job search, and what mistakes he was making early on before he pivoted his approach, which then lead to the job that he was offered.

If you'd like to get in touch with Dustin, feel free to add him via LinkedIn here

Interested in starting your coding career?

I'm now accepting students into an immersive programming Bootcamp where I guarantee you a job offer upon graduation.

It is a 6 month, part-time, online Bootcamp that teaches you everything you need to know to get a job as a Java developer in the real-world.

You can learn more via

Episode Transcript

Intro / Outro 0:09
Welcome to the coders campus podcast, where you'll learn how to code from one of the best teachers in the industry. Whether you're an absolute beginner or a seasoned pro, the coders campus podcasts will teach you what you need to know to master the art of programming. And now, your host, Trevor page.

Trevor Page 0:28
Alrighty, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to episode number 58 of the coders campus podcast. Thank you so much as always for joining and listening in. Today, we've got a good one, we've got another really impressive story from one of the students deep inside of the coders campus boot camp, I want to talk about his story. Today, I want to talk about some of the tips that we will be covering that Dustin, who is the gentleman that we will be speaking with Dustin talks about his experience in the boot camp, what he did during the boot camp to make sure that he was successful in completing the boot camp. And then what he did to make sure that he was also successful in landing a job. Very shortly after graduating from the boot camp, I believe he got a job offer within two months of graduation, which is quite good. And he shares some tips in terms of what a common mistake is that a lot of aspiring coders make when they're trying to get their first job. The thing he started doing this as well. And it was a big waste of time. He then learned that there was a better way to do the job. You know, landing interviews and getting a job, there's a much better way to do it. He'll talk about that. And then I add my own little spin on it and talk about another tip that I always see, again, aspiring employee to coders. Do they make this mistake. And it's so frustrating, because it's like, you're right there. You're right at the finish line. And then you just stop. And I want to talk more about that in. We will talk more of that in this episode. So it's full of a great inspirational story about Dustin and his current situation where he was a father husband employed full time attending some college courses as well as doing the boot camp. And yet he still managed to get the boot camp done on time and land a job within two months of graduation. So all in eight months later, he was employed. He makes a joke later about how you know, you can't even have a baby that quick. And yet I changed my entire career in that time. So it's a really great story. So I want to invite you to listen to it. So without further ado, let's flip over to the interview with Dustin from Louisiana. Let's go. So today we are doing by Dustin Vidrine past bootcamp students. And he currently is residing in Louisiana. I'm sure I probably talked about this already. And yeah, I just want to dive into who Dustin is what his story has been what the outcome has been inside of this coding boot camp that you guys obviously know, I have spoken about this many times since Yeah, I just want to talk about about depth and get to know a little bit more about him. So Dustin, talk about yourself. Let's let's let's learn more about where where you came from? Where were your roots? What were you doing? Before you ever stumbled upon the boot camp that you did? What was what were you? Did you have a job? What was your job? What was your life? Like? I don't know, anything that you feel comfortable talking about? Let us know what life looks like before the boot camp?

Dustin Vidrine 3:29
Sure. First of all, thanks for having me. It's a pleasure. I feel like I'm going full circle here. So at the time of finding out of the boot camp about the boot camp, I was working at a plant chemical plant, which is about an hour and a half drive from home waking up super early, you know, 233 o'clock in the morning to get ready to go out there work 12 hours, come back home, do it again. So on the commute, I actually started looking at podcasts or anything to listen to, you know, eventually music gets old, or the same songs get old. So it's like I want to have something conversation wise to listen to. And then I stumbled upon your podcast, which is why it feels weird going full circle. Because now I am portant

Trevor Page 4:15
now so you you So you worked at a chemical plant? Would you describe yourself as someone who again, I don't know many of these answers. So I'm gonna find out the same time as people listening to this episode. Would you define yourself as someone who was very tech savvy, not tech savvy at all a little bit tech savvy, like where did you fall on that sort of spectrum.

Dustin Vidrine 4:34
I felt like I was pretty, you know, seven out of 10 roughly in the form of tech savvy because prior to the chemical plant I was actually working in the electronics industry with within a hospital working on electronic equipment and medical equipment. So I still had the tech vibe but it wasn't any, any programmer of any sorts or coder right? But I still wasn't a tech umbrella. So and also at the chemical plant I wasn't an electrical tech So I was still kind of in electronics in the tech field, but I wanted to go deeper and get my feet wet in it without having to go through a full four year university. Because I just, I was ready to get out and do something different, especially after a long commute and drive every single day working the long hours. It was time for a change. And that's when I heard about the bootcamp on the podcast. And I was like, You know what, this is it, I'm going to do

Trevor Page 5:24
it. So it was you said, a one and a half hour one way commute

Dustin Vidrine 5:28
or one way, when we're three hours a day driving, right,

Trevor Page 5:32
three hours of driving, that's expensive, especially now. I mean, we're recording this in late April 2022. Gas prices ridiculous. So I can't imagine how many, you know, how many miles of driving that would be? Oh, my gosh, so and at the job itself? So you're doing some light? Like, what would a normal day be? Like? What what what, what are your normal activities and work that you did at that job.

Dustin Vidrine 5:53
So at the job, we would, you know, I think around 435 o'clock ish, the supervisor would come in and give us our daily task of Whoo, who's requesting what are whatever work needs to be done within the chemical unit that will be stationed in and we'll go out and start doing that, get the permits for you know, you have to get approval from the actual owner of the facility, which would be Dow Chemical at the time, we're still this now. get approval to start working, get your crew together, get your tools together, and head out there and get to it. And once you find maintenance work or maintenance, run wire pull wires to troubleshoot, install, whatever any kind of think of as a glorified electrician, basically, so anything electrician would do, but in the sense of bigger commercial equipment and whatnot. So no, that was it all day long, and you have your lunch break, and then go right back into it.

Unknown Speaker 6:44
And use it for 30 It

Dustin Vidrine 6:46
starts Oh, yeah. 435 o'clock, the meeting starts we've kind of talked, touch base, whatever thing you know, what needs to be done and whatnot, and then head out, head out to the unit and get to work.

Trevor Page 6:57
And 20 to 12 hour days. Yeah, typically go to the floor. Okay. Yeah, your make your I thought I you know, I get up at five o'clock. You know, doing a good job here and being Yeah, being at the job by 430 in the morning. I mean, you gotta get up at like, 230 or something to do that. Exactly. Wow. Okay, cool. So that I see where the where the drive would be to maybe pun intended. Yeah, that's, that's something so podcast. Hey, obviously, if you're if you guys listen to this right now, obviously, you know what a podcast is at this point. So I a very similar thing for me happened when I was doing my job way back when music got tiring, right, you want to start maybe learning something or doing something different? So obviously a great route to go. So I'm glad that you found us through the podcast. So that was your introduction to sort of the boot camp? And how, how much work had you done? I suppose the question is, how long were you actively learning about coding, either just learning about it and not actually doing it? As well as like learning it and doing it? How long? Did you do that? Before you even joined the bootcamp? Was it years, six months, 18 months more than that, and

Dustin Vidrine 8:06
probably less than that, probably around two to three months actually picked up a couple of books on Python, because you know, everything, everybody raves how it's like a good beginner friendly language to get into, especially if you've never experienced and it picked up a Python book, had a laptop, I bring him in to work on my free time, or lunchtime out kind of code, following along in the book learning concepts and practicing, you know, exercises and whatnot. Maybe like I said, maybe two months at most, and then listening to the podcasts. And it was like, Man, I need I need something more. And I don't want to drop this to go, you know, I need to make money. I don't want to drop this to go to a four year, four year university. And God knows what will come out on the other end of that, but I need something now. And that was just enticing. I was like, You know what, let's do it. And I wanted to take it to the next level, because I was really interested in it following along and the books and whatnot, and even some cheap Udemy classes here and there. Just you know, you don't know what you don't know what to do. You don't know what path to take, right? So it's kind of like I'm a Google stuff and see what comes up and read it and everybody points out, you know, start learning this Free Code Camp, get a free resources first and then see if you really like it, or if you think you can do this. And that's kind of what led me into getting pushed pushing it further along.

Trevor Page 9:18
Yeah. And that's really good advice. Because as I said, before I hit record on this, I said, coding boot camps are not for everyone, especially because you know, they come with a cost, they are more costly by far than just, you know, these cheap Udemy courses or, you know, obviously free tutorials. So it's a really good path to try to dip your toe in the water first, right? Like you said, buy a book, do Free Code Camp do. I don't know there's a bunch of great resources out there that are and see if it's even at all of interest to you. It's going to be hard. It's you're gonna not know what the heck you're doing. You're not going to understand 90% of what you're learning. That's a given. That's normal. The question is, do you wake up in the morning thinking about it? Do you go to bed at night thinking about it and being curious about it and like those are the signings, I look forward for someone who has a chance at being successful. Two things I want to follow up on, I say to I forgot the second one already. The first one is you said you've only did it for like, two or three months. And to me now,

Dustin Vidrine 10:16
when free time, which was much per day, right? No, no,

Trevor Page 10:20
this is, this is not to two or three months full time. This is definitely part time you say that. And now knowing knowing I'm able to look back, I have 2020 hindsight in my favor. You did phenomenally well for having two or three months of prior experience. Normally, for people with two or three, you know, less than six months. Now I've learned you really need more time than you know, the typical six months. So you did quite well. Did you do it in six months? I can't remember if if you

Dustin Vidrine 10:50
actually I was I think a week before or maybe right. I was right out

Trevor Page 10:55
that deadline, a little bit of an overachiever. So we'll talk about slightly very slightly less really, it is quite impressive for you know that. So I want to dive into that in a bit. And let me just think if I can think of the second thing that I wanted to talk about. So you're doing it in your free time you were you were so Oh, you said you brought your your computer to work and you're actually coding at work and doing a little sample. So that's also really important, right? It's one thing to have a book to watch tutorials to, you know, watch a Udemy course, it doesn't account for anything unless you actually start you know, fingers to keyboard, right, you have to do the stuff you have to type it in, you have to fail, get frustrated and whatnot to really start any sort of learning. So while podcasts are lovely for maybe, you know, skimming over broad concepts, or maybe getting motivation and inspiration, they're not a substitute for actually doing doing the work.

Dustin Vidrine 11:47
Absolutely. Absolutely, though, it's like I use analogy a lot. It's like watching someone swim. Trying to learn to swim by watching someone swim. You won't until you get in the water, right? Yeah, you might struggle. But eventually, if you keep doing it, you're gonna get better and better and better. So

Trevor Page 12:02
the good news is, was when you struggle at coding, you're not going to drown. Drown. So you might metaphorically drown. That's yeah, we can always help. Yeah, that's what the bootcamp is for. So, so cool. You, you, you learn about the boot camp, just as this is for my own purposes. You know, everyone else listening, this may not be of help to you? And maybe I'm curious what factors led you to say yes to this boot camp that you took the coders campus boot camp? were you considering others? Or was it just like, yeah, I want to do that one, how much time I

Dustin Vidrine 12:30
looked, I looked around and you know, Googled stuff, read it, you know, read, it's pretty unbiased. And some things you know, you ask a question, people are going to tell you their honest thoughts, a lot of places where it's super expensive, and you know, or even fast, like, oh, in three months, we'll have a job. I was like, Oh, I don't buy that. I don't buy that. And then they charge you know, $30,000 or whatever. Right? So what led to this one, it was just affordability and the time duration. You know, of course, you want to get done quick, but you don't want to get so cool. Done. So quick, always feels like you didn't learn anything. So I felt like the six, even to a one year mark would be perfect, because you need some time to actually understand and digest the material. And also the price of it was was nice for me as well.

Trevor Page 13:11
Now you Yeah, the price is always we always sort of we try to keep it as best as we can most affordable as we can. As I said before, my life would be far easier. If I did not run a coding bootcamp, life is far easier just selling online courses. It is so much easier, so much less overhead, there's no staff needed. There's no like, it is so easy to run a bit I shouldn't say so he's gonna run a business selling information courses. But the that's not where the impact is. That's not where you're actually really changing lives. Because there's such a high failure rate for online courses. And I know, I can say that from experience did it for seven years, right? 95% of the people who took my courses didn't finish. And of the 5%, who did finish, there's a smaller fraction of those who actually succeeded in getting a job. Right. So it's just, it's such a high failure rate, because it's so difficult. So I would much rather just do that. But just, you know, it, the doing the bootcamp and getting to know people like you, Dustin, and I can name like, you know, whatever. 50 other names right now that, you know, I wouldn't have the pleasure of getting to know these people and actually really helping to not to be put too fine a point on it, but changing their lives. I don't know if you would agree with this changing your life. So it means something to me. And I think that's a cause that's very much more worthy than just, you know, doing online courses, in my opinion. So having said that, that boot camps are not a magic pill. I want to talk more about your experience in the boot camp in terms of your like, how hard was it? And do you have any stories about did you ever actually want to quit during the bootcamp? Did you ever actually want to break your computer like yeah, let's talk more about that. Of course.

Dustin Vidrine 14:55
Of course. It is difficult to say the least. Definitely good for sure. Get a few times on certain concepts and they'll fight that rated on a scale of one to 1010 being the hardest. 10 being impossible, right? I'd say it depends. So there's a factor. And if you take out the networking aspect with your community, right with your fellow classmates, I guess you could say, if you take that out is probably eight, eight and a half out of 10. Pretty hard, pretty hard, you throw in help of friends and nice community that we have within the bootcamp, that's a six and a half to seven, it makes it slightly easier, but not so much where it's, you know, you pay your money, you finish it, and okay, where's my job, you still need to work, you still need to work, right? It is difficult, but it is manageable, you can do it, I've done it, working full time, I have a two year old, you know, my husband, and I still had time to finish it within the time timeframe. So you don't need to be disciplined. And you do need to know how to do some research. And I think a big factor for me, the way I learned is I need to practice any a lot of practice. So I would watch you know, some of the course material and talk about it with other classmates and then get some hands on with it, even make my own versions of programs and whatnot using the same concept just to really drive the material in because I can't just learn it and then move on. Because you know, two or three lessons down the road other than forgot about the previous stuff material, right? So it is hard, but it is doable. You just need some discipline and some be intuitive, you know, you've learned something on Google stuff you need or you get stuck or reach out, don't be scared to reach out, it's okay to fail. Basically,

Trevor Page 16:38
you're going to use the way I define failure as a cheesy way of saying you never you only fail if you give up. Failure is something that and this might be more part of the entrepreneurial circles that I run in failure is usually and again, this is cheesy, but it's celebrated because it means you've learned something. But I think that that's true. I think when you fail, that's where usually the most learning happens. It's like, oh, that didn't work. Why didn't that work? Right? And you can ask questions and get help. And bla bla, so yeah, I don't. This this idea. First of all, I'm getting sidetracked. Am I want to go. So first of all, the fact that you said it was a six and a half or a seven out of 10. I thought you were gonna say it was higher with the bootcamp. So that's actually that's That's not that bad. So that's good to hear. Now, I want to dive more into the what what you did specifically about discipline because I know that you have an excellent you're doing something right with your discipline, I'm able to talk about that now. Because I want to I want to that's really interesting to me, because like I said, having two months, three months of experience, a part time experience before joining the boot camp, and then still finishing it early doing well in it. And you know, spoiler alert, getting a job. It's, it's very interesting to me. So let's how, what, what is the what is your magic? Your husband, your father of two year old? I know from personal experience? Not easy. Oh, that's I wanted to ask you work. You were working a job, I assume 40 hours a week? Or was it more than 40 or less than 40?

Dustin Vidrine 18:06
Well, the plant was more than 40 because it was took 10 to 12 hour days. And then after starting the Bootcamp for some time, I moved down to a different job actually closer to home working 40 hours a week. Okay, so sometimes it'll go over, but on average was 40 hours a week, four times per hour regardless.

Trevor Page 18:23
So, husband, father employed

Dustin Vidrine 18:29
bootcamp. And if I can throw in one more, one marker, Baltimore's curveball into that I'm also enrolled online in college, university. So I was doing that and actually knocked out quite a bit because it's self paced WG EU if anyone has ever heard of it, also enrolled in there. So I was doing that at the same time. Actually, I started one month before the bootcamp

Trevor Page 18:51
right. Now you say that, how how did you

Dustin Vidrine 18:56
get an excellent I saw him I don't know. For me personally, just, you know, for myself, I don't know I don't see it as a big deal. I just do what I need to do. Allocate time time management, you know, okay, today, I need to focus on this. I need to catch up on this. I just tackle it

Trevor Page 19:11
yet. Do you? Do you have a calendar where you block out time like you say mentally, mentally? So you say okay, you wake up in the morning and say okay, you plan your day, the day the morning of is it the day before?

Dustin Vidrine 19:24
Like Well, I'm working less I'm working on some code, right? And it's like Okay, tomorrow I really need to catch up on this class assignment or whatever it is. So a planet towards the end of day mentally just to kind of get myself ready for the next day's like alright, when I wake up, grab some coffee, grab some breakfast and get to work. Or if you have a full time job you know, any any slot you can or that night when you get home from work or whatever it is, that time is specifically to that goal for the day. And you know, even if it's sometimes I'll put it two or three days in a row like alright, for the next three days, I'm going to crush them. Online core some material. And the next following day I'm gonna get back on some code like I just I kind of flip flop but I'm always like dedicating time and it's 100% that time, okay to me it's like it's kind of a chaos, but there's a method to my madness and guessing in my own brain. There's no like, follow these steps, it's more of just okay, I need to get this done and this is it and this just, that's it, I'm disciplined into it. And that's the goal for the day and I just put it in if I gotta give it three hours, alright, he's getting three hours. So 100% of my time.

Trevor Page 20:31
Okay, so it is it there is planning involved, I would say again, the analogy is you're taking step by step one step at a time, it's one day at a time, and next day, this is why you're not planning out months ahead. You're not planning weeks ahead, more or less, it's just

Dustin Vidrine 20:44
good to make it more structured. But

Unknown Speaker 20:47

Dustin Vidrine 20:48
it's been, it's been going well, so far. So

Trevor Page 20:52
it's clearly working very well. Now, for those of you who are not watching, I don't know, if I'm gonna post this as a video format. You might if you're podcasting, you're only hearing this, so you can't see. And forgive me if this is embarrassing. Dustin is in good shape. So are you is it? Would you attribute some of that discipline in there? Is that also part of who Dustin is like, where does that come from?

Dustin Vidrine 21:14
Yes, so I used to haven't done in a while. I've kind of fallen off the wagon. But I was into the strength sports strongman specifically in powerlifting. And that's kind of a regimen, you know, your weeks planned out for the lifts, you're going to do the weight you're going to do and just there's a method to the madness, I guess you could say, after starting school and boot camp and working to try to get a job within the tech industry and whatnot. I've kind of put that on the back burner. But the same rules apply, I guess, you know, you have a goal. And the goal is to do this, and I allocate time throughout the week to do that. And I in a way it kind of carries over. Right.

Trevor Page 21:50
Yeah. There's clearly something about you that that enabled you to get this done. And that's the reason I'm asking is I'm trying to figure out for myself, because not everyone is going to succeed in the bootcamp, I'm not going to make it all rainbows and sunshine, there's a percentage of people who and I know, within 30 days, maybe even 14, when someone starts to boot camp, whether or not they're going to make it right. I have a pretty good radar for that. And I'm trying to be able to, but I only know that once they start, I'm trying to figure out how do I figure that out before they start? So I can save us both the pain of you know, actually failing, which means you know, quitting. So yeah, one one interesting thing I've noticed, and this is with limited data points. One thing that is that is thought of as I've seen as a superpower. And I again, I don't have no idea if this applies to you probably doesn't, who knows, there are a few of my very successful students have ADHD. And this ADHD for one student in particular I was talking to coding was like one of the first things that they that they found that sort of silence their mind that allowed them to truly focus. And this particular student did very, very well, I have no idea if you have ADHD or not, but I'm trying to find these. What are they? What

Dustin Vidrine 22:58
do I think I do? At one point, I was taking medication, he helped me kind of focus, you know, feel Adderall or whatnot, right? The Miracle student drug, right. So but I haven't in a while, but still it does come in and does help slow the brain down. I feel like my mind is just like 200 miles an hour. Right? And it does help slow you down not promoting the drug for any way. But no, no, of course not. Say that. Yeah, I felt like I did have I do have some form of ADHD. Interesting. Okay.

Trevor Page 23:28
I think I think in this case, it's the coding coding is the drug right? Coding is the thing that can help you.

Dustin Vidrine 23:32
And I think it's more of the coding, because you're tinkering with something because it's, you know, you need to focus on a, it's not like, you know, you're coding and watching Netflix and playing around on a game like, this needs to be done. And if you're interested in it, you got to have you have to be interested in it as well, you'll focus on it, right? It's like, if I gave you a bunch of Legos and instructions for the Legos, you probably sit there and build it. It's kind of the same format, right? You got to focus on it. And you're going to you want to see it built. Same thing with the software. So this is my opinion on it, I guess.

Trevor Page 24:04
Yeah, this was not planned. I just I've been building these data points. And it's a hey, there's something that because I feel I didn't feel like some. So one of my good friends has ADHD. And when I talked to him, sometimes I might think I have a mild case of who knows. But yeah, cuz I've done fairly well in coding. And I love coding because it's, it's something that puts me into flow. Like, immediately if I know like what I need to be working on, I can drop into flow. And if you guys don't know what flow is, if you've ever experienced loss of time, if you start should say, well working, you'll be doing an activity, and then all of a sudden, you know, it's lunchtime, or it's summertime or it's bedtime, and it's two o'clock in the morning. It's like wait, what? How did that happen? Other people will experience this like maybe if you feel like video games, he'll sit down and play video game and then boom, all of a sudden, it's like two o'clock in the morning. You got into flow, right? Your brain was so hyper focused on this activity that everything else vanished coding does that for me. I don't know if it does that for you as well, but it's it's it is like a drug. It's fun.

Dustin Vidrine 24:58
For me. It's the days go by you because it's kind

Trevor Page 25:01
of scary. And I've said this before in the podcast, it's it feels like cheating because I enjoy it. And it makes the days fly by and you get paid for it. Right? Not only can you pay well for it, so it feels a little bit like cheating. So anyway, so talk, let's, let's spend a little bit more time talking sort of more about your experience. In the bootcamp, I alluded to the pain and the suffering part of what was fun about it, what was nice about it, what what did you What did you really enjoy about it, if anything at all, I really

Dustin Vidrine 25:29
enjoyed the way you lay it out the material, just, you go through you actually, cuz you're building things, right. Most of the time, in some of the lessons, you're actually building stuff. Actually, whenever you get towards the inevitable, you start using the framework so that now you get to build things you could see come to life. And you follow, you can call along with it as well. And then what I like to do with that is, you know, after the lesson is over, I see a we built a user form, or we can input data and save it to the database, I would recreate it in my own way, you know, if you're using a user or whatever I'll do like a student management system, kind of the same premise, but switch it up a little bit, and then do it without the training wheels, I guess I would call it you know, watching the videos and coding along was great, but that's training wheels, kind of like watching someone swim in order to learn how to swim. Put that off the side, try to build it, it's gonna break, you're not gonna do it the first time. Correct. So, for me, that was I enjoyed that part because you actually did real projects, or at least parts of real projects. And not just here's a for loop. Okay, next, you know, here's a while you actually did something useful that would carry over either to the next lessons or actually projects later down the road. So I enjoyed that, for sure.

Trevor Page 26:39
And with all your free time, you were able to do that. Good to no extra practice. Yeah. And one of the things for me, I think, who was it that? Was it Ethan that asked the question about he, I had said that one point. And he referenced the fact that I said this that I had done something to improve my skills and level up in my career, I forget who asked that question. And my response was, yeah, one of the biggest level ups that I ever had in my career was building my own project from scratch using a framework at the time that was brand new, that might the company I worked for was using that I had no experience in now is called Spring, I built an entire project, a real world project that I had actually intended on turning into a business, and then selling, selling the software as a service as a business. So I actually like had ambitions for this day went nowhere. Put the learning Yes, sidenote, don't start a business. It's so hard. It's talking about the levels of difficulty learning how to code is like, you know, whatever level you're seven, running your own business is like a nine out of 10 in difficulty. And then I would say like being a parent, because maybe nine and a half and a 10. Anyway, don't start unless you like torture and agony, learn how to code instead. So yeah, that's sort of what I did was, you know, building your own stuff going in removing the training wheels. In other words, very, very good advice. Anytime you're going out into the wild and doing it all on your own, you're going to hit roadblocks, you're gonna quote unquote, fail not actually fail, but you're going to hit errors, and have no clue what to do. But when you have the support of the bootcamp, and you have people to reach out to and ask and say, Hey, I'm getting this error, what's going on? That really helps, right? When you when you can hopefully get quick feedback quick.

Dustin Vidrine 28:19
Absolutely. Shout out to Ethan for that he really helps everyone out, he helped me out towards the end as well, getting stuck on even personal project, you know, something that we never covered before that I wanted to implement. And I was like, How do I do this? And, you know, he's a real good help. He's a huge asset to the community.

Trevor Page 28:37
Yeah, so the Yeah, the community super helpful. I don't know. Yeah, I don't know how I would do it without all the people. So I don't know what I'm doing the build that that was great. Whatever that was that, you know, you know, so I need to keep doing that. But anyway, not to say that you can only get that in a boot camp, of course, you can get this if you set up your own, I'm sure on Reddit, you can probably reach out to people and set up your own little group to you know, keep each other accountable and stuff. So there's definitely cost effective ways of making this happen. So I don't want to say Boot Camps are the only way to do it. But I try to be organized, I try to have the community I try to have all the support and make it as easy as possible, take it from you know, a nine down to a six or a seven out of 10. In terms of difficulty, that's sort of a way to put it so

Dustin Vidrine 29:20
and to kind of go back to the discipline aspect or surround yourself, this is for anybody surround yourself with like minded people. So like the classmates, the bootcamp the Ethan's of the of the coding group, right? These guys really keep you involved. If you're feeling bummed out or you're losing motivation, or you feel like you're stuck being like this is I'm not signing up for this. These guys will talk some sense into you. You really can't, can't do it without you know, support really.

Trevor Page 29:49
You can but it is exceedingly rare, much much more, much more and maybe the ones that do make it maybe they just they're just lying. They did have extra help and they know they learned it all by me. Self completely self taught coder and all I did was read the Java SDK docs.

Dustin Vidrine 30:05
Yeah, good luck. With that 1% in the world, no,

Trevor Page 30:10
there's always that, you know, point 1% or whatever. But yeah, for the vast majority of people, you're gonna struggle, you're gonna need help, you're gonna need support. One way to do it, yes, obviously, it's through boot camp. But that's not the only way. But having said that, I mean, so you know what, you went through the boot camp post. So you finished a boot camp, you graduated, you got your final project done, you hit the job market? Let's talk about the job search and how frustrating or simple and easy and painless it was where on that spectrum, did you fall a little bit of

Dustin Vidrine 30:40
both? So starting out, you know, right out of graduating, I guess it was tough. I couldn't even get a phone call, couldn't even get you know, I'm shotgunning applications trying to get someone to say, hey, or even looking at me, right? This, I think the markets flooded and you have to really stand out. There's a lot of jobs, but there's also a lot of junior devs that want to get they want to get in. And that's huge. That's that's makes it difficult. You need to stand out. So that was the hard part. The easy part to that side of the spectrum is networking. Talk to a couple people, like, for example, I've shot probably nowhere near some people, I know some people who did hundreds of applications. But I think I've gotten around 3040, maybe 50, most less than 100 applications shot out. No, no feedback. Every you know, two days later, three days later, we moved on to another candidate. It's silence, right? It's kind of shooting in the dark. Well, you network networks with one or two people. And they say, you know, there's an interview setup. Or not, I felt like I'm not the first interview out. It was kind of, you know, I don't know what to expect this my first interview after applying to, you know, 40 plus jobs, right, get the first interview. We're gonna, we're back in two to three days. Well, the next morning, second interview set up. Okay, that was quick. That's pretty good. Make me kind of boosted confidence, right, because the first one was like, I think I did good. second interview, I felt like I crushed it. And then the next day, I got a verbal offer over the phone from the recruiter. So it's like, I literally shut applications out of left and right network with one to two people. And now I have a job offer. So the key to not only learn to code, and practicing and actually get skilled, because you need to know the materials. Well, you can't just have built a To Do app, like my interviews, were grilling about concepts and systems and details on the systems and on the projects and why using, you know, how I used it. And then some abstract things about each concept that you would only know about using the right, you won't really get that just reading some or watching some YouTube tutorial. So kind of going back to what I was saying. Networking was the book that is for me, because literally no other applications that are saying were responded to in a good way network one or two times and then boom, maybe I'm lucky. I don't know. But this had failed for me.

Trevor Page 33:07
I think we'll get more into what so what does networking mean, we'll get there in a moment. In terms of data I love data I'm all about data from what I've seen is typically you send out maybe 100 applications to jobs, you might get a phone call and be invited into an interview once more. So in other words, that's called a 1% conversion rate. So 100 at bats equals one interview. And that's pretty good. If that if that's your current. If you are currently in this process, and you are applying for a job and you're listening to this podcast and you're frustrated, and you've sent out 99 applications and haven't heard back Well, yes, statistically speaking, you'll probably hear back from one for one interview for every 100 applications that you send out. Now, that's assuming you've done everything else, right, that's assuming you have a pretty good resume, that's assuming you have a pretty good portfolio, that's assuming you did all that stuff, right, you'll get one out of 100. In other words, not a very efficient way to land a job, but it's possible, not very efficient. So the success that I've seen for people getting jobs has usually either been completely passive. In other words, they just have a LinkedIn profile, set up with good keywords on it and a link to their GitHub profile. And some recruiter happens to stumble upon them and invite them for an interview. Completely. That's how I got my first job is completely passive. Now it wasn't to be a coder, I got invited to a job that was let's call it a getting your shoe in the door type of job. And then from there, I was able to get my programming job at that company. So you know, I've talked about that before, it took me five and a half years to get my first job. So the the point of just spraying and praying is what I call it, right? Use applications and pray that you'll hear back it's possible, not very efficient, and you learn that so what's more efficient is leverage your network. So let's talk about that. What is what does that mean I networked because that's a very broad term. Right? What specifically did you do?

Dustin Vidrine 34:59
So what I did If I found those different companies in my area, because you know, there's some some remote jobs, but some are hybrid. And I think you increase your chances whenever you can commute, you know not having to relocate. If you're willing to relocate, that's great. But I wasn't. So I was looking for thing for companies in my area that could either do remotely or commute to sew up my percentage of actually landing a job or finding a job. So with that, I found a few people on LinkedIn who worked at companies reached out just to make conversation, see if we knew the same people because it's a small town, right. And if they could point me in the right direction, and tell them who I was what I'm trying to do finished, I just finished the bootcamp and I'm trying to get in the market. Either they could help me or maybe they can point me to someone who could, which ended up being pretty much what happened. So this person is 2530 minutes from me, they pointed me to a friend of mine, which I didn't know at the time works at the company I wanted to get in with. So I texted I have their number. I texted him. Hey, man, I know you worked here. No, I started here eight months ago. I told him what I was trying to do what I would have done and here I am, can you help me or point me in the right direction. So we went have coffee that literally 20 minutes within the conversation meet me here. Let's go have a coffee and talk about it. So what he does is point me to his recruiter which got him on, got his emails set up, you know, setup as nice message. Basically, same thing, what I've done, well who I am, what I'm trying to do. And then this person calls me to three days later, just to fill me out. And I guess you could call it culture fit neat. But check me to see if I'm just shooting in the dark or for actually have some skills, right. And then he told me, he'll get back with me. And that was probably a week later. I didn't hear anything, shoot an email, don't hear anything like oh, man, this one fell off. Then literally the next day after that. I got a first interview invite. I was like static, it's like, oh, this is happening. I went from dead silence to now we have something positive happening. So but the moral of the story is networking, reach out to people locally at businesses you want to get in on maybe they can point you in the right direction. Maybe they know somebody personally, maybe they personally can help you at least kind of put you somewhere on someone's desk, like their resume your resume on their desk or whatnot, just to kind of get some eyes on you. Because clearly, the other path of just shooting, spraying and praying and shooting in the dark wasn't working for me.

Unknown Speaker 37:29
But it's not. It's not

Dustin Vidrine 37:31
the chances are much greater when you talk to someone with human

Trevor Page 37:36
wares. And here's the tip, one good takeaway here is you have to know some people would be intimidated to reach out to someone a stranger on LinkedIn. Right? Well, you have to know and get past like, you might think some feelings you might have is oh, I don't want to bother them. I don't want to like they're probably very busy. They don't want to hear from me. So then therefore I won't reach out and and talk to that person. But what you have to know is if the person you're reaching out to is a recruiter, it is their job to recruit. Right? And they will be ecstatic. If you are a great candidate, and you just landed on their you know, on their plate or lap or whatever the expression is, and then they successfully, you know, hire you, they're going to look like a rockstar to their employer. So and sometimes they get paid for that outside, they get bonuses and stuff. So recruiters want to recruit. So don't by any means don't be shy to reach out to recruiters and they're human beings and they're going to want to stay you know, the worst that'll happen is they'll ignore you. The second worst thing that will happen is they'll say, oh, you know, we don't have any jobs available at the moment. But hey, we'll keep you on file or something. And then you follow up. So that's a second most important thing that you said, Dustin, is you followed up. So many people in the bootcamp currently shoot their shot once hear nothing and then give up. Right, right, which I defined as failure. So you need to follow up the expression that is said and nice in the entrepreneurial circles is the fortune is in the follow up. And it's exactly the same thing here. Just because someone didn't reply to the first email that you sent them means absolutely nothing. Do you know how many emails and messages and text messages and I am inundated with on a daily basis? If I like there are I can name 50 occasions in the past week where I have ignored my own wife. So you know, if somebody ignores you, it's okay. It doesn't mean that they're not interested this, the people are only not interested. If they tell you no, or go away or stop bothering or they're not going to say that they're going to say, you know, oh, we don't know. So yeah. Don't be afraid to reach out to people. If anything, they're going to be happy that you did if you're qualified if you're if you're someone who you know, like Dustin now has the skills, is able to answer the questions is able to show up and deliver the skills that they are looking for. Right his skills were matched to the job that he was offered. And they were how Ready to deliver the offer. And in my opinion, he is going to excel in his job because I just know this industry, I know what companies want. Dustin is going to be just fine. So yeah, those are two takeaways. You got to follow up don't and don't be afraid to reach out to these people. I don't know if you want to add anything else to to that.

Dustin Vidrine 40:17
No, that's pretty good. It's pretty straightforward. It's simple. Say it to say that but it's, it's challenging. You know, I'm nervous. I didn't want to bother anybody I didn't want to this person is not even going to read the messages, right? But you just got to something you got to do. You just got to take initiative in it and execute really? Well. What are you gonna be where I am now, you know, or wouldn't be where I am now is just still trying to shoot resumes out there and hope them something bites, right. So that was a game changer is really is to reach out and talk to people, even human being human. Don't just hop on your keyboard and shoot resumes.

Trevor Page 40:51
What's what's that's a good way to put it. What's more painful, right is sending a message or just continuing to be either unemployed or stuck in a job that you absolutely hate. Right, what's more painful, right? I just send the message. So that that for sure is something I see students struggle with, because I've struggled with it myself. So anyway, we try to do our best in the bootcamp to make that as easy as possible. But yeah, okay, so cool. Now I don't I obviously you can say no to this. Do you want to talk about the actual offer that you got? Or would you rather just not say anything about it? So yeah, it's a job offer. It's good.

Dustin Vidrine 41:19
So no, we can cover some things. Actually, right. Before this setup, I was filling out the actual official HR written offer, I guess you want to call it so it's, it's with CGI. And if there's any in your areas of anyone's listening, it is an international company, I think they're based out of Canada from right to remote, think when I say remote, mostly remote, I think four out of five days or remote one day to go in and update your laptop, your equipment, get the latest security, whatnot stuff, right. And usually, that's on a Friday, and everybody's kind of relaxed, according to what they tell me. So Friday is kind of like the chill day, which everybody goes in the office, meet and greet, hang out, do a little bit of work. And at home, rest of the days are remote. But for me, my role is going to be a Java developer, of course, and then I'm going to be sent to some training in middle of May, which will be more Java stuff. And they told me, I'm going to learn their tools, the way they do things, their process, their workflow, and it's about seven to eight weeks long. Of course, I'm paid full time, day one. So it's not like I'll you know, taking a cut and pay until the training is over whatnot. So it's full pay full time until the training is over. And then I'll be placed on a project. And then also I'll have pretty good benefits. Also, there's unlimited education doesn't, there's actually an employee portal where you can go and learn pretty much anything you want. And it's flexible. So they told me if I wanted to move into more front end stuff, if I want to get away from Java, and I want to do more further and faster learning through the portal, talk to my manager, tell them what I'm interested in, and they will push to get you where you want to be, they're not going to hold you back. So what I thought was awesome, the flexibility to do that pays pretty good in my area of Louisiana, which is not a super high income area, you're going to start with around 65,000 a year, or at 65,000 a year. Like I say, if that were remote was awesome for me, I would have took a pay cut it just the remote port, but get both. So it's a win win. Yeah, of course, all the health benefits and whatnot, and vacation time and stuff possible. You get some stock options, and matching 401 K, etc, etc. But

Trevor Page 43:26
all the goodies and that says this is your one, right? So a lot of people a lot I should say a lot. A lot of aspiring coders, if you will, will focus a lot on that first job, that first salary, and then everything is dictated on it for and I've said to somebody, the first salary does not matter at all, my starting salary for my first coding job, I think was 35,000 Canadian dollars, which is like, I don't know, 30,000 or less US dollars. But if you adjust for inflation, maybe it's like $40,000 You know, it's it doesn't matter. Because now I don't know what I don't even know what I make, but it's definitely over 150 Is what I'm in that ballpark right now. And as as we've talked about previously, I've received not offers but you know, definitely interest in in offers for over 200 So it's the first salary doesn't matter what matters most about this first job is the experience that you're going to get that will then catapult you forward in the rest of your career. Right But having said that, 65k is a great starting salary man.

Dustin Vidrine 44:29
Sit behind the desk right here where I'm at,

Trevor Page 44:31
right so great. Oh, you guys are. This is self serving. I wish my boot camp or a boot camp existed back when before I did university because like I said it took me five and a half years to get my first job. So four years after university probably 15 to $20,000 per year of that four years and then six months of unemployment and then one year of bad employment. In other words, working a job I didn't want to work and then finally I got a job as a coder. So you know to do it in What did you like? How long did it take you to get this job offer after?

Dustin Vidrine 45:05
Two months?

Trevor Page 45:06
Two months? Yeah, that's what we see, you know, somewhere around there is about about right in terms of the data. But

Dustin Vidrine 45:12
if you think about it, what blows my mind is I went from working in the chemical plant to a complete career change and

Unknown Speaker 45:19
eight months in about it's insane.

Dustin Vidrine 45:21
It's less, can you have a baby roughly can't have a baby. That's changed my whole career, right landing something I want remote, decent pay for a start, you know, zero years zero in a pretty good start for me.

Trevor Page 45:34
Yeah. And CG is a great company. Like there's, there's some companies out there that are a little bit predatory, that that offer up. I won't name names, but a CGI is a great company. So those kinds of opportunities are great. So now I'm realizing that I'm almost at time and these conversations go so fast. Is there anything usually I'd like to ask? Because anything in closing anything? Any advice? If, if there is a a Dustin 1.0? Right now, who's listening to this podcast, who is currently you know, eight months behind where you were, you know, like, what would you say to him? Or to her? Like, is there anything? Any advice? Any anything that's on your mind that you would you would say?

Dustin Vidrine 46:10
Sure, I'd say stay disciplined. And remember why you started this in the first place?

Unknown Speaker 46:16
Why did you start this in the first place? With a career change?

Dustin Vidrine 46:20
Something I wanted to do, I found interesting, and I found a little pattern in it. And get to build stuff always like tinkering with stuff, which was why I was always in the tech field was always some kind of technology, gadgets, whatnot. And this was a way to do it from the ground up with software side. Yep. So I was

Trevor Page 46:36
I concur. I also love to tinker and build stuff. It's so cool, again, to get paid to do this is it feels like cheating. But I've said that so many times. So I won't say it again. Wicked. So thank you very much, Dustin, for for joining us today, would you do you want to like sometimes also say, Hey, if you want to get in touch with Dustin, would you want people to like reach out to you and like ask you questions and stuff?

Dustin Vidrine 46:54
Or Absolutely, it helps anyone network. If I can help anyone that we're sure. If I was you're in your shoes, and you needed someone to reach out to, I'd be amazed that this person will listen to me. So yeah, we can reach out to me on LinkedIn or Facebook, whatever.

Trevor Page 47:08
Something we all post, maybe a link again, with your permission, I'll post maybe your LinkedIn profile in the show notes for this for this episode. And yeah, they want if you want, they want to reach out and chat with you. That would be great. I mean, I'm much, much obliged that would help me out because then I don't have to talk to them. They can just talk to you. As you're paying Dustin at this point. So wicked. So thank you very much for taking the time to do this. And yeah, I can't wait to hear I can't wait to hear where this goes from here. So I want you to stay in touch with me. And you will you'll stay in our little slack group. I'm not gonna kick you out. No, I usually check in every, you know, maybe six months or 12 months or something and just see how how the progress is going. Because I've loved that part, too. So thank you very much for taking the time to do this. And yeah, you want to talk to Dustin? Check the show notes. And yeah, thanks very much, man.

Dustin Vidrine 47:52
Absolutely. Thank you, man, have a good one.

Trevor Page 47:53
All right. So thanks, again to Dustin for doing that interview. And hopefully you have received a lot of value from some of the stuff that we talked about in our conversation, you know about how the magic and the fortune is in the follow up of these recruiters. Networking plays the key role when it comes to the job search phase. Don't be afraid to reach out to recruiters, don't be afraid to to, you know, connect with them on LinkedIn, don't be afraid of them saying I'm sorry, I don't have any positions for you. You know, you're gonna miss all 100 of the shots you don't take right. That's the old saying from whatever it was Gretzky or something. And don't just spray and pray, right? Don't just send all your resumes out and apply to you know, 1000 different jobs? Sure. That's one way to do it. It just takes a long time to do it that way. So yeah, those are the biggest takeaways and also obviously, time management and dedicating yourself you saw, Dustin was able to dedicate himself with a wife, a child a full time job while doing a college curriculum, and the boot camp and he still managed to finish the boot camp on time and get get a job. So the discipline that's required there is substantial. So it's you have to ask yourself, you know, do you want this? Is this something that you really want to achieve? Now I can speak from first party experience here with Dustin.

Trevor Page 49:14
He struggled, he struggled through the bootcamp. There were times when, you know, we had chats together where he was really confused. And we had I had to walk him through some some extra coding examples and whatnot. And, and he asked a lot of questions. And, you know, this is he struggled, this was not something that came very easy to him, that he just, you know, trot along through, he put in the work. And some people out there think that, Oh, if I just show up, everything will work out and to some extent that's true. You do need to show up, but you need to stay dedicated and you need to, when you get frustrated, reach out and ask for help. Okay, that's the extra bonus tip here that I'll give is is when you hit the wall when you hit the point where you think that there's just no way that you'll ever be able to understand this concept of this thing, or this bug that you're stuck on, or this project that seems like Mount Everest or something. Whenever you feel that way, and you hit that, quote, unquote wall is what I call it, you need to reach out and ask for help. How, how else has anything done in this world? You ask for help, right? It's done in a team of people. It's not just one person that accomplishes everything in this in this world. You know, the, the person that I aspire and look up to is Elon Musk. I'll be it you know, he makes all the headlines these days, all this crazy stuff. But Elon Musk did not do everything all by himself, right? The Elon Musk is was the visionary. And he was the one who laid out the path and who set up the frameworks and the systems to follow and who held people accountable. But ultimately, it's his team that is able to get the job done. Right. And that is what we do in this bootcamp, right I play I try to play the role as best as I can of leader and, and, and paving the way for you and holding you accountable through this boot camp and whatnot that we provide. So I tried to put all those things in place the systems, the, the procedures, and the the community and the accountability in place, so that you are armed with all the tools that you need to go out and do great things. Because that's all I want for you. At the end of the day, I want you to do great things. Cool. So the great things in this case is learning how to, you know, learn, get this new skill of learning how to code and being able to code and be able to create things from scratch and be able to, you know, take something that's just an idea and turn it into a reality in front of you on the screen that can be used by potentially millions of people, right? That's so cool. And it literally can change and affect the lives of millions of people. Okay, I know, the when you go to work for a big corporation, you might think, oh, you know, this, I'm working for this big evil corporation. And who knows, maybe that's true. But the stuff that this big corporation does is effecting affecting millions of people, right. So it's so cool the the potential reach and impact that you can have, I'll be it, hopefully not through an evil company. But the doors that you can unlock are incredible. And obviously the lifestyle and the the pay and the benefits and everything that comes along with being a coder and talk about how spoiled we are. So it's incredible. And it is, and I wholeheartedly congratulate Dustin for the hard work that he put in. But I just want to say, Dustin was not hugely special, right, he was able to do it because he had all these systems and all this help and all this structure in place, and he was able to be disciplined about it. So if that sounds like you, if you want this bad enough, if you want to finally, do something where you are able to push the ball forward and actually make progress towards getting a job, right? Maybe this is your this is your dream, this is something that you go to sleep at night thinking about how can I just, I just want to get a job as a coder, I hate my job, I hate my current one, I hate my boss, I hate my this I hate, I hate the commute, I have to make a hate, whatever it is, hopefully it's not all from a position of hate. Hopefully, it's from a position of, hey, this sounds like it'd be a lot of fun to do because it is. So hopefully, you know, there's a lot more of that than the hate side of thing. But hate the hate can be a big motivator. So hopefully you're someone who is saying I want this. And I'm willing to do what it takes to get there. If Dustin can pull this off with all the things that he had going on in his life. You know, I think that maybe you can too, as long as you have the same underlying desire to unlock this stuff, because it's entirely possible. Okay, guys, he went from pretty much knowing nothing about code to getting a job as a coder in eight months. Okay, that is it. It's not even all that special. Because like I said, if you have the drive, if you have the desire, if you have more than just motivation, everyone has motivation at the start. You can do this, right? You just need this a system in place the support to help the community, the reassurance, the hand holding, and a good teacher to bring it all home and put it all together for you. So that's what we offer in the bootcamp I've talked about already. You don't need to know all the details, or even just go to I'm sure there's a button there somewhere it talks about the boot camp. Check it out. We try to make it as affordable as possible, as you heard Dustin, say, like we are far less expensive than most boot camps out there not to say that we're cheap, right? It's not cheap, because this stuff is very expensive to hire the staff. As I said in this in this episode, it's far easier if I could just do online courses than running an entire boot camp because we're doing running entire boot camp. I need an entire set of staff to help and pay their you know, pay their salaries and put food on their table and it's not cheap, right? So, but we try to make it as affordable as possible. And I don't want to be evil myself and I don't try to make these huge profit margins and laugh my way to the bank. I generally just want to help you guys out and just want to see you guys succeed. get jobs because having interviews like this with Dustin, and there's more to come. It's just such a highlight of this entire process. It is my most favorite thing. It combines my two favorite things, right? Creating content, you know, doing podcasting or YouTube videos or whatever, as well as huge success stories and seeing people's lives change. So I just it's it warms my heart and I love this stuff. So hopefully you can be the next success story, check it out, and I can't wait to see you in the next episode. Take care of yourself. Happy learning. And bye for now.

Intro / Outro 55:32
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