How to Face the Dreaded Question in Job Interviews: "Did you attend a bootcamp?"

Morgan was an environmental science grad, working in labs, until the pandemic hit and forced her out of the labs and onto the job market. She needed to find a new line of work. Luckily, a friend of hers had gone through Sabio and recommended the coding bootcamp. Like for so many others, it did the trick and helped her make that career change. As Morgan explains, “I had no experience at all coming into this. And then I got a job offer before I graduated. So, yeah, it definitely works.” 


As to be expected with completely alien skills and concepts, Morgan struggled at times in the bootcamp. It didn’t help that she found it difficult to articulate her problems. She just knew when things were “not clicking.” 


But when she got into the project-phase of Sabio, the interaction with classmates made a world of difference. “It was like night and day, just being able to talk to other people about what we were doing helped make it make so much more sense.”

Morgan utilized the queue, she asked her instructors for clarification, and most importantly, she bounced ideas off her peers. Even though Morgan did the program remotely, she found the virtual interaction essential in helping the concepts land with her. When it came time to apply to jobs, Morgan hit the ground running. While Sabio recommends sending out 85 applications in the first weekend, she sent out 165. “You know, it's the effort you put in is where you are going to see results.”


The dreaded technical interview was not at all what she feared it would be. “I thought I needed to do all these, you know, algorithms and stuff. It ended up just being a really relaxed conversation.” The interviewer asked her to explain what she had done in .NET and C#, what an API controller does, and other questions that were based solely on the project work she had done at Sabio.


However, talking about previous “work experience” requires some tact and careful phrasing, as the instructors at Sabio will explain. Morgan skirted her lack of previous tech employment by just talking directly about the project work she did at Sabio. But one time, an interviewer asked her outright – “That sounds like a bootcamp. Did you do a bootcamp?” Morgan did not lie and faced the question head-on. “Yes, I did a bootcamp.” she told her potential employer. But she followed that up immediately by differentiating Sabio’s project-based phase from those of other bootcamps, where they often just have you work on “a desktop application, like a game.”

“This bootcamp was different. We did an actual project with an actual client. You can go look them up on LinkedIn, like it's an actual client.” That sold her interviewer and a few days later, Morgan got the job. As she advises, “If you do have to tell them it was a bootcamp, [explain that] you were working for an actual client, an actual company, not just a personal project on your own computer.”


Morgan was hired by: Booz Allen Hamilton logo