Alberto Marcos

Elina: UX Designer & Ironhacker!

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Elina Nenonen completed the most recent cohort of the Web Development Bootcamp in Barcelona and was one of the first students to be part of the new Campus launch. Now that she’s back home in Finland, we spoke to her about her Ironhack experience and incredible final project.

When and why did you decide to join Ironhack?

I was working as a UX Designer, and started feeling that I would be able to do better and much more interactive work with designing if I could code at the same time. It would also be easier if I didn’t have to rely on others to implement what I’ve designed. I had been planning to learn web development for 3 years, but got nowhere with doing irregular online courses. One random day last October I decided it was the end of doing nothing about it, and started searching for bootcamps. I chose Ironhack because of its reviews and location, and applied to the March 2016 Web Development Bootcamp in Barcelona.

What was the best of your bootcamp experience?

In theory, I could have learned the same things online on my own, but I paid to be able to study with people who ended up being the best part about the whole experience. I needed people around to push me, to code with, to help me understand tricky concepts and to brainstorm ideas with. Besides being motivated by my peers, our teachers were extremely inspiring and engaging. They gave me lots of good ideas about next steps. For example, now that I’ve graduated from Ironhack, I’ve started playing playing with Arduino and to learn data visualisation with Javascript. The teaching assistants were also really important, it’s amazing to always have someone wiser than you available if you need help.

Could you tell us a little bit about your web app?

My website is called Waat, as people so many times are asking themselves “Waat should I do with my life?” My aim is to provide information about what kinds of professions there are in different industries, and what people actually do in their jobs – and most importantly – how much they like what they’re doing.

I also want to highlight what kinds of skills and tools are needed in each job. It could hopefully help students (or anyone) to make decisions about their future careers, and make them think about their future day-to-day jobs (instead of only university studies), and whether that’s a job they would actually enjoy doing.

Waat_screenshots

Now that you’ve graduated from Ironhack, would you recommend it to anyone?

I would definitely recommend the Web Development Bootcamp to anyone who’s interested in full-stack development, especially if you’d like to land a job as a developer afterwards. However, I think it would be helpful for people who simply need better technical understanding in their job (or life in general), without necessarily wanting to become a developer.

It’s also extremely useful for UX Designers, as there are too many designers out there who don’t know or care what HTML means. Understanding the data architecture is also essential for designers – it doesn’t make sense to design anything if you don’t know what’s feasible and what’s not.

What kind of professional opportunities did you have after graduating from Ironhack?

During and after the bootcamp I received several offers for start-up jobs and interviews in Barcelona, and got a new job at home in Finland (in a UX Design team where you can also design by coding).

I was really surprised by the number of interesting start-ups I discovered during the bootcamp, and even felt like it might be nice to move to Barcelona at some point to work with one of them, even though that time isn’t right now.

Any advice for the new generation of Ironhackers?

Make coding as social as possible, problem solving with others is even more fun than on your own. Also, you’re not there to compete with anyone – by helping others and asking for help you learn so much more than by keeping your code to yourself. And if someone helps you, don’t just wait for them to find a solution – follow their approach to problem-solving, and learn how they debug. (There are plenty of debugging videos online too.)

If working 12-14h/day doesn’t necessarily appeal to you, try to include different activities in your day. In the evenings when I was incapable of doing more coding, I started designing instead. And when I wasn’t able to do that anymore, I started watching online tutorials. It’s important to know that nobody will simply pour all the information into your head without you having to do anything – Bootcamp is hard work, but if you think it’s fun at the same time, web development is most likely your thing.

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