When you apply for a job in tech, it is great to show your future employer hands-on experience and accomplished projects. As you study at the Practicum Bootcamp, you will of course get such experience and your portfolio will gain some valid coding examples. But there is another opportunity for you to shine offered by Practicum - you have a chance to become a senior student.
Being a senior student is not just an indication of time spent studying. Senior students guide and help out newcomers and, in return, enjoy a number of evident benefits. Being a senior student adds work experience to your resume, making Practicum not just your bootcamp - but also your internship.
Here’s what senior students are and why you should aspire to become one.
What do senior students do?
Learning to code can be frustrating at times. If you’re acing your studies, why not lend a helping hand? Being there for others is both rewarding and helpful for all sides. That’s exactly what Practicum graduate Devin Jaggernauth thought:
“I was always trying to help my fellow students,” Devin says. “Especially when I saw them going through the same struggles I’d faced earlier… Sometimes I would do one-on-one calls to help them find and squash bugs.”
Maria Shchur, Head of Practicum’s Guidance Team, explains who usually becomes a senior student. “They always meet deadlines [and] like to help other students in the [communication] channels,” she says. “If they’re good at that and want to develop their soft skills, become part of the program, and make an impact, we encourage them to become senior students, and provide an opportunity for them to do those things.”
Senior students assist tutors and mentor their peers, steering them through assignments and projects. As Devin describes it, the job is mostly about “answering questions, trying to fix broken code, and just cheering our students on.”
Why is it worth your while to become a senior student?
Getting more coding experience
First of all, explaining things to others usually helps you become a better student yourself. Devin shares that after accepting the senior student post, he got tons of experience reading and reviewing code. He also learned to fix bugs more efficiently “or at least get the code to produce a better error message.”
Devin, who now works as a freelance full-stack developer, also says that it is immensely satisfying to help others understand something you are really good at. Sharing your knowledge and “guiding them to a working solution” feels awesome, according to Devin.
Helping others is also a quick way for a newbie to make friends and connections. And networking could later prove crucial to getting new jobs and boosting your career. “If you think you can help out, go for it. As a community and as developers, we can only get better by supporting and uplifting one another,” Devin says.
Getting more managing experience
In a real technical team, there’s always someone taking the position of a team lead. Appointed or self-organized, the team lead is there to address critical bugs and situations, assign tasks to other developers, do code review, and help others in case of roadblocks or questions. If your goal is to build a career in tech and reach the CTO level, starting early with such responsibilities will give you a leg up.
Upscaling your resume
And last but not least, being a senior student at Practicum will be a nice addition to your resume. This will be especially useful for those who have little to no previous experience in tech.
“Say, you used to make a living by brewing coffee as a barista, but now you’ve been volunteering as a senior student at Practicum for the past four months,” says Anastasia Cherepanova, Practicum’s Career Product Lead. “This is definitely something to start with.”
Being a mentor to your fellow students gives you tons of extra experience and something to mention in your resume as your first position in tech. Combined with the hard and soft skills you learn at Practicum, this could give you an edge in the job market.
So if you think you’ve got it in you, become a senior student at Practicum and get hands-on experience mentoring others.