How I became a web developer at WeLoop

Victor Arfi, Apr 2020

A year ago, I started a 2-month training at Ironhack to be a web developer. A radical shift. 

Why I have learned to code

After my business degree, I had a clear path ahead in Marketing in the Luxury or Fashion industry. A little bit cliché. I was 26 and a comfortable long-term job in one of the most prestigious Luxury House. Then, I noticed that it became too easy and something was missing: I felt like I was not learning anything. 

Later, I started to wonder about my professional choices. By coincidence or not, this is when I heard about “coding bootcamps”. After reading articles, talking with converted people, attending initiation workshop, I realized that coding suits me and I especially had fun. I was so proud of myself when I discovered the result of my code lines on the screen ! Also, there was so much to discover and learn. A new world was opening out for me.

After thinking for a long time, I decided to leave my job to learn how to code.

2 months in the Ironhack’s Bootcamp to be a developer

These short coding trainings are all called bootcamps and it really makes sens: 
The rhythm was really, really, really intense. After a few weeks, I was surprised to be able to code applications in HTML, CSS and Javascript. These two months went by at a crazy pace and it was already time to find a job.

The school organized a recruitment meeting with around 20 companies and also HR from talent.io, a platform to find a tech job. Few days later, several companies contacted me through this platform. 

I got many interviews and I had 3 offers in 2 weeks, including WeLoop for to be a React Front-end Developer. I’ve been thinking and I draw up lists with pros and cons for each company. Finally, I didn’t wait till the end of all the interview processes to choose WeLoop and 2 main reasons:

  • WeLoop is the product I would have liked to have on the applications I used during my previous experiences
  • V2 was in development: what more exciting than creating a new version of a product from scratch? 

Be a developer at WeLoop

My arrival at WeLoop

By choosing the adventure at WeLoop, I knew that everything will be completely different from what I have known: the team is about 10 people and 90% masculine. To be honest, I was worried about my integration. Not only because I was the only girl in my team but also because of my “junior” status. I doubted: am I qualified enough to be a developer? That is what we call the impostor syndrome. 

Hopefully the product team knew how to make me feel at ease: I feel free to ask questions without feeling stupid, the small tasks are set aside for me and I was lucky to be helped by business partner who was available for me. 

At the beginning, the most important thing is to get familiarized with the application and to dive into hundreds of code files which already exist. My contribution evolved day after day. Even if it starts small, I helped to build V2 with the whole team. Over the weeks, I realized that I am actually productive! 

A new way of working as a developer

I had never worked in “agile” mode before. Complex processes, few transparency, long decision taking, endless meetings were part of my daily life. Now, we plan objectives on a short period, we test then we adapt according to the feedback we may have instead of spending too much time at dithering.

How does it work? We work on a two-week period, that we call sprints. Before each sprint, we define everything that needs to be done for the next two weeks. We evaluate each task according to time, difficulty and unknown it generates, we prioritize, then we share them. I realize that it is true teamwork: for a task, we may be many to work on it. So we need to get coordinated, think together to anticipate the needs and thus to communicate well during the whole sprint.

Every morning, we take 20 minutes to do what we call the daily. We review with Jira, a tool we use that lists all the different tasks and their progress. Each person explains what he/she did the day before, he/she intends to do today and if he/she is not not stuck. In this case, we try to find a solution all together. Then the day starts. We code, we code and above all we test.

What is the most difficult for me is to anticipate all users’ behaviours and the different scenarios. Of course, I forget some because of my lack of experience. Hopefully, once I think my task is done, it is verified by my binomial who re-tests it and reads my code to make sure it is optimum enough. On the design side, it requires trained eyes! The UX UI designers provide us mockups that have to be followed with pixel-perfect precision. In the same manner, we present our work to a designer so he/she can validate the conformity with the mockups. Actually, being a developer is not to be alone in front of its screen all day long and all the better! There are actually a lot of exchanges: real teamwork. 

At the end of each sprint, we do what we call a review and a retro. The review consists in checking everything that has been developed during the sprint and make sure everything works perfectly. This is when I realize that we can do so much, even with a small team! About the retro, I think it is a ritual that should be done in every service and business sector. It is a time for discussions, when everyone can express: how these two weeks have been, how we can improve, what works or not, etc…

Conclusion

Feature after feature, I develop everything that I could learnt during my training. After 9 months at WeLoop, I keep learning each day and that is what makes me get up everyday. What seemed to me extremely complex a few months ago seems now more accessible. The start of each sprint remains a challenge but I am always excited to start it because I know I am going to discover new stuff. And I am always proud to see my work in “prod” and to know that our clients are going to use what I have been coded ! I have the feeling to do something.

Thanks to the whole team and especially thanks to my binomial, Julien, I have developed my skills in a few months. I thank them for not having been scared to hire a junior and for having trusted me. I have already learned a lot at WeLoop. Hopefully, I still have so much to discover…