Success story

55 applications, 4 interviews, 1 job offer

Less than two months after graduating from the Re:Coded bootcamp, Re:Coded alum Aydın now finds himself two days into his new job as an Associate Software Developer.

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min read //

May 10, 2021

Lars Højholt

Director of Communications

55 applications, 4 interviews, 1 job offer
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Learning a new skill is rewarding in itself. If you really dig into it, you might even find a new purpose and focus in your life and hopefully the bootcamp in itself is an inspiration and a journey in self development. Even with all that in mind, finding a job really remains a key metric of success for our grads and Re:Coded alike.

For Aydın that took exactly 57 days.

He graduated from our Istanbul Web Development bootcamp alongside 18 other hopeful Re:Coded Fellows on August 19 and when we speak with him in mid-october he is just two days into his new job as Associate Software Developer at NMQ Digital - a global company with offices in London, Bombay and Istanbul.

NMQ Digital helps clients execute digital marketing operations such as content & campaign management, SEO, analytics and CRM in a cost-effective manner.

Founded in Netherlands it has branches in Amsterdam, Istanbul, Lisbon, Kuala Lumpur and Portland (Oregon, USA) with 226 people listed on LinkedIn as working for the company.

He will kick off his work in familiar territory with front-end web development tasks laid out for him, but there is already a plan in place to upskill him for back-end web development as well. Something he is already somewhat familiar with through an internal workshop with one of Re:Coded’s instructors during the bootcamp. That kind of career planning makes him happy and so far he is enjoying his start.

"Everyone has really been kind to me and they have assigned me a few ‘buddies’ who I can ask questions. Everyone keeps sending me messages every hour to ask if I need help and to learn how it’s going, so that’s nice. Thank god, I know Turkish - that really helps me a lot now."

Reaching out via LinkedIn

Aydın had signed up for Re:Coded Career Services before finishing the bootcamp, so he was already polishing his online profile, tracking down potential employers and hiring managers through LinkedIn by the time he received his Re:Coded and Flatiron certificates.

"I was trying to build my profile and not just spam everyone. I looked up managers and I started applying after graduation. Until I finished I didn't really feel comfortable enough to apply."

In the following month he applied for about 55-60 jobs well aware that there would be plenty of rejections on the road to a job.

"I got answers from 5-6 companies where some gave me a task that took a couple of weeks to finish. So I was both applying and working to get a job at the same time."

In the end, it was a job ad on LinkedIn that led him to his job at NMQ Digital. He reached out the HR department and they invited him for an interview.

"It was my third or fourth interview. After the first interview they called me to ask about my salary expectations and then I proceeded to a technical interview. Louis [Re:Coded Instructor] had already told me that I shouldn’t worry too much about the technical interview and he was right. It was pretty simple questions that everyone should know about and Louis had already pointed out to me what they might ask about. He was spot on."

"I had a final interview with the country director which was more about company culture, what I thought about NMQ Digital and what I might change if I had the chance. The next day they offered the job. It only took one week or so."

Escaping war in Syria

Aydın’s story as a refugee is a quite common one for our bootcamp fellows in Türkiye. Often our fellows are more keen to look forward than back as they are fighting to be recognized for their talents rather than being cast merely as refugees.

Aydın is happy to share his full story though.

Originally from Damascus, Syria he was 15 years old and going to school in 2012 when the revolution began and the seriousness of the situation was quickly apparent. A definitive moment for Aydin and his family was when a bomb went off near his high school.

"I heard the sound of an explosion near my school. It happened only 200 meters from me. Fortunately, none of my friends died but others did. After that day, protests started to grow outside my school and the army was called in. They started going to my school and randomly taking students to prison to scare other people off. And we were scared. My family started talking about going away because it just wasn't safe anymore."

Click on ‘Start Exploring’ on the map below to follow Aydins journey from war in Syria to NMQ Digital in Türkiye step by step.

Aydın even attended a few protests himself, and says he almost got caught one day after school. Someone had tipped off the police about the protest and when the students exited the school, they started arresting people.

"I had planned to join the protest but I felt something might be up, so I had stayed in class at first. I saw they took students and put them in army vehicles."

As the war escalated, the electricity was often cut when they were sitting at home and from his house they could hear bombings and shootings coming closer by the day. The capital was supposed to be one of the safest places, so he knew it was most likely much worse in other places of Syria.

In the end, it wasn’t a last minute escape from Syria, though. His brothers had finished high school and the army was trying to enlist everyone to join to strike down the protests.

"Going to the army you either die or you won’t see your family for a very very long time so we knew it was time to go."

"First, we went to Jordan for two months but we quickly moved on to Mersin in Türkiye. My two brothers continued on from there to go to university in Istanbul while I went back to Syria with my parents to try and sell our car and our house."

At that time, he felt the weight of uncertainty about his future. He had left school without taking any documents or anything to prove he had studied there for 10-12 years. And for a short while, Libya seemed a possible destination until the family got a chance to go to Yemen where his mother had found work as a doctor.

"We stayed in Yemen for about a year. Enough time for me to finish my high school and I was happy there. I had good friends there but the university wasn’t good, so we took off again. This time to be reunited with my two brothers here in Türkiye. My family wanted us to be all together at the same place and here they have better universities and health care."

Building a future

Reunited with his entire family in Türkiye in 2014, he started to look forward. He learned Turkish and passed the exam for foreigners who want to join universities in Türkiye as he started preparing for his future.

"At that time, I wanted to study medicine because my mom is a doctor but it takes a lot of time. It would mean almost 10 years at university without earning money. And because of the war I had already lost too much time."

Instead he joined Istanbul Kultur University to study for a bachelor in Computer Science. Here he picked up a few programming languages like C and C++ but he had no experience with web development before joining Re:Coded.

His mother had found a job as a doctor in Türkiye and that earned the whole family a Turkish citizenship, which is often a deal breaker in the job application process.

"It took about a year and a half with a lot of interviews and check-ups where they would ask our neighbors about us, go to our work to ask colleagues and teammates. It’s a thorough background check and it took more than a year."

Never going back to Syria

While 2020 has been a challenging year for most, to Aydin it will be the year he graduated from both university and the Re:Coded bootcamp before finding a job at NMQ Digital.

I want to stay here and grow to become a team leader. One day I might start something of my own but first I need to get some experience.

I’m hopeful of a better future now. Right now, I’m really happy having started my job at NMQ Digital.

"People seem to be there for a long time, so I think it’s a great place. I want to stay here and grow to become a team leader. One day I might start something of my own but first I need to get some experience. So maybe in 10 years.«

Having finally found a home in Türkiye he has finally left Syria behind and he doesn’t ever see a way back.

"No, huge no - I will never go back. Even if the war finishes. I already have my life here now. I have my friends here, I speak Turkish and I even have my citizenship now. I had a chance to go to Germany, but I chose to stay. You don’t want to move all the time. We visited a lot of countries as refugees and everywhere you have to get used to the country and the language. Now I finally feel at home and I have found a career I want to pursue, so I’m happy."

The ‘Coding Bootcamp’ program operates within the framework of the “PEP-Promotion of Economic Prospects” program which is financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in cooperation with Re:Coded & Impact Hub

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Authors biography

Lars Højholt

Director of Communications

Lars Højholt is Re:Coded’s Director of Communications and has been with Re:Coded since February 2020. He has previously worked as a journalist and project manager for the Danish national newspaper, Information, leading major editorial projects and grants, and later joined a public sector consultancy as a communications specialist before moving to Istanbul.

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