Top Tips From A Coding Bootcamp Admissions Manager

Group working on laptops at a long bench table


Rebecca Christophersen, Admissions Manager at LeWagon recently talked to SheCanCode. We caught up on all things diversity, bootcamp application tips and tricks and coding courses.

Rebecca Christophersen, Admissions Manager at LeWagon, recently had a chat with SheCanCode.

We caught up on all things diversity, bootcamp application tips and tricks and coding courses.

What steps have you been taking to ensure balanced representation of women in your bootcamps? 

We are always trying to improve the gender balance on our bootcamps, both locally and globally. Industry-wide the percentage of women in technical roles is around 20%. However, we’ve had batches of almost 50% women, though generally speaking we have around 40% on each batch. We have many initiatives that aim to attract more women:

    The graph below shows how the representation of women in LeWagon’s Bootcamps has grown:

    coding bootcamp

    Any tips for submitting the best application to your bootcamp?

      Our Full-Stack Bootcamp is built for beginners, so we don’t need you to have loads of coding experience before joining. As mentioned above, we need motivation: the bootcamp is really intense! We take people from being complete beginners to Junior Full-Stack Developers in just 9 weeks full-time (and 24 weeks part-time). 

      How can students get the most from your courses?

      The people who get the most out of the course are the ones that fully immerse themselves in what’s on offer at Le Wagon. Aside from the world-class curriculum and bespoke lifelong learning platform, one of Le Wagon’s biggest strengths is our community. We have an alumni network of 7,200+ who are all active on our Slack channels, constantly sharing advice and supporting each other. During the bootcamps themselves, we run many talks, events, and socials on top of the busy learning schedule. Students can run our talks and interview senior profiles in front of the batch as well as make key contacts for when they leave. Due to the varied backgrounds of everyone on the course (our students in London have been aged 18 – 60 years, from all walks of life), it’s a unique networking opportunity: find your co-founder, your dream job, and make friends for life. 

      Group working on laptops at a long bench table

      Do you notice any clear differences between how men and women approach applications, and then learning?

      One difference is that our female applicants are more likely to have attended some of our workshops (such as our Women’s Coding Day) before sending in their applications.  

      In terms of the learning experience itself, everyone learns at a slightly different pace, finding certain modules more or less difficult than other students, and that is part of the process of the bootcamp. Students team up with a different student each day, called their ‘buddy’, to work through a series of coding challenges together. This means they get to know everyone on the bootcamp, and they also get exposed to different ways of solving problems.

       If you are working with someone stronger than you, they will explain their solution to you, and you benefit from peer-to-peer learning. But if you are working with someone weaker than you, then you have to explain how you reached your solution: by teaching someone else, you really cement the knowledge you’ve learned throughout the day.

      This is an important part of the process: learning to learn! It enables our students to continue learning new languages and frameworks straight after the bootcamp, and to be able to debug themselves when they are working on their own projects, or working in their first jobs in tech.

      What motivates you at the team at LeWagon to keep pushing for greater representation of women in tech? 

       Women are under-represented in technical roles at under 20% industry-wide, and staggeringly only 2.3% of founders receiving VC are women. According to McKinsey, the most gender-diverse companies are 27% more likely to experience above-average profitability and having women on the board of a company boosts productivity. 

      Diversity isn’t just better for everyone, it’s also good for business! We are the educators at the start of this pipe, and we are determined to make a change for the companies of the future! 

      Tech is an incredibly exciting industry to work in. You get to problem-solve, be creative, and collaborate with people with different skill sets. Tech is one place where the emphasis really is on what you can do. If you write the best code, you write the best code – it doesn’t matter where you’ve come from or what you were doing before. 

      The tech industry is also future-proof. We are in the digital age and it’s important we learn the right skills. 

       Learning technical skills will provide job security and make sure you have the same opportunities and earning potential. As women are more likely to be the ones raising children or taking some time off during pregnancy, joining companies where flexible and remote working are not only possible but encouraged, is another important factor.   

      Any final tips for women in tech or those aspiring to get into tech?

      Le Wagon Paris student

      If you like to solve problems, challenge yourself and learn new things and aren’t afraid to make mistakes along the way – you will probably love working in tech. 

      Talk to people in your network. If you have people in your network already working in tech, offer to buy them a coffee and pick their brain about their job. 

        Start coding! 

        There is no quicker way to decide if it’s for you. Check out some free online courses, or better yet attend some workshops – we’re running a series of free webinars for beginners at the moment that anyone can join: https://www.lewagon.com/webinars


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