Finding Work: Leveraging a Bootcamp’s network

cord helps Engineers direct message other people looking to hire them. But finding work isn’t just about access to hiring managers…

Finding your best work is a life’s journey uncovered through an ongoing conversation with ourselves and the world around us.

The Best Work Stories podcast hosts conversations between Ben (Co-founder and CEO of cord) and Founders, CTO’s, Software Engineers and people in tech who are on their own journey to find their best work.


Antonio Yankey (00:00):

The community part of the process that lead me to where I’m now I think is the best part of the whole journey because I learn a lot, but I connect with even more people in that sense. So even in 10 years time, when I’m thinking about the whole process, I’m going to really think about the people that I met and also what they gave me in that sense. Yeah. Founders and Coders was a life-changing thing for me.

Ben Henley-Smith (00:31):

Maybe a wonderful place to start is how did you move from Chemical Engineering to Software Engineering?

Antonio Yankey (00:40):

The journey was very, very interesting in that sense because I was born in Italy and then after the Chemical Engineering, I didn’t really love it. I wasn’t too much in it. At that time I was already done. You already wasted… Actually, it’s not wasted because I learned a lot of valuable things. And a lot of the things that I learned, I quickly use it for helping some friends on digital marketing, more on digital marketing analysis because I always felt like I was very creative in that sense. So digital marketing and marketing general seems very fun. And the fact that I have a good knowledge of math helped me really understand reading analytic from different platform. And that also allowed me to be creative in the sense and create a specific marketing campaign or everything.

Antonio Yankey (01:30):

Then almost three years ago, I decided to… Actually, three years ago, I decided to come here in this country because I had a lot of family members here and it was very easy. So I came and I work for a brief period actually one year as a Business Developer for a company for the Italian market. And then while I was doing that because I always had this in my mind, Software Engineering in my mind, Web Developer in general. I started doing my own courses, like Udemy or freeCodeCamp and other stuff. And then initially, because I wanted to keep on this trend of analyzing data, I thought to myself, maybe I can work on the Data Analysis, Data Science path, because was the natural progression of what I was doing before. But then while I was learning coding, the things that was the most interesting to me was the building of something based on requirement, not really the analyzing the data or going through the whole process of using math to get valuable insight.

Antonio Yankey (02:45):

So I was very lucky because at the time I didn’t even know about the concept of bootcamp. And when I discovered I was very lucky because my girlfriend came in contact with a person that did a free bootcamp here in London called the Founders and Coders. And after that process, I decided to apply and that open basically work for me because allowing me to connect with a lot of people in my same situation and everyone that wanted to join the Software Engineering world. So in that sense, I was very welcoming with huge community and Founders and Coders in that sense help you a lot in that sense.

Ben Henley-Smith (03:27):

So many people find themselves in a situation very similar to you where you have a bank of transferable skills from Chemical Engineering and then Marketing. And there’s a leap that you take where you take those skills and apply them in a specific way. You said you heard about Founders and Coders from your girlfriend. How did you make the call to go with Founders and Coders in that moment? Did you look at other coding bootcamps or how did you make that call?

Antonio Yankey (03:58):

That call was very… Let’s say at the beginning… To be fair as a person, I always really trust on my ability to learn quickly and get everything, let’s say by my own. So the first part of the journey was alone. Let’s say that I was asking some friend that were working on the sector, but at the same time, the majority of the transplant was doing the self by myself. So after my girlfriend told me about it. It took two or three weeks before I decide to actually look into it. I had the tab open on my Google Chrome. At the same time I wasn’t really putting much effort to really search it, join the community and think about it. But then one day I was like, after conversation with my brother, I was like, yeah, let me try to see how is the whole experience environment of a bootcamp. Again, at that time, I didn’t even know how much a bootcamp cost, because I didn’t even go too deeper and finding that-

Ben Henley-Smith (05:00):

Has your brother done a bootcamp before or?

Antonio Yankey (05:03):

No, no. My brother went to the traditional path, did everything that has to do and then he got a job. And since then, he’s like… But as a role model for me, usually I take his suggestion in that sense because at the time I was still stick on my idea to become a Data Analyst or Data Scientist. But my English at the time wasn’t very good. And something that really struck me when he was speaking was like, “In that job you really need to think about the data you present, and at the same time you have to be able to explain them and showcase them in a way that everyone can understand them in a very good way.” And I did some interviews for some companies and the technical part went very well, but the part where I have to explain myself, give them the feedback everything wasn’t very good.

Antonio Yankey (05:52):

So something he suggested me was like, “Try to find a job where you just have to think more about the technical part. Then the rest will come later on when your English is better.” So at that moment, I decide, okay, maybe Data Scientist, Data Analysis, wasn’t the best fit for me at that moment. And I go back, I went back a step and I think about what I really enjoy when I was doing everything and coding was the thing. So in that moment, I decided to check more about the bootcamp thing. And it was so-

Ben Henley-Smith (06:27):

A wonderful conversation with your brother.

Antonio Yankey (06:30):

Yes. Actually he was very harsh at that moment when he say to me… Because I was like, I really trust my abilities. But sometimes someone have to hit you in the face to really understand that you have to go a step back and think again, what you are doing. So in that sense that was very nice for me. And I guess, shaped completely my journey in that sense. And shortly after I start going through the requirement for applying for Founders and Coders, I start working and I was having a lot of fun because at the time I was only playing with Python back then. But then using HML CSS and JavaScript make let’s say a website was so cool at that time I was like, yes, I’m doing something even better. Because with Python I did some games but were very terminal focus without any type of interaction from the user. You write it, but you don’t really do anything besides that. So when I started with JavaScript and I can see the output and everything I was so enthusiastic. So that was very nice.

Antonio Yankey (07:37):

And the second thing and that really… Actually let me go back. That is not the second thing. Is the first thing that really struck me was the community in that sense because I started by my own and I always felt like I can do it. I don’t have to really have other people to really communicate with for getting what I want. But after that, everything changed because I got a lot of new friends. I create a support environment where everyone-

Ben Henley-Smith (08:11):

Through Founders and Coders?

Antonio Yankey (08:12):

Yes. Everyone was doing the same thing as me and everyone has the objective. Different background. Different! Everyone was coming from doing this, doing that. But everyone was the same goal applied for Founders and Coders and managed to enter in the stack sector as a developer. So the common goal really unite us and everyone was very helping like, “Oh, I have a issue here. Do you know how to fix it?” And at the time I was like, yeah, yeah, I know how I can fix it. And other people, “Oh, I’m doing this. Can you help me with that?” So that was very good.

Antonio Yankey (08:50):

And through the journey, I met a lot of people that didn’t even go through the whole process of Founders and Coders because they decided to do other bootcamp. That are still my closest friend. We really became very good friends. And even though we complete a different path, as of now, we’re very in touch and every part of our journey. Because it’s like… Let’s say synchronous because we are doing the same thing, but we choose different path. But we’re in the same sector. It’s very easy for us to share experience and form different type of perspectives. And that was very nice.

Antonio Yankey (09:29):

So the community part of the process that led me to where I’m now. I think it’s the best part of the whole journey because I learn a lot, but I connect with even more people in that sense. So even in 10 years time when I’m thinking about the whole process, I’m going to really think about the people that I met and also what they gave me in that sense. Yeah. Founders and Coders was a life-changing thing for me in a lot of sense.

Ben Henley-Smith (10:01):


Antonio Yankey (10:01):

A person grow. I’ve grown a lot because of that.

Ben Henley-Smith (10:06):

And how did you find the job at A Million Ads?

Antonio Yankey (10:10):

The job at A Million Ads was through Founders and Coders in a sense that as soon as I started, we got the opportunity to apply for some companies that were been… Let’s say… How do you say it. Sponsor or something of the… And they came to offer some apprenticeship for people that were starting. Through process that was very… Let’s say led by Founders and Coders in a sense, the type of approach they came to us with the technical staff and the question they were asking us. That was very nice in that sense. So-

Ben Henley-Smith (10:49):


Antonio Yankey (10:51):

I really came in… When I saw A Million Ads, I was like, whoa, it’s perfect. This company is working on a lot of cool tech stack. The people seem so nice. So let me try to apply. And it went very well in the sense that we came in the same path regarding what my expectation and what their expectation on me and what I wanted and what they wanted. So it was very match in heaven in that sense.

Ben Henley-Smith (11:19):

Did it make it any easier for you to make a decision about working at A Million Ads going through Founders and Coders? In the same way that it made it easier for you to find a job there because naturally, they knew the type of people who would go through Founders and Coders. Because you were working with a company that was associated to the community, or you were considering working for a company that associated with the community. Did it make it any easier for you to get an inside view on what they were working on? Figure out whether this place was right for you?

Antonio Yankey (11:53):

Oh yeah. Yeah. Because as I said before, during the bootcamp each company wanted one of us. Came and then they did a presentation about the company, what they were doing, the objective. And in that sense, we really had the time to see what they were doing and what they were using. And even from the first presentation, you can see if a company by the way they speak, by the way they behave, everything that you can… It can transpire how good fit you will be for them, or they will be for you. So yes, in that sense, Founders and Coders with the structure that they had around this apprenticeship was very nice because you get really insight about where we were going to work in that sense.

Ben Henley-Smith (12:43):

If you were to go back all the way when you first decided to go to Founders and Coders. What would you do? Would you do it all again?

Antonio Yankey (12:56):

Oh yeah, definitely. I will not… I think I will never change anything I did in the last two, almost two years. Because it shaped me as a person. I met a lot of people and now I’m in a position where I’m very comfortable about my skills, my ability, and I’m doing something I like, so I will definitely do everything again. Actually, I will not going to change. I was going to say, I will put more [inaudible 00:13:27] but at the same time no because I put the right amount of effort and I feel like I didn’t have to put more or less. There was the sweet spot where everything was aligning perfectly for me. Meeting people, learning new stuff and grow as a person. So that was perfect. I wouldn’t change nothing. In that sense.

Ben Henley-Smith (13:55):

It’s been such a privilege learning and hearing about how joining Founders and Coders made such a difference in that moment. And you’ve done incredible things since then. That’s been wonderful talking. Thank you so much.

Antonio Yankey (14:12):

Thank you.



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