Self Study Helps Law School Graduate Become a Software Engineer at Amazon

Self Study Helps Law School Graduate Become a Software Engineer at Amazon

Don’t worry: It’s possible to crack the Amazon job interview as a software engineer if you didn’t study computer science.

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After graduating from law school, a change of heart prompted one user on the professional social network Blind to pursue a career as a programmer. The decision and consequent hard work resulted in a 100,000-euro-a-year job as a software engineer at Amazon in Europe.

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This is the story of how one new programmer landed a job offer as a software engineer at Amazon without a formal engineering education, according to the firsthand account posted on Blind.

Is it possible to get rejected from a coding bootcamp?

After deciding not to pursue a career in law, the law school graduate sought out coding bootcamps to learn how to become a programmer. Unfortunately, a bootcamp for Java backend engineers rejected the Blind user before they could even take the online coding exercise.

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“They straight eliminated me. I’m guessing [it’s] because I’m not [a] cs student,” recalled the user, referring to having a completed computer science degree.

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“How am I supposed to find a job while I can’t even get into a bootcamp?” asked the prospective engineer on Blind.

What are the alternatives to coding bootcamps?

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Studying computer science or attending a coding bootcamp are not the only ways someone can become a software engineer.

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For some hopeful engineers, self-study might be a viable option.

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“Boot camps suck,” a verified American Tire Distributors professional on Blind advised the law-school graduate. “You need to network IRL [in real life] to get your entry level job. For education, use free online resources and focus on work that precisely targets the tech stack that local employers use and prepare sample work that is very polished (quality over quantity).”

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Before the Amazon interviews, the self-made software engineer independently studied 200 coding problems of varying difficulty, including 75 problems recommended by Blind users, and practiced company-specific questions on the online programming resource LeetCode.

The importance of the projects section on the Amazon job application

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The Amazon software engineer credits their success to the three projects completed before the job interview.

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“In the projects section, I had a simple e commerce backend project,” explained the engineer.

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“Simple backend with crud,” referring to code with the basic operations to create, read, update and delete.

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“It had register/login, create/ update product, upload files to S3, and adding/ removing items to cart. Didnt have payment or order tracking etc.”

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The second project on the job application was a “Whatsapp clone [without] backend” and featured only a user interface.

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The final project was a “social media app like facebook,” which included the backend or architecture of a mobile app. According to the entry-level software engineer, it took one year of part-time coding to complete. “In my interviews we mostly talked about this project,” the programmer said.

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Also published on Teamblind’s blog

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