After working in real estate and insurance, Etienne chose to shift to web development
Can you tell us about your background, Etienne?
I attended a technical high school while I was a teenager in the suburbs of Tours, France. I earned a BTS (brevet de technicien supérieur or vocational training certificate) in the building sector to become a construction economist. Afterward, I continued my studies and took on a job in real estate diagnosis before spending a few years working in the estimation of jewels and valuables in the insurance sector. I moved around a lot, working in Tours, Angers, and Nantes.
What made you decide to switch?
I realized that I didn't like this job, and that I wasn't comfortable and fulfilled in what I was doing, and that I had taken the wrong path. The work environments I was in were relatively confining.
One day, a friend dropped by my home and told me about his web development training. I saw he was happy and fulfilled. He made me discover the world of computing and web development. After he raised my curiosity, I did some career research and discovered that it wouldn't involve IT alone, but also my practical, pragmatic, and scientific sides, as well as my curiosity, which fits in with developers' skills. This job corresponded totally to my aspirations and knowledge. I then weighed the pros and cons, and in 2019, I made the leap.
At the time, my wife and I were living in Nantes (France) and we wanted to return to Tours. When we saw that there was a Wild Code School campus there, we decided to make the move. That's why I called Wild Code School and enrolled in the September 2019 session!
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After your training course at Wild Code School, how did it go for you? Did you find a job quickly?
I had the fortune of landing a good internship and working with passionate and very competent people. Kudos, Monkey Tie!
I took a few weeks off after my internship, and when school started, an opportunity came up. For the record, I was browsing Facebook and realized that when you click on your profile picture, a whole menu opens up, including a "jobs" menu. I applied in the evening at 8pm to a job offer for the French Army as a webmaster/web developer, and they called me the next morning at 9 am. I had my first contact with an officer and an interview with six or seven people.
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After his training course, Etienne became a web developer for the French Army
Where do you work today, and what are the projects you work on?
I work for the Army as a temporary web developer: I develop an internal website available for all the enlisted men of the base. It was a big challenge because I went from a beginner to an independent developer! You have to know how to sacrifice yourself to progress.
At the beginning, it was necessary to frame requests, needs, and desires of everyone. So, I simply made a model from which I started to develop my application. I have the task of building the website, but I'm there as well to apply the customer's requests, and the customer must be able to envision the new website, how it will work and what features it will include.
Did you encounter any particular difficulties?
Not particularly. When we left Wild Code School, we saw a lot of things in five months, but it was really intensive, and we of course realized that we didn't know everything. You have to keep learning, and that's yet another thing Wild Code School taught us. You have to keep on being curious—not dwell for too long on your achievements—because you always have much more to discover.
Working for the Army, do you see any differences from other sectors?
No, absolutely not. Each client is necessarily different and has different expectations. You just have to guide them on the right practices and methods and try to involve them as much as possible in their project so that they stay interested, and so that we can exchange easily and efficiently.
However, the Army has specific security concerns, including components that need careful consideration. For example, there's the exchange of mobile devices and thumb drives! You have to be careful, because there are indeed ways to do this, and it's a great challenge that I was looking forward to!
A look back at his experience at Wild Code School
Going back to Wild Code School, do you have any major moments from your experience you can share with us?
What I liked was that we helped each other out. And the good thing is that there was still unity: we were all there to sweep away our previous professions and give us a common future.
Every time there were parties for events like Halloween and Christmas, everyone more or less played along. It was very dynamic and motivating!
Do you still communicate with other alumni from Tours?
Yes, I have a lot of interaction with other alumni—especially from my graduating class. We tend to meet up from time to time to discuss how things are going, what has changed since the end of the course, how things are going at work or in our professional lives in general... So yes, we stay in touch, and that's really important!
Do you have any special advice for current or future Wild Code School students?
Above all, don't be afraid, and find time to work, learn, and understand the basics. This is all very important because afterwards, things progress mega-fast, and you have to take the time to learn. Once you've acquired the skills, everything is fine!
Finally, do you have one last thing to share with us?
For Wild Code School's little pink notebook: I'll soon be a father of not one but two!