From Web Academy to Web Agency: Surviving a School to Work Transition

I spent almost a year looking for a job after my bachelor’s degree. Coming out of university, I opted to join a front-end bootcamp to improve my skills and have the chance to meet more people in the tech industry. It’s a journey that I am grateful to have taken. It strengthened my ability and my belief that I could land a “dream job” in web industry and I met some wonderful people along my journey. A year later, here I am already with 3 months of experience working at a web agency. These are my experiences transitioning from the college life to a 9-to-5 job. Parts of the transition can be stressful, but it can also be much easier to make the leap if you come prepared, so here are 3 recommendations if you’re about to go through it.

1. Taking care of your body is taking care of your career:

No matter if you are looking for that first job or you are in the first few weeks of your career, it is so easy to neglect your diet, your exercise routine and your body in general. Your career is much more important at the moment in your mind and you put almost all of your effort into it. Poor diet and inconsistent sleep schedule are the worst. Remember you won’t have the ability to miss a class or wake up late anymore, so eating and resting well will have a crucial impact on your health and work productivity.

Recently, I started cycling to work. It’s a short 10 km ride from my place in Vancouver to the SplitMango office in North Vancouver. It helps me to boost my energy level for my workday and I feel more productive throughout the day. Assuming it is a reasonable distance, biking to work is a great way to exercise without even trying because you have to commute to work everyday anyway.

2. Learning doesn’t stop here:

No matter how many times you hear no, something WILL eventually work out and you will get a job. During your time of job search and application, continue to find things to learn, especially if you plan on working in the tech industry. Everything changes so fast, staying relevant is so important, even after you land the job. The additional skills and knowledge could be important to make the next big step in your young career and separate you from other job candidates. I have learnt so much from every project that I’ve been assigned to at work that I wasn’t expecting to. It could be as small as paying attention to the finest of details in my own work or it could be a whole new framework or programming language. One of the most effective ways to grow as a professional is to take on projects you haven’t done before or those that challenge you.

3. Embrace any difference:

Once you get your job, the next step is to adapt to the new workplace environment. Remember you won’t receive a grade on any of your work, but the quality of your work is still expected to be your best. If you make a mistake do your best to help fix it, learn from it, and don’t make the same mistake again. Clients will always expect your work to be flawless because they pay for it. In web development, that means I have to deliver websites that look great, are user-friendly and functional for the client. Listening to your colleagues advice and asking for help when you need it can help you build a productive relationship with your coworkers and contribute to developing your identity in the working environment. There will be many changes from your daily habits in college, some smooth and others more challenging. Embrace each one of them because this is your new life!

After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your career won’t be either. Take care of yourself and be ready to put your best work forward. Job opportunities come and changing your daily habits will happen over time. Hopefully you’ll land a great first job and enjoy it like I do.


story written by Duy Tran