During the Coding Bootcamp Praha, students undergo several full day hackathons. They are assigned a complex real-world case with expected results, which they try to complete. The goal is to leverage their unique problem-solving approach in reaching a common goal. This way, they can share ideas, inspire one another and figure things out in a new way.
Hackathon projects are challenging. Students create computer games, program a ticket aggregator or build a CRM database. When stuck, they have mentors for help. One of the pros we regularly invite is Daniela Zelinková. She is a Coding Bootcamp Praha graduate and works as a React front-end developer for Rohlik.cz.
Danka, this is not your first time here. You graduated from Coding Bootcamp Praha yourself in the very first batch.
Yes, it has been three and a half years.
How did your programming journey start? What did you do before joining Bootcamp?
I had studied Social Politics at Charles University, along with working as a bartender. But I enjoyed neither. Back then, I attended a few of coding workshops, I enjoyed it but knew very little. So I decided to study from the beginning. But I do not like to study on my own, I prefer an intense supervised education. I saw a post about the Coding Bootcamp Praha, so I signed up.
What motivated you to start coding?
I needed a life change. When working at the bar, I did not enjoy talking to people. IT seemed like an environment where I would have my serenity. When I attended the workshops, I loved seeing the results of my work right away. Initially, I wanted to focus on the backend, data and logic rather than design. But starting with CSS and HTML made finding a job easier so that I could eventually get into more difficult topics. The great thing about Rohlik.cz is I am a part of something that helps people have a simpler life.
Was it difficult getting a job after bootcamp?
When I started my studies, a friend of mine returned from Australia and got a job at an HR company which outsources IT specialists to other companies. So we met, talked a bit and she offered to help me get a job when I finished the program. I went to several interviews myself but did not like the jobs. Eventually, she arranged an interview with Rohlik.cz. I started working there a week later.
It has been now three years that you work for Rohlik.cz. How was it to start working as a female programmer in a majority male environment?
It felt weird at first. There are many girls at Rohlik.cz these days. But in the beginning, there were only four of us in IT, which the guys weren´t used to. They were quite standoffish, but it shifted soon when they realised we were capable of doing the same job :)

What interesting things are you doing at Rohlik.cz in general?
In our team, we create a frontend for the Rohlik site, using technology, for example, React, Redux, Next ... The interesting thing about working at Rohlik is that I can participate in projects from start to finish. I can contribute, along with other departments, not to code the page, but can affect the entire process from start to finish.

Did you choose a specific approach in your education?
The most important thing for me is to understand how it works. Without understanding in-depth, I am not able to remember it. But once I understand it, it can be derived from other functions simply. So I always try to understand exactly what is happening in the background, so the whole code makes sense.

How do you educate yourself there at work?
We have a library full of interesting literature and the opportunity to attend various training courses. Also, my manager often gives us videos and articles that we should see or read.

Do you have a mentor?
Our Senior Reactor and Manager are my mentors.

When someone is mentoring you, what helps you the most?
It helps me when they show me how they imagine a solution to the problem, and then I can work on it.

You accepted the invitation to mentor our students. Do you enjoy teaching?
When I started to code, I did not enjoy learning on my own. I wanted to have someone to ask for advice. That is my role here now, to help others who might be struggling and to remind myself of things I do not use that much anymore.

Do you also teach elsewhere aside from mentoring here at the bootcamp?
We are quite busy at work and are currently looking to hire front-end developers. So I dedicate most of my time to that. I also recently returned from Ibiza, from where I worked remotely from for half a year. I am trying to move more towards back-end coding, so I plan on being a student again myself.

Before we finish, what advice can you give our students?
I believe the reason I progressed so fast in coding was that I did not ask for help with everything I was not sure of. I always tried to find the solution on my own first. When someone taught me a new command, I wrote it down and tested it right away to understand it. Me asking someone for help was usually the last option left. Because when you get used to people giving you the answer right away, you never learn to think on your own. Let yourself solve problems. Solving problems on your own is 90% of the developer´s job. It helped me become independent and get a job with Rohlik.cz. No one knows all the functions and commands by heart. We all search for them. 

Thank you, Daniela!