Before being accepted to the Winter Batch 2020 of Coding Bootcamp Praha, Petr Bělecký worked as a product manager in FMCG company Nutricia (part of Danone). Petr was responsible for the company's digital ecosystem consisting of websites, mobile application and other communication channels. He also had previous experience with audiovisual production and translation. Petr is 29 years old, a graduate of Film Academy in Písek, who also did Media Studies at Social Science Faculty of Charles University in Prague. We asked Petr about his experience and why he chose programming as his career path?

In your previous job, you were connected with external programmers and had a chance to be a part of website development from start to finish, was that the point where you fell in love with programming?

It was a rather gradual process. When I started a job, I knew close to nothing about websites or programming for that matter. But since I was in daily contact with programmers and other technology-savvy contractors I needed to adjust. I felt pretty embarrassed, discussing things I had very little knowledge of. So many of my evenings and weekends became filled with YouTube videos, Udemy courses, articles or anything, that would help me to level-up my technical knowledge. After some time I have even enrolled in Harvard computer science online course CS50.  More I have played with programming (or rather coding) the more I liked it. It took me approximately 3 years to realize I like it enough to dedicate my full time to it.

Why did you decide to go to the bootcamp instead of self-learning?

I have tried to learn on my own in many waves throughout the last 3 years. But since I still had my full time job, it was difficult to find enough long term motivation to spend my free time learning the things as deeply as I wanted. Also when you try to comprehend some advanced topics like computational complexity, memory allocation or pointers at 10 pm, you can tell it is not very quality learning. So when I decided to leave my job and switch careers I decided that a full time "school" format will help me to keep on track and learn as much as possible in a given time.

How did you prepare for the Bootcamp?

I went thoroughly through learning materials that were provided by bootcamp staff beforehand. I have spent some 150+ hours getting ready. I had felt that I dived into topics deeper than was necessary, but during bootcamp I have found out that preparation paid off, since I was able to digest some topics more easily.

What was the biggest challenge when you were studying here? 

The biggest challenge was to keep up with bootcamp tempo. In 3 months we were introduced to an amount of information that is worth at least a year of learning, I guess. So evenings and weekends dedicated to the revision of materials or practice were necessary to keep up. Another challenge was to not go down the rabbit hole. The more you know, the more you realize what you do not know. And you want to know everything, naturally. But the brisk bootcamp tempo and prepared curriculum help you to stay on the intended track. 

"Another challenge was to not go down the rabbit hole. The more you know, the more you realize what you do not know."

How was your experience at the bootcamp?

Great. Every day you find yourself in front of a challenging topic that you need to comprehend. Process of comprehension is fun but that feeling, when you finally understand it and you can use it, is truly awesome. Every day I was returning home admirably tired but very excited and looking forward to another day. 

Before the bootcamp you said you were very fond of Javascript. Has your opinion on tech stack preference developed since then?

I have always preferred the backend more. My initial motivation for learning how to code was an ability to use and understand data around us. I also wanted to know how to do proper styling or the semantic structure of a page, how a browser works and all the frontend stuff, but databases and working with data feels more useful to me. I am indeed very fond of JavaScript but to my surprise, I have started to like PHP also. It seems like an easy language compared to my previous experience with JavaScript. Both have their uses in backend development so I would like to be proficient in both of them. I would also like to add Python to my toolbelt in the future.

Is there any advice you would like to give to anyone who considers signing up for a coding bootcamp?

Go for it. If you are switching careers or you just want to broaden your skill set, I would recommend doing this bootcamp. You will learn things, you won't be able to learn on your own. Not in 3 months. You have a learning journey planned for you and lecturers and mentors at your disposal to guide through this journey. Also if you have any questions or doubts about enrolling, contact the bootcamp staff. They are very helpful to answer any questions you have.

"If you have any questions or doubts about enrolling, contact the bootcamp staff. They are very helpful to answer any questions."

How has it been going for you since the end of the Bootcamp?

Very well. I have dedicated some time for exploration of the Laravel framework and PHP itself more deeply. I also made myself familiar with CSS framework Bulma and JavaScript framework Vue, something I was eager to do for some time. I have applied the new knowledge in my practice in Wordwell - a word count tool project. Feel free to share feedback on this project, there's a feedback link there at the bottom! I have also started a new practice project with Laravel, but I am in very early stages.  

What’s your next step? 

I have been in contact with recruiters since bootcamp but I decided to actively apply for jobs only a few days ago. I have already some interviews scheduled so I am looking forward to joining one of the great teams that will help me grow.   


"I'd be glad if you shared feedback on Wordwell - a project I just developed. Check it out here!"