Tips for “Le Wagon” Bootcamp Grads from the Busbud Engineering Team

Two weeks ago, I’ve had the chance to attend the demo-day graduation of another great cohort of new grads from Le Wagon bootcamp  at La Gare community space in Montreal, which is next door to Busbud’s office.

The organizers also asked me to a short inspirational speech for young grads of the program. Here is what I said:

Photo courtesy of Le Wagon

Happy to be here today with you. In past years, I’ve shared some personal thoughts about the road ahead, the importance of engineering and science, and especially about how technology can we be a powerful tool for positive change.

This year, I’d like to try something new and share some thoughts from the developers on our team at Busbud. Collectively, they have more than a hundred years of experience building things and working in engineering at tech companies around the world.

While sitting together at our weekly happy hour on Friday evening recently, I asked our team members what were their greatest lessons learned and advice for new developers joining the ecosystem. I noted down their comments on my phone, raw and unfiltered. Here is what they said:

  1. Failure is your friend. You learn from it and grow. If you are not failing, you are not pushing beyond your capabilities of today and becoming better tomorrow.
  2. Stay curious. Ask “why?” or “why not?” whenever you can and then get the answer. Read voraciously, but keep in mind you “learn by doing”.
  3. Imposter syndrome is real, everyone feels it, you’re not alone. Opening up and sharing your thoughts with others when you feel it helps you get through it and can help others that are feeling it as well.
  4. You are never going to stop learning.
  5. Never sit with your back to the window in the office! Too much glare in your monitor.
  6. You are in the best business at the best possible time in the history of the world.
  7. Stock options can be overrated, depending on the company you join. Learn about how they work, and research companies carefully.
  8. Degrees don’t matter as much, you’ll get hired if you have experience building great things
  9. You’ll have the time of your life.
  10. Dogfood your product or service. Talk to the users of your product and empathize with them. Don’t try to guess what they think.
  11. Pay it forward. Helps others as you have been helped to get where you are.
  12. Technology is a vast landscape, choose a problem that you are passionate about and change the world.
  13. Beware of “Fear Of Missing Out” (FOMO). Just pick a tool/framework/language that you like, go build something and get better.
  14. Become a better communicator. Take a writing class or read a book on writing. So much of what we do is convey ideas through words to our peers, customers, and computers.
  15. Side projects are great for exploring and showcasing your skills. Real life hobbies (sports, music, etc) are important too!
  16. Follow a career path that you want to have, don’t let someone tell you what you are “supposed” to do next. It’s hard to fabricate passion and it’s your secret ingredient. If you are passionate you will succeed.
  17. Keep on going and enjoy the journey!

With that, go and be awesome! Make things with passion. And hopefully with time you will “make your own small dent in the universe”, as Steve Jobs once said. I’ll leave with you with a few more wise words of his:

“When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

If you want to learn more about Busbud, a global marketplace for intercity bus travel based right here in Montreal, check out our site and blog. And yes, we’re hiring people that want to make a dent in the universe with us! 🙂

To read more about Le Wagon’s demo day event, check out their recap blog post.