Yuliya Khilko’s sheer tenacity is striking. Whether moving overseas or getting a master’s in chemical engineering, her drive has made her unstoppable. But after getting the degree, she chose to put her career on hold. The catalyst? She had a newborn son.
When she decided to get back to work as a new mother, her pluck was the same, but her priorities had changed. Now, she wanted flexibility, security, and better pay.
Here’s how TripleTen helped her switch to tech to check every single one of those boxes.
A basis of expertise
Yuliya wasn’t exactly starting from zero. After she graduated from a biotech engineering program, she and her husband moved to California. There, looking for advancement, she started studying for a master’s degree in chemical engineering. This gave her skills that were much sought-after in Silicon Valley. Soon enough, she’d landed a job as a research associate at a biotech startup.
But something else was demanding her attention: her newborn son. So, instead of pursuing the job, she decided to focus on motherhood. “It was a hard decision to make,” she recalls, “but having a two month-old child meant we had to either hire a nanny or ask someone from our family to come from overseas to babysit him.”
So for nearly two years, Yuliya prioritized looking after her child. Then, a random conversation sparked something in her. “There was this party at my husband’s office, and we were talking to his colleague who used to be a musician. He said he went to a coding bootcamp and became a front-end developer”.
I thought: what am I afraid of? I should try it as well. Yuliya Khilko, TripleTen Grad
She started looking into tech. As she found out more, she was also attracted by the better income and job security. “I realized that if I made this step, I’d be able to work in any industry. Devs are needed everywhere.”
So she started with free online courses, but she felt like she needed a more structured approach. That’s when she began to consider bootcamps. The thing was, with a toddler on her hands, she couldn’t dedicate twelve hours a day to studying. She needed something part-time. That was when she found out about TripleTen in a Women Who Code newsletter.
Yuliya joined an intro course, and she was sold. It was just what she had been looking for.
Expanding her capabilities
At the beginning of her time with TripleTen, she would send her kid to daycare. That would give her a chance to focus on the tasks she had to complete. These tasks were given out in two- to three-week sprints. During these periods, she had a list of things to learn and assignments to hand in, but how and when she approached them was up to her. For her, this meant diving in while her husband and kid were out.
But that changed during the pandemic. She couldn’t rely on daycare anymore. Instead, she’d work while her son was asleep or take shifts with her husband. “I would lock myself in the study as soon as my husband was done with his work. I studied CSS at night because I really wanted to finish the course.”
Because the course was part-time, she kept up.
I liked that they stretched the course to ten months, unlike other bootcamps. They realize that people have other things to do — they work, care for their children or something. Yuliya Khilko, TripleTen Grad
It wasn’t just the flexibility, though. She also appreciated how TripleTen encouraged her to be creative when tackling new assignments. “I liked that I didn’t just sit and do one tutorial after another. You apply your knowledge, but nobody tells you how to do it exactly, either. They give you tips, but you need to think really hard to do everything by yourself from start to finish.”
A new chapter
With her studies coming to a close, Yuliya joined TripleTen’s career track. Experts helped her shape her resume and craft a compelling portfolio. With these tools in hand, she started networking. “I tried to be present everywhere — I joined Facebook and LinkedIn groups, looked for opportunities, messaged my friends who worked at startups. Sometime later a recruiter messaged me on LinkedIn, I think because my activity made my profile more visible to other people.”
They were from lululemon, a leading North American sportswear retailer. After that, the recruitment process was a whirlwind.
The process went very fast. They hired me in two weeks, de-facto after my third interview. Yuliya Khilko, TripleTen Grad
A key thing that helped her stand out? Her portfolio. “One of their questions was to describe my work experience or the parts of my work I’m proud of. When you have a portfolio, you can rely on it and say you’ve built an application. So I told them I developed an app, did the front and back parts myself, and deployed it to the server myself.
“Because no matter how beautiful your code is, a recruiter can’t have a look at it. Yet they will look at your portfolio, and if they see a beautiful design that works, and if they like it, then your resume will land onto the stack that will be moved to the next round.”
Now, she’s been working at lululemon as a software engineer for over two years. She’s enjoying the flexibility, security, and real-time feedback of a job in tech. “In research, I could be carrying out an experiment for a week and have no idea if I was doing it right. Here, I instantly see the result. That’s very important to me.”
Our pitch to you
If you, too, are looking for a part-time bootcamp that will help you land a more flexible and rewarding career, then TripleTen can help. Find out more about our bootcamp and stay in-the-know about launching a great tech career by signing up for our newsletter below.