Bruno Silveira gazed at the endless row of houses awaiting him down the length of Dingelstädter Strasse, in Berlin, and his heart grew heavy. It was a late spring morning in April 2021, and his job was to ride a bicycle down that street and drop a letter or a package in every mailbox. As he leaned into the pedal, a light splattering on the back of his neck told him that it was also beginning to rain.
This was not exactly what he had dreamed of two years ago. When, in early 2019, he’d moved to Europe from Brazil, he was simply following his heart: in Rio de Janeiro he’d met and fallen in love with a German tourist called Maike, and after many weeks and months of tripping and Skyping, of pondering and wondering, he finally proposed, married her, and moved to the German capital.
“I studied some German in advance, but even so the language barrier was a big problem when I got here,” he says today. “In Brazil I had prepared myself to be a physical education teacher, but here I could not pursue that career path.”
Instead the first job he found was as a cook in a Korean restaurant, but after a year inhabiting a world of fried chicken and steamed vegetables, he decided to look for something else. That’s how he found himself working as a postman.
“I did the job for about one and a half years, cycling up and down Berlin,” he says in retrospect. “But it wasn’t what I wanted, really. I told that to my wife, too. I’d done a lot of physical jobs, and now I wanted something that would engage my brain rather than my body.”
Maike asked him what he was going to do, but Bruno already had an idea. “A friend had planted the thought in my head. I’d been out with him for a couple of drinks, and we were walking back from the bar late at night, under the lampposts of the Wedding district. He worked in backend development, and when I told him I was looking for something new, he suggested I consider a coding bootcamp.
“My first reaction was, ‘I don’t think I could do this, don’t you have to be really good at maths?’ But my friend reassured me that was just a myth, and also that the market for this sort of work was huge. When I discussed this with Maike, she also thought I could do well.”
And so, only three years after the life decision that shuttled him from one side of the world to the other, Bruno took another great life decision: he resigned from his job as a postman, signing up instead for a Full-Stack Web & App Development bootcamp.
“I started researching coding bootcamps, I wanted to make sure I found the best,” he says. “I ended up choosing WBS CODING SCHOOL when I saw that it had won a ton of awards. Also because I could finance the bootcamp through the Arbeitsagentur, rather than paying the whole thing out of my pocket.”
At the same time, Bruno knew that a bootcamp was far from a holiday – and in some ways even more challenging than delivering mail down Dingelstädter Strasse.
“The stuff I studied in the bootcamp was interesting, for sure, but it was also really intense. And I had never done any programming before, or even worked in any related field. I was very anxious at first, but one thing that helped was when I realized that many others in my class were in the same situation. We were a whole group of people who were not afraid of learning something from scratch.”
The bootcamp made for 15 weeks of gruelling full-time study, but Bruno never lost sight of his target. “When we met on the Berlin campus for the final project, the community manager gave me plenty of personal advice. He said that I should start sending CVs before even graduating, and I made it my mission to send five CVs every day. It worked, and I got my first two interviews in less than a month.”
Compared to the studying marathon he had just undergone, one of these interviews turned out to be pretty chilled. “I was contacted by a startup, and the project manager met me in jeans and sneakers. Fortunately the technical test they gave me was pretty easy – he assigned me a task using the React framework, which was exactly what the bootcamp had prepared me for.”
Not even one week went by, and Bruno was called back – he had his first job as a frontend developer!
“One of my biggest fears,” he says, looking back on his journey, “was that I would learn new skills but not find any use for them. In brief I was worried that the whole thing would be a big waste of time. But the reason I could start working so quickly was that the bootcamp had given me precisely the skills that I needed. I’m not saying that I have stopped learning since then, of course – but the way I started, I believe that was exactly the right way.”
Bruno has not completely stopped working in the world of correspondence, of course. But the mails he sends today are all electronic. And he will never have to deliver them on a bicycle again.