A Retrospective Look at the Interview and Precourse

Time at Makers is flying. It’s now week 5 and we’ve finished our basic Ruby curriculum and been left to tackle JavaScript. Incidentally it’s also the time where we start our migration from being Junior Makers to Seniors and have our own mentees! As a result, I’ve ended up recalling some of my experiences, and with a bit more wisdom, understanding and thethe benefit of hindsight under my belt, I thought it was an opportune time to look at the overall process from application to starting the main part of the course.

The Application

The initial application to Makers is pretty self-explanatory. Aside from providing some personal information, you have the opportunity to tell the onboarding team why you want to attend Makers and what experience you’ve had of coding so far. This blog post from MA themselves gives you a little insight in to what is expected from your application.

"Submitting a considered, legible application tells us you’re serious about wanting to spend a significant amount of money on a career change."

Lesson 1 - proofread, spell check and get someone you trust to read through it as well.

There was a pretty quick turnaround from submitting my application to getting a response (around 24 hours). I think I was lucky, but hopefully you won’t have to wait long until you find out if you’ve been invited for an interview.

The Interview

This isn’t worth overthinking. The format was exactly as it said on the email and took as long as it said it would be scheduled for. There are three main sections:

  • Introduction : straightforward introductory questions looking at motivations for doing the course, hopes for after the course, how the pre-interview learning has gone.
  • Problem-solving questions : for a rough idea of what to expect, check out this article on the Telegraph.
  • Pairing : please give yourself enough time do the prep work and go through chapters 1-8 of Chris Pine and the Ruby Codecademy course. A lot of the material overlaps, so it's less work than you think and at least you can walk into the interview knowing that you've come across the tools required to solve any problem that comes your way.

That said, if you’re like me, it’s not enough for a current student to tell you it’s all going to be fine and no one’s trying to trick you. So if you feel the need to build up some more confidence, here’s what I found helpful, but by no means necessary:

  • Reading MA graduates' and current students' blogs
  • Codewars - gets you used to tackling problems you haven't seen before. Don't stress out when your answer isn't all condensed into one line - a lot of those responses are BAD CODE!


If all goes to plan, you’ll find yourself on the PreCourse! Week 2 of the PreCourse is the most challenging by far, both in terms of the jump in learning and also volume of work. Get yourself involved in the group chat on Slack and share your problems, websites you found useful, or even better, organise to meet up and work together.

If you find yourself with some extra time and wondering what else you could do to help prepare you for the course, here’s what I’m glad I did and what I wish I’d done.

Things I’m glad I did:

  • Appreciated my downtime! You won't get much of this when the course kicks off properly!
  • Typing practice (TypingClub , TypeRacer , Typing.io are all useful resources)
  • Codecademy HTML/CSS (you mostly teach yourself this stuff on the course)

Things I wish I’d done:

  • Familiarised myself with HTML/CSS frameworks such as Bootstrap
  • Watched some videos based on object-oriented design in Ruby on Youtube. Much easier than reading!
  • Not get so wound up about being at 'behind'. It all levels out eventually :)

I hope that’s helpful information. Feel free to reach out to me if you’re interested in Makers or have any questions about my experience.