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In this series we profile recent graduates who landed a job at a startup, either right after graduating or after a long and tough quest. This week we profile Sarith Breedijk, who is now a Web Developer at digital design agency Superhero Cheesecake after doing a course in Full Stack Web Development at the New York Code + Design Academy which is part of the B. Startup School Amsterdam. BSSA offers courses to graduates where they can learn skills that are in high demand at startups and tech companies.
What did you study and what did you want to do after graduating?
I studied Media & Entertainment Management with the idea of becoming a graphic designer or working in the audiovisual industry. After graduating it turned out to be rather hard to find a relevant job, as companies were either looking for interns or for people with tons of experience. What didn’t help was that the InHolland School where I graduated just got a bad rep in the news. In ended up working in retail at a department store for a while.
But on your linkedin profile it says though did a 6 months program focused on Chinese language, culture and history. You even studied some Chinese! Doesn’t that make every company want you straight away?
I learnt a bit of Chinese, but not enough to say I have full working proficiency. After working in retail I became an account manager, so I stayed in sales-type roles. I still wanted to work in the creative industry and I was looking for a course that could get me there. My girlfriend introduced me to BSSA and we went to an introduction day together. Ironically enough she ended up not signing up while I got really excited to participate.
What unique skills did you learn at the B. Startup School?
Was it hard to find a job after graduating from this course?
I had some interviews quite shortly after graduating, but initially still ended up speaking to companies who preferred an intern. I was 26 and had bills to pay, plus also had to pay off my course, so I couldn’t accept an internship. Then the head front-end developer of a big well-known Dutch company that I had an interview with tipped me off about Superhero cheesecake.
And the rest is history I understand? So is Superhero cheesecake a startup or not??
Superhero cheesecake is not really an actual startup, but it is one of the top digital design companies. We are rapidly growing; when I started half a year ago I was their 24th employee, since then 10 others joined. I work as a Front end developer, which basically means I get ‘static designs’ delivered to me, either by my colleagues from the design department or directly from the customer. I then reproduce the code so that it is displayable on the web. Afterwards I add animations to make it all look great and interactive. Superhero cheesecake is specialized in high-end animated websites.
As a junior developer, is it not hard to compete with all these senior it-nerds that you no doubt have at a digital design company?
Not all, our company makes sure to always have a mixture of senior developers with some junior ones as well. When you get too many male senior developers in the one place they tend to start showing off to each other, you get too much macho behavior. Therefore it’s really beneficial for companies to have junior developers as well in order to maintain a positive working environment.
What advice do you have for other students or graduates who are looking for jobs?
What would you say to graduates who are considering signing up for a course at the B. Amsterdam Startup School?
It may be a big investment with three full months of your time, but if you do it the right way it can really lead to a career change. I only wrote code for the first time in my life in April, now I am a Fullstack Web Developer!