Ryan, a self-taught junior developer from South Carolina, applied and was rejected by more than a hundred companies until he used Wilco. Before fulfilling his dream to become a developer, Ryan Olsen had been working in sales for 22 years. After becoming a father, he decided to reevaluate his career path, following the “you can do anything” advice from the books he was reading to his daughter. Ryan spent countless hours learning, doing courses, and working on his personal projects. He would jump from course to course based on the feedback he was getting and the recommendations he received from his friends.
Ryan even got his company to allow him to make some updates to their website as a side project (as long as he reached his sales quota, of course). When he decided to embark on the job hunting journey, while he kept getting rejected, he would also get some good advice on how to improve his situation: contribute to open-source projects, expose yourself to large codebases, etc. Another problem that became apparent is that he hadn’t worked with a team. The feedback was always “we don’t know if we have the time to teach you all of this”.
Ryan heard about Wilco on a live stream and immediately signed up. “Back then the platform was invite only. The moment I got approved, I went through the quests and worked on skills I really needed.” Ryan says. “From working with a large codebase, to team collaboration and frontend/backend interactions—I was able to learn how all these pieces interact, without the fear of breaking something.”
Ryan also used the Discord community to get feedback, hear ideas, and improve his communication skills. Once Ryan gained confidence by completing Wilco quests, he realized that not only had he improved his development skills and was more employable, but he now had a set of Pull Requests he could use to showcase his portfolio of work. From then on, he used the PRs he completed on Wilco to convey his skills.
Alongside his hard work, the many courses he took and his contributions to open source projects, Ryan credits Wilco for providing him with the skills necessary to get hired as a full-stack developer, a role he’s been at for the last month.
On Freund, Wilco Co-Founder and CEO: “Helping developers like Ryan is one of the main reasons Wilco exists, and is such a huge validation of its effectiveness. We are so happy for Ryan and are looking forward to have many more stories like Ryan’s to tell!”
"As I was interviewing, I could use Wilco to show that I worked in a large codebase. My entire Github repository was filled with my solutions to Wilco quests. I even showed Snack to my current employer during the interview process, so he could see I have the skills needed to work within a team. Wilco’s hands-on challenges don’t do much hand-holding, which forces you to think about the entire scope of the solution — from technical details to efficiency."