Background

I was a biologist before joining the Fellowship and did a BSc in Zoology and an MSc in Biology with the aim of having a career in the environment and conservation sector and/or doing a PhD and going into academia.

Why are you attending the Coding Fellowship?

The lack of opportunities and job security in conservation led me to consider an alternative career. As a scientist I always enjoyed working in front of a computer and consider that the day to day working environment of developing websites suited my approach to work and my personality. The job and career development opportunities, variety of work and open attitudes to change were all attractions for me in getting into web development and joining the course.

What role are you looking for after the Coding Fellowship? Where do you see yourself in the future?

In the short term I am looking to gain experience working as a junior developer and gradually develop my independence and skills in web development. Long term I would really like to be a contractor and work freelance or create something that would lead to me owning my own business.

What was your coding experience before the Coding Fellowship?

I had signed up to teach myself on a few platforms like treehouse and codeacademy but I hadn’t done much more than code in very basic HTML and CSS when I started.

What have you enjoyed most?

I really enjoy the way of working and the environment. DevelopMe is situated at the Paintworks in a very relaxed environment which is ideal for coding in, you are certainly not sitting in a busy office, quite the opposite! The knowledge that you are learning skills that will set you up for a great career with so many opportunities is quite motivating. Oli and Pete, the course leaders are very supportive and really help to put you at ease and give you confidence throughout. At the end of every week we have a one-to-two review with them so that you can discuss how you are progressing, any concerns you might have and they can give you feedback. This approach is invaluable.

What have you found hardest?

Coding requires a change in thinking and is quite different from reading and writing. I am developing my problem solving skills but sometimes practice and a lot of repetition is required before fully understanding something. The hardest part of the course so far has been the JavaScript and jQuery weeks. These weeks challenge your problem solving skills and way of thinking at the same time. I often knew how I would solve the challenges presented with a pen and paper but coding them structurally is a different challenge!

What advice would you give to someone thinking of attending the Fellowship?

Try out coding in your spare time to see if you like it. Codeacademy and FreeCodeCamp are good places to start. It really helped me to do a lot of research on the internet about web development and the opportunities within the industry. I also went on a practice evening with DevelopMe and discussed the programme with current students as well as investigating what positions they had following the Fellowship. You do not already need to be a ‘programmer’ or a ‘tech person’ to be a web developer. I did not have any kind of background in coding before joining the course.

Interested in becoming a web developer?

Attend a Coding Fellowship Introduction Evening taster workshop.
Download the Coding Fellowship information pack.
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