- What were you doing before joining Makers Academy?
I was a journalist and editor for 20+ years working on a variety of publications, covering politics and finance among other topics.
- What made you want to start learning to code in the first place?
Journalism is being transformed by web technologies and I found myself increasingly interested in the technical side of things rather than providing content. Also after 20 years in the trade I felt it was time for a new challenge.
- How did you come across Makers Academy and what made you decide to apply?
I heard about Makers Academy through a friend of mine who was involved in the Shoreditch tech industry a few years ago. It seemed ideal in terms of the curriculum and geared towards people with unusual backgrounds looking to change career.
- What did you find difficult during the course?
The second half was the hardest, grappling with frameworks like Rails and Angular. That part of the course was a bit hectic I thought, and I often felt a bit at sea. I think I'm instinctively more of a pure coder than a framework user, if that distinction makes sense. I'm sure it was the other way round for many others on the course though!
- What happened during/after graduation and where are you job-wise?
I hit the Christmas lull shortly after graduating so it was pretty slow. Spent a couple of months doing tech tests and applications. All the applications I made were via Makers. Accepted an offer at PensionBee in February and started there last week.
- How has your life changed since graduation?
It's busy! Been a while since I've had a fulltime 9-5 office job (as opposed to freelancing or doing shifts). Am thoroughly enjoying it though.
- What advice would you give to people thinking of changing career?
Do it! You won't regret it. Coding is a lot easier than people think it is and it's a profession with a future where your skills will always be in demand (the same alas is no longer true of journalism).
- What do you say to people who say £8000 is expensive?
You'll make the money back pretty quickly when you start work. Get a Careers Development Loan if you can. Though it would be good if Makers Academy offered more bursaries.
- What as your biggest worry before joining Makers Academy and how do you feel about it now?
That I wouldn't "fit in" in tech culture and that my unusual career background would count against me when jobhunting. But it turns out the tech industry is full of oddballs with unusual backgrounds, so this worry was more about my own private hang-ups than being based in anything objective.
- Sum up your Makers Academy experience
Exhilarating, intense, stimulating.