- What were you doing before joining Makers Academy?
I was a fresh graduate in Psychology considering my career options. I wanted to work in tech but was worried that I was being unrealistic given my background. I was having a hard time finding companies willing to train up a complete beginner, so I was considering doing something non-technical while teaching myself how to code.
- What made you want to start learning to code in the first place?
I've had a strong interest in tech from a young age, although I can't claim to have a history as a hacker. I taught myself enough HTML and CSS to make simple websites, and my experience in university helping societies with their websites made me realise that this was something I really enjoyed doing.
- How did you come across Makers Academy and what made you decide to apply to the programming course?
I came across a promoted tweet on Twitter from way back in November 2013. I saved it and emailed it to myself, and I still have that email! It was a giant stroke of luck that I was cleaning up old mail and came across it again roughly 3 weeks before the August cohort started. I had very little time to think about it but looking back it was a no-brainer. With exactly 3 months left on my student visa at that point in time, it would probably be my only opportunity to join Makers Academy.
- What did you find difficult during the course?
The intensity of the course was definitely hard at times, especially when you feel like you haven't quite grasped something but the next week and the next new concept are coming your way whether you like it or not! That said, I never felt completely out of my depth, and I knew I could count on my cohort and the coaches to help me out if I needed it.
- What happened during/after graduation and where are you job-wise?
Graduation was amazing! We'd been working on the project non-stop for two weeks and I know all of my team were really proud of it. It was a great feeling to be able to demo it and see the audience's enthusiasm about something that we made. The week leading up to graduation was tough for me as I was torn between preparing to leave the country and simultaneously juggling job interviews. I'm really happy that it all paid off, and I received a job offer on the Monday after graduation.
- What would you say to people who say £8,000 is very expensive?
£8,000 for three months of learning is expensive. On the other hand, £8,000 is also the approximate equivalent of the salary you could be earning as a developer in the same time frame of 3 months. I can't deny that it's a big investment, and it's one you have to think through yourself. For me, the resources and learning environment at Makers Academy made it worth it.
- What was your biggest worry before joining Makers Academy and how do you feel about it now?
I was mostly worried that I wouldn't be able to cope with the long hours. At uni, I was used to having a few lectures a week and being left to my own devices the rest of the time. As it turns out, although you are in the building for nine to twelve hours a day, Makers Academy operates on a similar schedule. I found that time flew by when I was engrossed in coding, and it was more of a struggle to get myself to stop thinking about code.
- Sum up your Makers Academy experience
I learnt a lot about pushing my limits, about working well with others, about what education should be like, and I also learnt how to code along the way.
- What advice would you give to people interviewing for developer roles?
Bring a laptop and be prepared to show examples of your code on the spot. Separately, I felt a little uneasy about the number of times I said "I don't know" during my technical interview, but in line with the other advice out there, it's better to be upfront about that (and be open to what the interviewer says after that!) than to pretend you know more than you do.