- What were you doing before joining Makers Academy?
I had been running a geomatics consultancy I setup a couple of years previous and I was looking to integrate more web / cloud / IoT techniques and deliverables in our portfolio and into our processes in general.
- What made you want to start learning to code in the first place?
Being in an industry constantly dealing with data, I had always had an interest in coding as a way to not be constrained by the software I was using and being able to solve the problems I was working on. Initially it was playing around with scripts in GIS software and their connected databases and then writing standalone programs for specific tasks. I loved the idea of web based technologies but had no idea where to start as it was much wider and more daunting than what I had tackled before.
- How did you come across Makers Academy and what made you decide to apply?
I attended a charity weekend hosted by Makers for Tech Bikers and found out about Makers then. The team were awesome and decided to try and find a way to do it around running my company. The first Remote cohort was advertised and this seemed like an ideal opportunity that was more feasible to me than re-locating to London at the time.
- What did you find difficult during the course?
Remembering to lift my head up and pickup the big picture once in a while, rather than focusing on the macro concepts of the day and hence not understanding how concepts fitted together. I didn’t do this often enough, the learning outcomes introduced later in the course helped me towards identifying this. I now find it very useful in accelerating my progression.
- What happened during/after graduation and where are you job-wise?
It became even busier! I re-joined the business and spent a few weeks doing all the company stuff that I had put off during Makers. At the same time I was keen to start using my new skills. We were just going into trialling a new virtual environment technology for geo-data communication, so I was able to set about an agile process to prototype a cloud delivery method that we now use in production, it was a real boost to have a real world project that was returning revenue in such a short period of time and one that combined my skills in the geomatics industry with my new coding skill set.
- How has your life changed since graduation?
I absolutely love the fact that I am now able to take ideas we have as a company and act fast on iterating these to prototype and potentially onto deliverable / product / tool. I've always had the sticking point before of being able to conceptualise the idea, but then struggle to know where to start on implementing it. The focus on Agile Methodologies at Makers along with the coding and the focus on Software Craftsmanship means I have some confidence that while junior at this I am building self documenting, maintainable codebases. It means I can bring outside developers in for senior support/guidance and eventually grow the team in-house without having to set about projects again from the start.
- What advice would you give to people thinking of changing career?
Ensure you enjoy coding, try it out - there are plenty of online resources & hopefully you’ll find a passion for problem solving. Then commit 100% to it. It’s an intense environment and you will need all your energy, effort and focus to get the most out of it.
- What do you say to people who say £8000 is expensive?
Look at what other training you can get for £8000, commercially it’s very little (I quite easily, in my industry, spend £300-£500 for technical training for employees per day), in terms of University £8000 doesn’t go far. Also why not investigate Remote for a lower cost option which is half the price!
- What was your biggest worry before joining Makers Academy and how do you feel about it now?
I was worried that stepping away from my business for 4 months would not be sustainable. It turns out that with the right planning and support it was probably one of the best things to do, as it gave me a new perspective and expanded the potential of the business.
- Sum up your Makers Academy experience
Intensive, Challenging and Highly Productive