- What were you doing before joining Makers Academy?
I'd worked in the sports betting industry for a number of years, most recently as an integrity analyst.
- What made you want to start learning to code in the first place?
I love technology, so that was a good starting point. I did a lot of research into careers I could (realistically) change into that may suit both my skills and interests; and provide me with the work/life satisfaction I was looking for. I have ideas I may want to build into products in the future, and I want technical skills that are future-proof and location independent. Being able to code gives me all of this.
- How did you come across Makers Academy and what made you decide to apply to the programming course?
Targeted advertisements probably! Seriously, though, I was consuming a lot of resources related to career-changing, programming courses and the London tech scene. I'd been aware of a rival boot camp for some time but, having attended both a graduation and sat in on a lecture at Makers prior to my Makers interview, it felt like the place I wanted to be, and I was encouraged by the focus on industry best-practices, which I felt might set me apart in a competitive marketplace. I'd been trying to teach myself via online tutorials but I realised if I really wanted to make this happen I needed to throw myself into it 100% - "go big or go home"!
- What did you find difficult during the course?
A lot of things! I've never challenged myself mentally like this before and given that my previous education was some time ago too it was really hard to adapt to learning again. When you consider the intensity of a 12-week course in something you have no real prior knowledge of, and that Makers is not run in the traditional (archaic) education style, it was tough to keep up. Makers warn you about all of this but I wasn't comfortable 'failing fast and often', nor was I pro-active enough in getting the help and support I needed. As a result, managing myself and my emotions was a major part of the challenge, and I learnt a lot about myself. What I found easy was the supportive, friendly, open culture at Makers, I felt at home as myself from day one.
- What happened during/after graduation and where are you job-wise?
I was physically and emotionally drained after the final projects and the idea of having to go out into the real world and sell myself filled me with dread. I also graduated in the summer when hiring was really quiet. I had a few interviews but couldn't afford to hang around in London if one didn't come through, and as I also felt low on confidence I opted to take some time out to consolidate my learning. A couple of months later I restarted applying for jobs and secured one in just two weeks.
- How has your life changed since graduation?
I'm about to start my first job as a Junior Developer, and it's the most excited I've ever been about a new job in nearly ten years of employment. I'm happier, I've made new friends and strengthened existing relationships, and I'm passionate about becoming a good developer.
- What advice would you give to people thinking of changing career?
Don't be rash but do be brave. Research, ask questions, weigh up pros and cons and then DO IT! (and believe that you can). If your current career gives you the Monday blues consider how that might feel for another 40 years. If you want to work in an industry with cool, honest, intelligent people, where working environments are fun and job prospects are great then learning to code is an excellent choice. If you choose a bootcamp then set yourself up for success, be financially stable for several months after the course, shelve your other commitments for that period of time (this will need 100% of your time and energy) and give it everything you've got.
- What you say to people who say £8000 is expensive?
It's undoubtedly a significant sum of money but it's an investment in yourself. A Computer Science degree would set you back that amount each year, and Makers produces better coders. Within 6 to 12 months of starting the course most people are in a job earning money, and for me I'm earning more than I did in my last career in my very first job, with dramatically better earning potential if I keep improving.
- What was your biggest worry before joining Makers Academy and how do you feel about it now?
I worried I was being ridiculous to think I could achieve this, that I wouldn't get a job afterwards and that I'd end up worse off than I was when I was miserable in my uninspiring previous career. I made myself publicly accountable by quitting a job and telling all my friends and family what I was doing, and I took a considerable financial risk. The support I got during the process and the words of congratulations I got having secured a job made it worth the struggle, and then some. I've proved to myself that I do have the ability, and most importantly the drive and determination to succeed, and that makes me immensely happy and proud. Like the majority of the workforce a lot of my friends are unhappy in the jobs they do, so hopefully my achievement will encourage them to break out of their comfort zone and make a change too.
- Sum up your Makers Academy experience
An epic challenge, great fun, personally and professionally rewarding and unforgettable.