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Freelance Artist and Call Centre Advisor to Software Developer

Northcoders, sponsors of the Digital Skills Festival 2021, recently interviewed Tia - a Software Developer at Aire Logic - on her journey from Freelance Artist and Call Centre Advisor to Software Developer via one of their bootcamps.

How did you find your time on the bootcamp?

Initially I was worried about having to do the bootcamp remotely (due to the pandemic) as I wasn't sure if remote learning would work for me. However, that wasn't a worry for too long. In fact, it ended up being good practice for remote working which I'm doing now! I began the course with some basic knowledge of HTML, CSS and JavaScript, but otherwise I was a complete beginner to coding. I found the course very challenging throughout, but that meant that I was learning something new every single day. The most valuable thing about bootcamp for me was learning techniques like pair-programming and how to work on a team project.

What were you doing before the bootcamp and what made you apply?

Before Northcoders, I was a part-time freelance artist and full time call center advisor. I did this for around 8 years after university, but eventually I just burnt out and I didn't enjoy what I was doing. I decided to seriously consider a career change and, after some research, I realised that I really enjoyed coding. I found Northcoders online and spontaneously filled out the application form one night. The rest is history!

What was the support like on the course?

The support on the course was honestly really great. I mentioned before that I was worried about remote learning, but this didn't mean that we were lacking support. The tutors were very thorough in the lectures, and as they were live we could ask questions whenever we needed. Tutors were also just a Zoom call away if we needed help with anything.

How much support did you receive from Northcoders with your job search after the course?

There was a careers week halfway through bootcamp, and we had workshop sessions with the careers team during this time. These sessions included topics like the kind of companies we could work for, CV writing, portfolio tips etc. At the end of bootcamp, when we had completed our CVs, we were allowed access to the jobs board. On the jobs board were positions advertised by Northcoders hiring partners. The careers team would also organise live hiring partner talks which we could watch over Zoom, which was a really insightful way to find out more about an employer. I actually accepted a job that I applied for externally, after being approached on LinkedIn. However, it was reassuring to have the careers team there for support, as it can feel very daunting looking for your first tech job!

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about applying?

Explore if coding is for you first by trying out some exercises on places like freeCodeCamp and Codecademy. If you enjoy it, you'll feel like you want to keep doing more. There are so many great (and FREE!) resources out there to help you learn how to code. Youtube is full of talented people offering tutorials on every technical subject (Traversy Media and The Net Ninja are a couple I would recommend) so definitely check those out if you're starting to learn at home. However, bootcamp gave me that extra push I needed to grasp the difficult topics and learn how to collaborate with other people. Just remember that bootcamp is a full time commitment and it's really hard work at times when you're trying to understand new topics. However, you really do get out what you put in. If you feel excited about, then do it! There is no better time to change your life than right now.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Coming from an art and design background, coding and creating software feels like the most creative thing I've ever done! There are many different ways you can go in your developer career (frontend, backend, web, mobile, app, blockchain etc) however Northcoders will give you experience of full stack development, so you can gain some knowledge in all areas and get a feel for you enjoy most.

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