Before I decided to take the leap into software engineering, I worked in the Arts sector as a customer insight analyst. I was interested in the field itself but had lost the excitement about my day to day work, I needed to make a change.
Initially, I saw coding as a means to an end, a way to up-skill and help me progress in my field. I thought that learning something new and challenging would help reignite a bit of excitement about my career.
It was only recently once I took some time to evaluate what I wanted, that I realised a recurring theme was that I kept coming back to coding. I was more excited about coding than my day job and enjoyed spending my lunch breaks and evenings learning to code, it just made sense to try and pursue this full time.
Aside from an interest in coding, there were other reasons why this field appealed to me. The level of innovation in the tech industry means that there is a huge scope to make a positive impact in all areas of society, from conservation to homelessness. The rate of change in the industry also means that you have to keep learning which keeps it interesting and stops you getting too comfortable — unless you want to. The potential to create or contribute to something amazing that can be used by a considerable number of people was also exciting. Tech companies also seem to have a great culture with a focus on self-development and potential for remote work.
I considered self-teaching but I know from past experience that I can get stuck watching endless amounts of tutorials — the amount of information out there is both a blessing and a curse if you are anything like me.
A bootcamp made sense to me as I liked the idea of being surrounded by people who are also determined to get to the same place as you and to also have the opportunity for another pair of eyes to look over your work — instead of getting stuck for hours upon hours on a trivial error in your code.
Makers in particular have a great reputation and have placed students at innovative companies. They also seemed to care about producing well-rounded developers that are equipped both mentally and technically. This isn’t going to be the kind of place where your hand is held — much like the working world, but you’ll learn how to solve problems and know when to ask for help. The yoga was also an added bonus!
Makers Academy Application
I applied while I was on holiday and waited nervously to find out if I would be invited to interview. I was beyond excited to hear that they liked my application and had been invited to a pair programming session. They sent over some material to help prepare for the interview and I have to say it was quite daunting — especially as I knew they were highly selective in the applicants that they accept.
I had around a week to prepare for the interview so began coding in the morning before work, on my lunch break and when I got home. They recommend completing Codeacademy’s Ruby track — this a free course that takes around 10 hours to complete. You should also try and reach 100 points on Codewars — I got around 70 points and 7Kyu. This was the most difficult part of the prep work but made me realise how great codewars is as a resource.
It was time! I went to the Makers Academy campus, saying I was nervous would be an understatement. I really wanted to get in so I had put a lot of pressure on myself to do well.
We started off with a bit of my background, talking about the coding I’ve done in the past and what my goals are. Then onto the logic questions, followed by pair programming challenges which were similar to codewars.
Looking back, the challenges weren’t as hard as codewars but I admit that I found it a bit tough. The pressure of someone watching every keypress is quite daunting.
After that it was over, and I was told that I should hear before the end of the following day, which was great. I knew that if I didn’t get in that I could try again but I wanted to get in now!
The next day was tough, I think I checked my emails every hour and was dreading my phone ringing. It was nearing the end of the day and I saw a missed call and thought I should check my emails again…Congratulations on your Pairing Session! (I might have read through the email a few times as I didn’t believe it at first).
To my relief and excitement, I was offered a place which meant I was officially taking the leap…but also meant that the hard work was just beginning!
I hope this was helpful in some way and wasn’t filled with too much fluff, I know when I applied I wanted to know as much as possible about the process.
If you want to read a bit more about Makers then check out their website.