Adventures in Coding

07 December, 2017

I have been coding now for just under a year and it's been amazingly crazy and has actually changed my life for the better. I have read a lot of articles on medium and the internet about how you can learn to code in a few months and land a dream job etc etc and blah blah blah, but it's all true. The last ten months to be precise prove that this is true and I thought I'd share my story.

So I began coding in February 2017 after working nearly ten years or more as a customer services phone agent I thought it's time to try something new and widen my knowledge. I found computing interesting and started to look around my local area for colleges that provide evening classes and located Brighton MET’s ‘Introduction to HTML, CSS & JavaScript’ course on-line while on a “legitimate” coffee break. I signed up and started to learn the basics every Thursday evening for eight weeks.

It was great to be back in the classroom again with people similarly minded who want to learn and improve themselves. Eight weeks flew by and I continued studying by enrolling for the ‘PHP & MySQL’ course straight after as it seemed interesting and I think I had re-caught the learning bug. After all the theoretical learning I thought this is all good but if I don’t actually continue to use these new skills I might lose them, so I once again hit the internet looking for groups that provide further mentor-ship and guidance in learning and using code.

I then came across Codebar Brighton an organisation created for under-represented communities in tech and they have been an amazingly great force for good and helped me grow massively to get to where I am today. Codebar provides a safe space to learn coding from HTML, CSS and Javascript to python languages and also provide help with personal projects that you may need help on. The on-line tutorials are free and easy to follow and tutors who work within the tech community give up their time to help people learn for free. Also free Pizza!!

I started with my own personal project as I knew to become a web developer I would need to create a portfolio and I had started to create a very basic website from my Brighton MET skills which had an about me section and projects and contact details. When I say basic it was very basic and I was stuck with getting some of the CSS correct and making sections and images sit correctly where I wanted to have them sit. My tutor sat with me and guided me through what needed to be done to fix the issues and made the whole experience really easy and enjoyable. To be able to learn something I believe you need to enjoy yourself, which then builds upon the passion to learn and also helps new knowledge stick in your mind better.

After a few weeks the page was done and I started to move on to more complex JavaScript tutorials. I have been to conferences that I never thought I'd ever go to and have met some amazingly clever and fun people. Weekend Codebar events have also been amazing and being able to learn and have fun is the key, which Codebar just seems to do so easily and the organizers put in such a great effort to welcome and create an amazing space to work, learn and grow. Please find them @ www.codebar.io

So after only ten months of learning, making errors, fixing errors, finding more errors and maybe some tears, I plucked up the courage to apply for junior web developer jobs. I have had rejections which is always going to happen with applying for work and when I have received rejections I have always asked for feedback and worked on that to improve myself more. I have always been honest about my skills when applying for roles and how much I know and also know when to say up front and honestly “I don’t know this, but I am willing to try and learn”. I now have been accepted for a position and looking to start a new job as a Junior Web Developer in the new year and I am so looking forward to saying goodbye to customer services forever.

As my first post I hope this is helpful and please feel free to reach out.