I’ve been followed Laura on Twitter and seen her coding journey from before she started a Bootcamp. One day I saw this tweet that she got a job. I thought wow! That was quick! Here is an interview with Laura how she did it. Enjoy!
Please introduce yourself
I’m Laura, in May 2020 (at the age of 29) I discovered programming and in August I decided to make the career switch, I attended the General Assembly Software Engineering course and was just appointed to a role in Developer Relations (DevRel) starting Monday 18th January 2021.
What is your background before changing a career to the tech sector?
Prior to discovering coding I was working as a Payroll Consultant - helping businesses implement payroll systems and make changes to existing systems to make their processes more modern and efficient.
Here’s an overview of my career history:
- Retail Assistant
- McDonalds Employee
- Care Worker
- Child Care Worker
- HR Administrator
- Accounts Assistant
- Payroll Administrator
- Payroll Consultant
What motivated you to learn coding?
Originally it was curiosity, I was bored in my work and started to look for courses to make my next career step. I had been looking at courses in Business Analysis and that afternoon an ad popped up on Facebook for a free 5 day coding course with Code Institute. I decided to enrol and by the end of the week I was obsessed.
I then started 100DaysofCode. I couldn’t get enough, I was coding whenever possible and by August I was so fed up of having to go to work 9 - 5 because all I wanted to do was code. I knew then that I needed to make the career switch and that’s why I decided to enrol at General Assembly.
How did you learn how to code?
I am going to be learning Ruby for my new role and I’ll go back to Codecademy for that.
How did you get your first job in tech and how did you prepare for an interview?
The CEO of the company reached out to me on Twitter and suggested I might be a good fit for the role. I applied and went through a 3 part interview process. The first 2 stages were just general chats with the hiring team and the 3rd stage was a presentation on their API, how it works and its benefits.
I’ve written more about the interview process and other interviews I had in this blog post
Do you have any tips for newbies?
- Keep going!
Coding is tough and there will be times you feel completely overwhelmed, that doesn’t mean you’re incapable. You’ll get there, it’s all about getting it to click. If you’re struggling with a particular concept try finding other guides to help you or try building projects that contain an element of it so you can see how it works in the real world.
- Don’t wait until you know everything to build
Following a tutorial as you build is good but the real learning starts when you go off book an attempt to build on your own. At bootcamp me and 2 friends all built a Space Invaders style game, none of our solutions were the same but they all worked as they were supposed to. In coding there’s rarely one correct answer so build, get stuck, debug - it’s all part of the learning process.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Coding can sometimes feel like a lot of banging your head against a wall, definitely try debugging and googling on your own first but then if you’re still stuck ask, the dev community (especially on Twitter) is super helpful.
What do you see yourself doing in the future?
That’s such a tough one to answer, I stopped thinking too far into the future a long time ago as it used to make me really anxious but I definitely see myself staying in tech, doing more public speaking and writing and eventually I would like to start some sort of club for children in my local area (especially girls) to teach them to code.
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