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Into Tech + Beyond: Jeff's Journey from Hospitality to Web Developer

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Published

22 Apr 2018

Segment

coding starters

Duration

8 minute read

An CLI app that I built for my first major project in Coder Academy using plain Ruby

Ever wondered how switching profession at mid-career would feel like? Yep, that is what I did. And trust me, it is an uneasy situation to be in, because of all the unknowns in the path ahead. Will I ever break into the industry? Will employers give me a chance? Am I too old to do this? No one would be able to yield definite answers for that. One thing is for sure, and that is I have to put in tremendous amount of effort to make this goal a reality.

In early 2018, I made a life-changing decision — I enrolled into Coder Academy, a coding bootcamp college. Nevertheless, the journey started well before I became a student at Coder Academy. And like most decisions in my life, there are a couple of reasons I decided to start my journey into tech.

The previous jobs that I had mostly revolved around the hospitality and retail fields — barista, bartender, shelf stacker, you name it. I don’t really hate these jobs, to be honest, and in fact, I considered myself lucky to be in the workforce, to be able to earn an income to provide shelter and food for my family. For that I am grateful.

However, after years of grinding at these jobs, I have discovered that I desired to get something more out of my career. I needed growth, which I can’t get from these jobs. I craved to perform tasks that are more challenging than making coffees. I am fully aware that in order to achieve that, I need to crawl out from my comfort zone.

But where to?

Thinking back to when I was a little kid, I was always fond of video games and computer programs. As a teenager, I possessed a strong interest in coding and programming. Things would have been different if I were to pursue tertiary studies after high school, but it turns out that I couldn’t afford college because of family reasons. And because I started working odd jobs straight after high school, these plans were well deserted from the back of my head.

Now, things have changed. After a few years of working and saving, I finally have the flexibility to pursue a profession that I long dreamed of. At this stage, I realised that I am more than ready to switch career. After some extensive research, I found that the profession of software developer is precisely what I am looking forward to become.

The seed has been planted. The fire in my heart has been ignited. Now bestowed on me are the routes of formal education that I need to choose, in order to gain enough knowledge and skills and experience to break into the industry.

There are two paths that I can embark on — sign up for a traditional university or join a coding bootcamp. From what I have explored, traditional university typically does very well on teaching fundamental subjects of computer science such as algorithms, time complexity and data structures; whereas coding bootcamps routinely focused on utilising the latest technologies as well as providing its students with hands-on programming experience.

Coder Academy presents a unique opportunity — they offer a guaranteed internship in the last term as part of the course and they are the only accredited coding bootcamp in Australia that awards a nationally recognised qualification upon completion. This seems to sealed the deal for me, and I quickly found myself going through the enrolment process including a one-on-one interview with the school admission officer. Finally, I received my offer letter and all that was left for me to do was to undertake preparatory study right up until I began the course.

The first day of the course brought me the feeling of excitement mixed with nervousness. When everyone arrived, I looked around and there were about 20 of us, eager to find out how this journey will unfold. Pleasingly, everyone in class is extremely friendly and after some introduction session, we found ourselves getting to know each other and working together in no time. We were off to a great start, and this road to tech became a journey that we are treading together now.

Currently, I am in the midst of the course, indulging myself with programming and code challenges. The course itself is a good 40 hours per week, plus all the meetups, events and hackathons that we are encouraged to participate outside of teaching time. What I am trying to do is to fully immerse myself in this endeavour, working as hard as I possibly can to achieve my goals. Whenever I have spare time, I code, solve problems, improve my previous projects, learn new frameworks, read a textbook about algorithms, or even write a blog, just like this one.

Propelling myself into an unknown territory is not what I am used to, but I am grateful that I took this opportunity and dived straight into it. I am grateful for all the people that I met in the bootcamp and I can’t even describe how highly motivating it is to work with people that have the same goals as yourself. And of course, all the staff and lead instructors are extremely supportive and helpful. I wish that upon completion of the course I will have the chance to work together with these amazing people again in my future career.

As the coding bootcamp progresses, I will update this blog about things we learn, challenges, projects and basically anything interesting during the course. So, keep an eye on this space. Til then!



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