We asked our alumni for their tips on switching to digital.
Making a career U-turn can be daunting, but many of our students have changed their job (and life) after 16 weeks on our intensive coding course.
Here are just some of the reasons they changed career, plus advice for anyone else thinking of doing the same thing.
1. Limited chance of progression
My previous job: Creative Manager. I worked as the lead graphic designer for an eco packaging company.
Why I changed career: I felt stuck in my position with little scope to move. After looking to change jobs in my industry I realised I’d be in the same position, but in a different place. I really wanted new, interesting and better opportunities as well as to develop my skills.
My advice for others: It’s a massive commitment, time, money and life-wise. It takes a lot out of you (mentally and physically), so ensure you’re ready and can give this 100% of your time and make the sacrifice to put your life on hold. If you only do this half-heartedly you won’t get the results the course can help you achieve. It is so worth it if you are ready to commit to it. I’d recommend this to anyone willing and ready to do it.
2. Wanted to retrain due to unemployment
My previous job: Site manager.
Why I changed career: I was made unemployed.
My new job: Junior Engineer, Java.
My advice for others: Digital is the choice for people with strong analytical skills, a logical problem solving approach and hunger for never ending learning. If you have some of these features and no fear to do so, the change will be very rewarding.
3. Interested in working in the IT industry
My previous job: Financial Advisor.
Why I changed career: I was working with lots of IT companies as a financial advisor, and got interested in the IT industry.
My new job: Junior Developer, doing lots of development for both front-end and back-end.
My advice for others: Just do it.
4. Wanted a career based on logical thinking
My previous job: Primary School teacher.
Why I changed career: I realised that my way of thinking and problem solving did not suit teaching. I wanted a career focused much more on logical thinking, designing and building things and creating ‘real world’ solutions.
My new job: Junior BI Developer. I write lots of SQL queries for reporting purposes, designing dashboards and reports for business users, creating RTF templates for business users (e.g. Invoices, Purchase Orders, HR Documents) using XML and SQL queries.
My advice for others: Take the plunge! It’s a scary, uncertain and anxious time; you’re worried that you won’t get a job at the end of it, that you’ve never coded and won’t be good at it, or you’ll be worse than others. Try to embrace these feelings as ‘part-and-parcel’ of a major transitional period in your life. You will get a job, it doesn’t matter at all if you’ve never coded and who cares if someone is better than you? Ask them loads of questions, mine them for their knowledge and use it for your learning. Above all don’t think you’re ‘slowing the class down’ – you’ve paid for the course so get your money’s worth!
5. Keen to learn the latest digital skills
Previous role: Fashion Communication student.
Why I changed career: I was interested in combining my degree and utilising my creativity with new coding skills. With my background in traditional print, I realised how important it was to learn digital skills to continue with my career plans.
My new job: I’m still on the job hunt, with my primary focus on digital design/UX or going into project management.
My advice for others: It can be an investment, so make sure you’ve done your research. Attend meet-ups and info sessions to find out as much information as you can about the industry you’re interested in.
6. An alternative to university
Previous role: Retail Assistant.
Why I changed career: I’d always wanted to do it, but wasn’t able to complete university so this was my way back into the industry.
My new job: Software Engineer, using programming to solve clients problems.
My advice for others: Think it through carefully. It will cost money in the sort term, but you’ll be able to make it back (and much more) once you are trained and settled into a new job. I have made three times as much as I put in to do CodeClan in less than a year!
7. Needed a fast-track into a new career
Previous role: Unemployed.
Why I changed career: My career and employment status were stagnant following university and several instances of almost undertaking new degrees. I wished to jump-start a path into employment in an area I already had an interest, albeit no experience, in.
My new job: Web Developer, working across the entire stack, from front-end all the way to infrastructure. I’m part of a team developing and maintaining two different public sites, and the publishing platform that sits behind both.
My advice for others: Educate yourself on how other people have fared from attempting the same. For example, if you’re considering CodeClan, seek information from them and their alumni about employment rates, the length of time taken to land new jobs. This will be invaluable in your planning, at the very least in terms of budgeting.
8. Saw opportunities in programming
Previous role: Factory worker in the textiles industry.
Why I changed career: I always enjoyed a good problem to solve. Programming was an exciting outlet that I wanted to build a career from.
My new job: Junior AI Developer. This involves building AI systems for video games and building immersive experiences for players.
My advice for others: If you’re a puzzle solver or enjoy breaking things down to find out how they work, you’ll enjoy coding. Give it a try, challenge yourself and you will be surprised how far you can go.
9. Enjoyed dabbling with new technology
Previous role: Assistant Manager, retail.
Why I changed career: It started with wanting to build an app and as I began to teach myself how, I started to realise that this is what I wanted to do as a career.
My new job: Software Engineer. I’m solely responsible for maintenance and building improvements for a couple of sites. Mostly it involves stack overflowing the hell out of stuff. Additionally, I collaborate with clients, offering a technical perspective on their briefs.
My advice for others: Get involved. Go to local meet-ups or do self taught online courses. Just start and soon you’ll realise if it’s for you or not.
Find out more about our 16-week intensive course or come along to our next info session in Edinburgh or Glasgow.
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