Deciding to change career with CodeClan’s full-time coding course, Jia talks about a typical day at our Glasgow campus.
What were you doing before CodeClan?
I was a laser practitioner. I loved my job, but I’d reached a level that I couldn’t progress any further, either learning or salary wise.
I don’t think you can wake up and just think “I want to do software development.” [Coding] was always something I’d considered and I was actually learning from home, but it was very slow.
If you’re doing it in your spare time you don’t always have the time. By the time you start a project, a personal project of your own or for a friend or whatever, you’re then leaving days before you go back to it.
Because you get home from work, you’re tired, you might watch an hour of telly, and then you can’t be bothered doing anything else….
Exactly, so this is ideal, and looking at what CodeClan do, it is definitely what they’re using out in the industry right now.
My partner’s a software engineer and he looked at it and said “That sounds really good”.
It’s tough, but it’s a good sort of tough. You’re being challenged, and you only learn by doing and we’re always just getting in there.
What’s a typical day like?
We always do stand-up first thing, going over how we feel about the previous night’s homework, or weekend homework, how we feel the week’s going so far, things like that.
So there’s homework every night?
Every night apart from a Thursday, anything from two to five hours, depending on what it is. It’s good practice. You really need to invest your time into it.
After stand-up we’ll usually go through homework. We either go through it as a class – it depends on what type of homework it is – or we’ll just show whatever we’ve done.
After the weekend homework on a Monday we normally have one-to-ones [with instructors]. The weekend homework is sometimes just a little bit bigger, so it’s good to catch up on things like that then.
What’s after the stand-up?
After that we’ll be doing labs. We’ve been doing a lot of paired programming this week. We just really getting stuck in and start coding. Last week we were starting with Java, so there were a lot of codealongs and instructors were teaching us.
[The instructors] are always there. It’s easy to ask for help when you get in class, however you can still ask for help after class because they’re on Slack. The say if we’re stuck with anything to let them know. They’re there if you need them.
What do you do for lunch?
I stay here, but usually on a Friday we go for lunch just along the road. They’re a great bunch of people.
What’s an afternoon like? Do you always finish at the same time?
We don’t really have a set finishing time. It’s roughly between 4 and 5 o’clock. They do say to to feel free to stay – it’s 8 or 8.30 that the building needs to close. Sometimes there are evening classes on as well.
You also work on projects?
We did a Ruby project, using some SQL, HTML and CSS as well. I really enjoyed it. We sat down and spent an afternoon planning the project, and on the Saturday and Sunday we just got on with it.
On the Monday we got to ask any questions about the project. The instructors were there for questions over the weekend as well, I just prefer to ask them in class.
There’s an allocated time for your project, but I felt I could have gone on and on with it. We met the MVP (Minimum Viable Product), which is fine, but I feel as if it’s never really finished. In the real world, if you’ve got a website or an app, you have to constantly maintain it.
Do you get to meet potential employers?
We’ve had two employer sessions, Leigh-Ann’s great for organising them. It’s good to see what they’re looking for.
They’ll tell you about their company, a typical day, what they’re looking for, the languages they use and things like that. What’s important to them.
They tell us about their employment history as well, how they got into the position they’re in just now. It’s really good for us to see what they want.
Are you thinking about jobs yet?
I’d love a front end job. I don’t really know as I haven’t been in that environment, but maybe with a small start-up.
Are you surprised how much you’ve learned?
It’s such a great environment, we’re learning so much every single day. Even when the class has stopped, like when I was doing my project, I was still learning.
I think there’s even more to learn in the real world.
Update: Jia graduated from CodeClan and is now working as a Junior Developer.