Scott Riley

Meet Scott: from CodeClan to Cultivate

Having previous experience as a developer, Scott came to CodeClan looking for a new challenge and a new set of skills.

After CodeClan, he started a new role as a software developer with Edinburgh’s Cultivate. Scott explains how he’s enjoying life outside the classroom.

How are you finding the transition from being a CodeClan student to working?

It’s been really good. I think it’s been hugely beneficial that I’ve had a chance to start working on live software and client facing projects. CodeClan were good at giving you a lot of problems to solve, but they were always problems that someone had created for the purpose of learning. So it’s really good to go out there and solve a problem so that we help a client and make money.

Have there been any surprises?

Loads of surprises, lots of little technical things and different ways of working. I’d been in a previous dev job, so things like the frustrations of clients are not new to me. Previously I’d worked in a development role, in a company similar in size to Cultivate. But I did very bad development work. That’s about the best way to put it.

I did a lot of self-learning and picking things up to get the job out the door, and I didn’t really feel like I was learning things properly or writing any good quality code.

And has the experience with CodeClan helped you to realise the goal of writing quality code?

Yes. More importantly than anything else, it’s given me the ability to recognise issues, when code isn’t nice, or certain ways to think about a problem before I even write any code. I haven’t come out of CodeClan as a super-skilled, superstar developer. It’s more about giving me the ability to look at my code and evaluate it myself.

How did your time at CodeClan prepare you for life as a developer?

The stuff that prepared me more for my role as a developer was actually outside of CodeClan, but associated with it, like the tech meet-ups and lunchtime sessions. I’ve mentioned the lesson materials and the learning, but spending time with other developers and talking with them has been pretty valuable.

What have you learned since joining Cultivate?

Lots of things. They have a lot of pride in the code they write, and a lot of reviewing and hurdles to get stuff through. So there’s a lot of things going on when it comes to test-driven development and well-structured code, and I just keep learning more and more every day.

And things that are new to me are project management, structure and learning about working on a project with actual deadlines and with actual estimates and things like that. At CodeClan we got an introduction to scrum and agile, but applying it in a real workplace has been vastly different.

Scott Riley CodeClan graduateDoes life as a developer now meet your expectations?

My job as a developer prior to CodeClan didn’t meet my expectations. It was why I left: I didn’t feel I was really a developer. But yeah, after CodeClan, working in a proper development agency has definitely met my expectations.

What was your favourite thing about CodeClan? Did anything stand out that you really liked?

It sounds silly to say, but it was the coding. I really liked the fact that every day we covered a lot of material and it never felt like a burden. The days disappeared very quickly. It’s was always 4 or 5 o’clock before I realised it, which was great. That’s what I enjoyed. The material, the instructors, it was all really well structured.

There were parts of the course, obviously, that were quite new and needed some changes and things like that, but the majority, and especially the Ruby and JavaScript parts of the course, were a lot of fun.

Could you say something about the atmosphere and the culture of working at Cultivate?

I love it. One thing we do that’s quite different is we pair on everything possible. And like I said, even if we pair on something, it still goes through a review process. We have extra catches and things if you’re working on your own. It then needs to be reviewed by even more devs, to make sure the code is structured well enough, and every little thing in the code can get brought up in this process.

At Cultivate we have a feeling of collective ownership, where we shouldn’t be able to identify where anyone has written a specific piece of code. And everyone should be able to take ownership and responsibility for any part of it.

And from a social point of view, Cultivate is a great place to work. We go out for lunch together two or three times a week. We have a few people who work remotely, and this week they’re in Edinburgh and we’re all going to see a Fringe show and they’ll get to meet a couple of clients.


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