How I changed my career path at a Glasgow coding bootcamp

A student on our first Glasgow cohort, Michaela explains why she’s taking her career in a new direction by learning to code.

One of the first things I wanted to say is that learning to code is hard. It’s not just a little hard – it’s just flat out, smack-your-head-against-the-wall hard.

I think I love it.

I say I think because I spend most of my week hating it, myself and my code then changing my mind when it works.

While I grew up with the web, I’ve never felt prepared to code. If you had asked me just a year ago (let alone 10 when I was finishing secondary school) I couldn’t tell you what Javascript was for, what Ruby was (apart from a Kaiser Chief’s song) and websites? They are clearly pieced together by magic, HTML and CSS.

Four weeks in and I still wouldn’t doubt magic is involved.

Glasgow taster session

Now I’m a student in an extensive 16-week course at CodeClan Glasgow, where I’m preparing to go from ‘zero to hero’ in terms of programming skills. In the nighttime I work as a freelance designer when I’m not suffering from information overload.

It feels like a long time coming to reach this point. Before I worked as an in-house design assistant for a book publisher after doing a Masters in Publishing.

It was a good job. It had interesting projects and I love books. I love book design, typography and checking imprint pages to see what print run my copy is.

The truth was that no matter how much I loved my job it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t working as a designer in my job, I did some designing and that was that.

I liked the other aspects about being an assistant and I was good at my job. I enjoyed working with printers, editors and marketing but I wasn’t getting enough out of it. I want to keep learning and keep getting better so I decided to do just that.

Finding CodeClan

At some point last year, I got pointed in the direction of CodeClan’s 16-week course. It’s a bootcamp-style education that has a lot of practical learning and loads of great recommendations.

I started reading blogs from their instructors and students. I felt like those blogs said something to me.

They told me that there were people with the same sort of personality traits I have. A lot of the blogs looked for the same things I wanted in future job roles.

Glasgow Cohort G1

At the same time, they spoke about the same issues I was having in my life. I was under-challenged, I didn’t have a clear career trajectory and I was looking for something in my life I hadn’t found yet.

So far I’m a month into my course. I’ve covered over three weeks of Ruby. I can almost (with confidence) tell you when to use a for loop. There’s still a lot of things I find difficult though. As a newbie, I’m still not sure of what tools are available to me.

I still think like a designer. I need to plan things out visually (which is a help as much as a hinderance) but when the things we code start to become abstract, it feels like I’m back in my fourth year maths class. This is where classmates and instructors come in handy.

Everyone sitting next to me are in the same boat and it just takes hearing the right explanation once to have things click into place.

Next week we’re going to start in on learning Java. I’m excited to see where that leads.

I’m also a bit terrified because after a few weeks of Ruby, I was starting to become acquainted with it. Although, I’m still a ways off to feeling like best friends with it.

Read Michaela’s original post on her blog.

Sign-up for our next Glasgow info session to meet the team. Find out more about our 16-week course in Glasgow and Edinburgh.


Student stories: Graham, Glasgow Cohort 2


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