Natalie talks about swapping life in Bali for the role of a UX Analyst after four months on our immersive programming course.
Before CodeClan I’d worked in a variety of industries, both in the UK and overseas.
I’d been living in Bali where I had my own small business and worked for a travel company. I worked in a busy office close to the beach, organising luxury diving trips to Indonesia for people from all over the world.
I loved my job in Bali – it was fast paced and challenging, but it wasn’t an industry I wanted to be in forever.
So, I decided to move back home to Edinburgh with the sole focus on kick starting/building my career in tech in some capacity.
An alternative to university
I’d always wanted to get into the digital world but was unsure as to how I’d be able to do so.
On moving back to Edinburgh, I knew that I was going to have to do some form of study in order to update my skills. I’d taught myself a bit of coding with free online courses and had heard of ‘coding bootcamps’ which at the time were mainly in London.
The big attraction of bootcamp style learning for me was that the course is only 16 weeks long. As I was close to 30 at the time, I didn’t feel like I could afford to spend another three years at uni.
I was doing a bit of research into this online and came across an article about CodeClan starting up in Edinburgh, which was perfect timing for me.
I went along to one of the first info sessions and decided it was something I would love to do. However, it did take me about six months to decide whether or not to take the course.
My main concerns at the time were having doubts as to whether I was capable of learning to code and the risk of quitting my job, not knowing if it would all work out.
A supportive environment
The course is intense, there’s no doubt about that.
But the amount we learnt in a short space of time is incredible. The learning is hands-on, immersive, covering a variety of languages and frameworks.
It’s project based which means a lot of collaboration and working with other members of the Cohort. The average age of students at CodeClan is 30, and the majority have quit jobs to be there so everyone was really hard working and would help each other out.
It’s a really supportive and encouraging environment with instructors always on hand to ask questions.
Other than the coding languages themselves, the main thing I took away from the course is not to be daunted by learning something new.
Although, something I definitely won’t miss is having next to no social life for four months!
A new career
A few weeks before the end of the course, CodeClan had organised an employer Speed Networking session where we got the chance to meet some of the employer partners and have a few one-on-one chats.
I personally hadn’t been to a formal interview for a few years and really needed to brush up on my skills. CodeClan gave us one-on-one interview support, which was invaluable.
It was also great to be in the same boat as everyone else in the Cohort. We all had a few interviews lined up with a variety of companies and to be able to share interview experiences and tips was a great help.
I’m now a UX Analyst at User Vision, a User Experience design consultancy.
My role primarily focuses on the accessibility of digital solutions, particularly for people with disabilities. The other focus of my role is user testing and user research to ensure the best online customer experience for clients.
Advice for others
To anyone thinking of a career change, my advice is to focus on what you want to do, do some research and just go for it.
I was 30 when I joined CodeClan and it was a daunting prospect to go back to studying as I’d already been to university when I was younger.
I was worried about what family and friends would think about me quitting my job as well as having no income for 16 weeks but, I thought that in a few years time, I would look back and regret not taking this chance.
The pay-off for me has definitely been worth it.