Software Developer Peter sitting at a desk

Meet our graduates: Peter, from Tester to Junior Software Developer

With a background in Geography, Peter began his career working for Scottish Water. There, exposure to databases and Python piqued his interest in becoming a software developer.

Before CodeClan

I worked in the Scottish Water Control Centre Development Team for three years as a Developer/Business Analyst where I was involved in creating tools for the Control Centre to use mainly for live monitoring of Scotland’s water and wastewater networks.

I worked with SQL for querying and updating the corporate databases, XML for Graphworx and some Visual Basic.

Life at CodeClan

In my spare time I was learning HTML, CSS, Python, Java and JavaScript through Codecademy and other resources before finally deciding to take the plunge and join CodeClan. I came in for an info session and from then I knew I had to do the course.

At CodeClan each day brings its own challenge and some days are harder than others, but it’s always enjoyable. There’s a great atmosphere where everyone wants each other to do well. The instructors are fantastic and I couldn’t have asked for better classmates.

I’ve been astounded with our progress; at the beginning I couldn’t write a simple Ruby program, but 8 weeks later I’d built web applications and mobile apps, and have three on my phone. I definitely couldn’t have done that without CodeClan.

I enjoy both back-end and front-end and my interests include games, travel, artificial intelligence, machine learning and cryptocurrency.

Finding a job in tech

I put a lot of energy in my last week at CodeClan into sending applications out and was lucky enough to be offered interviews off the back of the Speed Networking event. One of which was with my current employer, Castlight Financial.

I performed an online coding test for one company and had three interviews, all in the week after I finished CodeClan.

The interviews generally took the same format of talking through my CV and working through a short technical test. One involved writing code out on paper and another was on my laptop, both in my preferred language; JavaScript.

My interview with Castlight involved presenting my group project and a general chat about my CV as well as what I had worked on at CodeClan. Fortunately I received three offers and was delighted to accept my top choice, Castlight.

Life as a professional software developer

The initial transition involved a steep learning curve which carried on quite naturally from CodeClan. I’m really enjoying life as a professional developer and feel very grateful to be in the position I am.

Castlight has a great environment and is a fantastic place to learn, working on an innovative product within a forward-thinking team which I find really rewarding.

We follow agile practices similar to those taught at CodeClan and have the freedom to express our ideas, giving us the chance to make a real impact. We use Ruby on Rails and JavaScript/React so I’ve been able to build on the foundation that CodeClan provided as well as learn a bit more about DevOps (e.g. deployment, environments etc.).

A typical day at Castlight

We start off with a standup at 9:15 when we discuss what we were working on in the previous day, any blockers we encountered and what we’ll be working on next. After that there can be product meetings, timescale estimations, and any ideas we might have for improvements.

We work in 1-2 week sprints so have planning at the start of the week followed by retrospectives when we finish the sprint. We use Jira (a project management tool) to log our workload.

The rest of each day is spent coding, which can be back-end, front-end or both depending on the Jira ticket. This can be individually, in pairs or as a team if we are dealing with a tough problem or are using it as a learning opportunity.

We tend to go to lunch as a team too which is great.

Advice for others

My advice would be to go to an info session and/or half day coding session at CodeClan to make sure coding is for you. I made my decision after going to both. It’s a lot of money so it’s worth being as sure as you can be before you start.

I would also advise putting as much effort as you can into the pre-course work (and maybe do some extra if possible) to make the start of the course a bit easier.

CodeClan is a fantastic place to learn though and the result of making it through the course and into employment has been very rewarding.

I feel like I’m now on the right career path.

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