From Graphic Designer to Trainee Software Developer: Meet Tahnee

Tahnee standing in the CodeClan Edinburgh campus

With 12 years experience in the creative industry, Tahnee recently started re-training as a Software Developer at CodeClan.

A fascination with tech

I’ve had a fascination with technology from a young age. I did Advanced Higher Computing in school and back then I was either going to study Computer Science at Uni or go to Art School.

I decided to pursue a career in the creative industry. I did my Foundation in Art and Design at ECA and BA (Hons) in Design for Textiles Print (Fashion, Art, Interiors) at Heriot Watt University.

However, I never felt like I fitted in. When all the other students were drawing and painting flowers, I was doing illustrations of robots and creating weird Toy Story inspired sculptures of re-constructed broken toys! I have always been one to think outside the box when it comes to ideas. My greeting card range which featured an animation called Chasing Duck Wheel won me a placement with Tigerprint (a branch of Hallmark cards).

When I started working as a graphic designer, I really enjoyed the digital side of things. I had so much fun designing websites, apps and social media imagery. But it wasn’t enough for me to just design the look and feel of things… I wanted to build things! I wanted to build websites, I wanted to build apps, I wanted to build robots!

I have always had a fascination with technology and every time I attend some sort of tech convention or event, it really excites me and gets me in the flow. In particular, I am interested in AI and VR technology.

Finding CodeClan

I first heard about CodeClan through codebar, which I’ve been attending since March 2017. codebar is a non-profit initiative that enables under-represented people learn programming in a safe and collaborative environment and expand their career opportunities.

It has provided me with a great chance to network with those involved in the tech industry in Edinburgh and I have found the support of the coaches really valuable in developing my existing programming skills.

I remember picking up a CodeClan leaflet during a networking session at the beginning of codebar and was curious to find out more about the course. I spoke to a number of CodeClan graduates and teaching staff who volunteer at codebar and they all had so much enthusiasm for the course. Their positive energy was contagious… I was sold!

The Cathcart Scholarship

I wanted to retrain on CodeClan’s 16-week Professional Software Development course but I was freelancing, and wasn’t making enough to be able to afford the course.

One of the coaches at codebar advised me to keep an eye on the CodeClan website for announcements of scholarships. When I saw the scholarship from Cathcart Associates advertised my eyes lit up! It came at the perfect time for me and I decided to apply.

Cathcart have given me an amazing opportunity and I feel like everything has fallen into place. And now I’ve got the ball rolling; I’m being re-trained as a software developer and looking forward to starting my first role in the tech industry.

Retraining at CodeClan

So far CodeClan has been amazing!

Everyone is really friendly and supportive. We have a nice bunch of people in our Cohort and I can already feel the bond developing in our CodeClan family. There is a focus on teamwork and collaboration; that’s a really big thing at CodeClan and it shows in all the students that do the course.

It’s hard work but worth every second and everyone helps each other out. I am proud of what I can already do in the short length of time I have been here.

Inspiration from tech meetups

I have quite a few groups I attend, including codebar, Women Who Code and recently CodeClan’s Digital Women’s Group which I really enjoyed.

I went to the first meeting of the Digital Women’s Group. CodeClan’s CEO Melinda Matthews set it up as part of a strategy to encourage diversity and get more women employed in Scottish technology roles. The topic was ‘Navigating your Career’ and featured guest speaker Jenn Fenwick; Coach and Director of Rebel Road Coaching.

I found it really empowering being around other women who are passionate about code and technology. We were given encouragement and valuable advice that we can take on and use in our careers.

They spoke about not being afraid to take the next step in your career which is really important. It was a very inspiring and motivating session and I’m looking forward to attending the next one.

Long term ambitions

I think that a role in front-end web development or user experience (UX) design would be a natural fit for me because I have the transferable skills from graphic design.

But I’m keeping an open mind about what I’ll do eventually. I’m really enjoying the learning process here at CodeClan and I love trying out new things.

Kick off your own career change

Find out more about our 16-week Professional Software Development course or come along to our next info session in Edinburgh or Glasgow.


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