Emil was a translator before he applied for CodeClan’s immersive Professional Software Development course.
He graduated from CodeClan in June 2019 and immediately afterwards started as an Associate Software Engineer at TescoBank. We caught up with him to chat about how he got into coding and get an insight into his current role as Software Engineer:
Tell us a bit about your career before studying at CodeClan
I worked as a translator/interpreter for the NHS, police, and courts which I enjoyed. I was particularly interested in the workings of modern translation programs such as Google Translate or Skype. At one point I participated in the Harriot Watt project focusing on use of AI in linguistics. I loved it so much that I decided to turn my passion for technology into a profession.
How did you find out about the course and what were your motivations for applying?
In 2018 I started an IT course at Open University where I had a chance to learn the basics of programming. I quickly realised that practice is the key in becoming proficient in the field. I found CodeClan 16-weeks Professional Software Development course online and knew straight away this was a perfect option for me.
However, the decision wasn’t straightforward. I was a bit concerned if I am not taking too much risk by leaving my current job and had to make sure that I am not making a mistake. To reassure myself I went to CodeClan meetup where I got answers to most of my questions. I also reached out to the recent graduates on LinkedIn, and they were very positive about the Partner Programme which helped many of them finding new jobs in tech. That argument persuaded me to enroll for the course.
What are you working on right now and how are you finding it?
I started working in Tesco Bank as an Associate API Software Engineer. After a year I got promoted to a mid-level position, and just recently I’ve moved to another team with Node/React as a main stack.
I am really enjoying working as a Software Developer. The best part in my opinion is the opportunity to constantly learn new things and use that knowledge to solve interesting problems. I also like the fact that programming is based on cooperation. I have met amazing people in Tesco Bank, and it’s always been good fun to work together on different projects.
How did you find job hunting and what tips would you give current CodeClan students?
I found the job through a networking event where each person from my cohort had a few minutes to talk to potential employers (like speed-dating☺). I remember I put a lot of effort into preparing myself and got interview invitations from four different companies. Just be positive and don’t worry too much about your technical abilities at that stage because the companies are looking mainly for soft skills at this level.
Expand your network by going to meetups and staying in touch with your cohort after graduating. Use LinkedIn to connect to as many recruiters as possible, I know many people who found the job that way.
Also remember that the first step is the hardest. Try not to be too picky. It gets much easier to find another job once you have a year or two of experience behind your belt.
While interviewing for a new role, what CodeClan experience did you use to display your skill set?
There are a few important features that make CodeClan graduates stand out from the crowd of other candidates.
First, it’s the motivation. I’ve always emphasised my passion for tech in any interview. It gives your potential employer reassurance that your choice is not accidental, and you will do your best to learn new concepts.
Second, it’s your practical exposure to code. I talked about my projects, focusing on challenges and how I dealt with them. But most importantly I emphasised that cooperation was the key in delivering our final product.
Last, I used all the help available as career support in CodeClan. CV/Covering letter tips, your personal story, partners’ list etc. Don’t be afraid to stay in touch even a few weeks after graduation, especially when you find it difficult to find a job.
What advice would you give to someone looking to change careers right now?
I would say DON’T HESITATE. Doing the CodeClan course was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. It helped me to make my dream about getting a job in tech come true. You get lots of support, meet great people and have really good fun. If you are fed up with your current job and need a change, then CodeClan is definitely the right option.