Meet our graduates: James, from Third Sector Lobbyist to Software Developer

James reflects on his time at CodeClan and his move into the tech sector.

Before CodeClan I worked for a Cabinet Minister in Westminster and later as a third sector lobbyist in the finance sector.

I’d always tinkered about with HTML and CSS and had done some very basic JavaScript. My brother writes the flight software for satellites and was a big inspiration to me in switching careers.

When I discovered that CodeClan had expanded into Glasgow, I attended an info session and knew that night that I was going to do the course. It was the best decision I’ve ever made for my career!

At CodeClan

Coding is difficult, and the course is very intense. There were days when I came home to my wife absolutely defeated and convinced I couldn’t continue (thanks for the endless support, Steph!). There were other days when what I was taught immediately clicked.

You not only learn to code, but you learn to manage your workflow and your stress levels. It helps that you form a close bond with the other students who are on identical journeys. Hearing your classmates vocalise that they had struggled with last night’s homework is very reassuring.

The teaching was also excellent. The class had two senior instructors and two assistants – the latter two were CodeClan graduates themselves. The senior instructors had this incredible ability to debug your code very quickly, and the assistants provided much needed morale-boosting when you were feeling like you couldn’t do it.

I was constantly surprised at the pace I learned – I remember after just three weeks of Java I’d written an Android app and had it on my phone. I was able to take that skill and make a table tennis scorer & league app in my spare time for our class ping pong table.

The course isn’t just about the technical side of coding, it prepares you to go into a workplace and absorb new information quickly. When a company hires a CodeClan graduate, they’re hiring someone who can learn quickly, easily adapt and work hard as hell.

Finding a new job in tech

I had my first interview around week 15 and was offered a job during the interview. While I didn’t accept that offer for various personal reasons, I had a further 5 interviews which resulted in two job offers, and my friend looped me into his evening coding contract work.

I’m currently working with a small digital transformation consultancy. I work with NodeJS, Angular, graphing database Neo4j and its query language Cypher (all but NodeJS were completely new to me!).

In many ways, it forces me to learn to find solutions quickly to any problems I encounter. It’s pretty difficult, but I am learning a lot.

I’ve architected and built a user registration, verification and login system for our product. I hit plenty of ‘I can’t do this’ moments while I was building it, but the system works now.

I’ve also spent evenings in February helping to build a site in NodeJS and VueJS for the World Bank to help track aid flows to Somalia. That project involved deploying to AWS and getting an SSL certificate. If you have to do deployment know that: it sucks and is a headache for everyone.

Advice for others

I bombed maths and science at high school. Before and sometimes during the course I worried that I wasn’t ‘mathsy’ enough to be a programmer – but having completed the course and now working as a developer, I can reassure you that it’s not essential.

I think most of my fellow classmates had a job within a month. That alone tells you how successful the course and teaching is.

Do the course. The doors that it opens for you are plentiful and growing.

Access to talent

Our committed students have completed 800 hours of immersive coding. Equipped with an agile mindset, they’re operational from day one. Learn more about hiring.

Change career

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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