After graduating from our Professional Software Development course last October 2021, Princess has started a new role as a software engineer at Skyscanner. We caught up with her to chat about how she got into coding and get an insight into her new role:
Tell us a bit about your career before studying at CodeClan
I left behind 14 years in the hospitality industry. I’ve pretty much worked in every kind of hospitality that you can imagine, clubs, pubs, restaurants, cafeterias…I’ve done everything, from an entry level position to manager roles.
How did you find out about the course and what were your motivations for applying?
I did my degree in Travel and Tourism and Human Resource Management as a joint honours. And then I went on to do a master’s in Governance, Leadership and Finance. Then I had my son, and as much as I wanted to get back into work with a child, it was almost impossible to do hospitality hours, you don’t get the holidays that fall in line with school timeframes, you’re always working on social work hours…
So I had to do something else. And I’ve always been interested in anything to do with computers and coding and software from a very young age.
But I think when I was at school, there was not much external motivation for us to learn how to code, it was something that most people did in their own time, as a hobby not as a career path.
But anyway, I heard about CodeClan and then lockdown happened and I was furloughed so it was the perfect moment, I had 100% time to devote to coding and see where it goes.
What are you working on right now and how are you finding it?
I’ve been very lucky, I’m pretty much in the heart of Skyscanner. I’m backend at the moment, and I deal with search results; When a user goes on to the Skyscanner website and puts in a search, let’s say Edinburgh to London on the 27th of February for example, we’re in control.
What are you enjoying the most about your new role as a Software Engineer?
You know what? To be honest, I wouldn’t even say coding, my favourite thing it’s the tech industry!
This is my first software engineering job, but I have to say I was very surprised at how friendly everyone is. It’s a very relaxed environment, people trust you. For example, if there is an area in particular that I’m interested in, I can literally block some time on my calendar and work on that! It’s like my personal development time.
I guess what surprised me the most is how friendly everyone is and how happy they are to help. I don’t know why, but a part of me thought that people would judge me because I didn’t do a Computer Science degree, an engineering course or anything like that, but everyone has been the opposite, they think it’s really cool I come from CodeClan.
How did you find job hunting and what tips would you give current CodeClan students?
I think I’m a bit of a unicorn out of my cohort, because I only had to go through the interview process once! I only applied for Skyscanner and I got the job, so thank you very much!
I just really wanted Skyscanner! I felt like, at the time, it would be a waste of time to go to other interviews because I was so determined to work at Skyscanner. But my advice would be to make sure you research the company, not just the job specs. For me, the company culture was extremely important, more so than the job.
Having said that, looking back maybe going in all or nothing with Skyscanner was not the best idea, but luckily, it worked for me! But that’s the only thing I would’ve done differently, maybe try to go to more interviews even if I didn’t necessarily want to take the job at the end of it, but it would’ve helped me to prepare.
What advice would you give to someone looking to change careers right now?
Do it. Best thing I ever did. I didn’t think it was going to happen as quickly as it did, my turnover from quitting my previous job, starting CodeClan, graduating and finding a job with Skyscanner within six months.
You see the memes and social media, that you can change your life around in six months, and you go kind of like “No way, that’s waaay too short of a time period” But it happens, and those six months fly away so you may as well give it 150%. Go in and do it.
And, anything is possible I guess, is a cliche but it really is true- not just for me, I speak for other codeclanners that are here. They all say the same thing, and pretty much every day we walk through this doors we are like “Guys, guess what? We work for Skyscanner now!!” And it may sound very sad, but this is my fourth week and I still can’t believe it! It’s amazing. On Sundays I can’t wait to go back into the office!