To mark the Women in Technology World Series, we recently caught up with Helena Kolberg, who graduated from our Professional Software Development course earlier in the year, to discuss her experience with CodeClan.
Tell us a bit about your career before studying at CodeClan.
Before CodeClan I worked in various customer-facing roles in Edinburgh tourism. I gained many useful skills like communication and working under pressure, but ultimately I felt like my career progression prospects weren’t great.
How did you find out about the course and what were your motivations for applying?
I found out about the Professional Software Development course through a friend who was a CodeClan alumn. She’d worked in customer service just like myself, but at the end of this 16-week course she got an amazing new job in the tech industry. This immediately sparked my interest as I was really craving a meaningful career change. I tried out some free online coding tutorials and I was instantly hooked – that’s when I knew that CodeClan was the right choice for me.
What are you working on right now and how are you finding it?
I recently started my very first job as a Software Engineer at a startup called Appointedd who offer an online booking and scheduling system. Getting to know my colleagues has been a little trickier that normal as we’re working remotely, but everyone’s been very welcoming. I’ve also been learning about the system and pair programming with one of the Lead Software Engineers. I got to make a couple of changes to the system in my very first week, which felt so exciting. It’s a fantastic feeling to get to apply the tech skills I gained at CodeClan to software that people actually pay money for and use.
How did you find job hunting and what tips would you give current CodeClan students?
I found job hunting quite challenging , but I was very determined. I tried to apply for at least two jobs a day, and I kept track of all my applications which really helped me to stay organised. My advice to current CodeClan students would be to tailor both your CV and your cover letter to each company. Try to emphasise all the skills you gained in your previous career, and work on side projects if you have the time – all of that will help you stand out from your peers. Don’t be afraid to show a little personality in your application, especially if you’re applying for a startup.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a career in tech?
The tech industry is incredibly exciting and ever-growing. It’s becoming more diverse and now is a great time to get involved and be a part of that growth. If you’re looking to change careers like me, I would honestly recommend taking a look at CodeClan – it’s a significant commitment to make, but for me it has proven to be 100% worth it.