From Russian History Graduate to Systems Administrator

John Boyle Blog
We recently caught up with John Boyle, who graduated from our 17 Glasgow cohort, to discuss his experience with CodeClan.

Tell us a bit about your career before studying at CodeClan.

I went to university and studied Russian history which was a tremendous experience but not one that helped with jobs after the fact. I ended up working to help people from deprived areas into university and then in marketing for an organisation that supports PhD researchers in the arts. Both jobs were challenging in their own way with lots of project management, budget management and creativity in their own way but whilst I was committed I didn’t feel passionate about the work. That made my career feel a little aimless.

How did you find out about the course?

I think that lack of passion in my work just hit a crisis point. I got the point where I was waking up and not wanting to work, which isn’t like me. I’m a naturally quite optimistic, enthusiastic person and I realised that to get that back I’d have to make change rather than waiting for change to happen.

A colleague’s husband went through CodeClan and was full of praise of the course and the change in his life since going through it. That certainly planted the seed, but I was still pretty hesitant to take the plunge and trust that I could take the opportunity and do it well.

I then covered a hackathon as part of my marketing job, and talking to the coding experts there and watching them do their thing was hugely inspiring. It gave me the push to take that leap into the unknown and trust myself, take this huge challenge and be ready to complete it.

How did you find the course and what were some of your highlights?

The course was an incredible experience. Our cohort was so supportive and it felt like a team effort at all times. We were all in it together! 

It’s an intense experience, you’re in all day, usually in after the lessons to do your homework, your weekend homework. Basically my life became CodeClan, when I wasn’t in class I was at home studying. But at no point was it not fun. Even the toughest lessons were full of laughter and the support from the tutors made sure that I was always learning, always moving forward and getting better at coding.

Even when the course swung to being online due to Covid-19, the tutors and everyone on the course worked together to make the best of a tough situation. I think that might have been my favourite aspect of the course, the atmosphere and culture which the class had was such a positive space to be in.

The group projects were the highlight for me. I got to sit with, basically my friends and code up some cool apps over the course for a week. It was a lot of work, but I cannot think of a better way to spend my time!

What are you working on right now and how are you finding it?

I’m now a Systems Administrator at Waracle. Settling in remotely has certainly been challenging but being able to clear blockers and see that immediate impact of my work on the team has been fantastic. The nature of the role means I’m learning about lots of new services and really getting to grips with the entire lifecycle of a project. I can only see this as being hugely beneficial in my career moving forward.

What’s your career goal at the moment?

This early on my goal is to get settled and excel in my current role! I think longer term there are some interesting chances to code in the Systems Administrator/DevOps field which we are discussing. These include customising cloud solutions, increased automation and reporting and so on. Being able to leverage that coding experience is certainly something I’m aiming to do, but it’s very early days and right now I just want to learn what I can learn and help my team wherever I can.

Explore our Professional Software Development course here or come along to our next taster session.

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