Radio DJ to Policeman to CodeClan – Nevin’s story

Before CodeClan

nevin2In life you’re often forced to make the tough, defining decisions too soon and too quickly. As a teenager, my academic exploits waned in favour of parties and chasing the next thrill. Then parties again. It wasn’t until the crunch time of GCSEs that I got my act together and even discovered my passion … and clearest talent. I somehow along the way had developed quite a fondness for English Language and Literature. The country boy, whose father had no interest in language artistic merits and whose brother wouldn’t play scrabble after age eight, had become something of a poet.

What teenage Nevin hadn’t quite sussed out was job prospects. I was good at this subject, one of the best in my school, and I was dead-set on studying English in University with not much more of a goal than to  study teaching afterwards.  At this stage in my life I knew the realism of earning a living. I had had a job since my mid-teens that was never going to go anywhere and yet I thought I could leave University with my rather expensive pieces of paper and walk into the dream career I hadn’t quite dreamt up yet.

Radio DJ, Teacher & Policeman by 25

So I stumbled into radio after my first degree and made the same mistake. What could’ve been a fulfilling, creative challenging job gave way to that nagging voice in my head. “You have a degree, it’s not quite as useful without this other degree, go chase that.” So I became a teacher and worked in two schools until that chapter in my life ended. Then I stumbled (see the pattern?) into Police training, which ended rather hilariously in a letter simultaneously welcoming me to the shortlist, but that due to budget cuts, there would be no position for myself or any other applicant.


So what now? All signs pointed to getting out of Belfast, and having had an affinity for Scotland, and Edinburgh seemingly having more prospects, I jumped ship. It didn’t have to be a clean slate, just because it was a fresh start.

What was I good at? Languages, writing (hopefully), working with various teams of people, working well under pressure.

What did I want out of a job? A place to be expressive, creative and somewhere I could apply skills I already possessed.

Anything else? A bit more financial security wouldn’t go amiss. But did this career even exist?

Taking the leap into coding

Enter Codeclan. With my experience limited to making a games emulator for my girlfriend, I thought I had no chance of getting on board. Fortunately, they were looking for people like my new coursemates (now plain, old mates) and I. People who had done a few laps in their career, with experiences and talents not confined to our academic ability ten or more years ago.

It’s the working environment I had long thought improbable, where I feel valued, challenged and eager to perform at the top of my game. It’s been the first time I’ve been happy to get with the “program.”


Bio: Nevin is a student in Cohort 1 at CodeClan. In his career as a radio DJ he worked with Radio 1’s Scott Mills and now plans to turn his coding hobby into an exciting career upon completing the course.

Want to follow in Nevin’s footsteps by changing career and joining the exciting, rapidly growing tech industry? Click here to apply for our 16 week coding course.

Written by Nevin, student at CodeClan