Josh graduated on the 8th of November and has signed a contract as a full-time junior web developer 4 weeks after graduation with globaldev.
This Q&A was first published by Ruben Kostucki on the Makers Academy blog.
What were you doing before joining Makers Academy?
I worked in theatre production, mostly on West End musicals including Matilda The Musical and Wicked The Musical. I worked for the producers and the work was not glamorous—mostly admin. I love a good spreadsheet for plans, budgets, contracts and schedules. Occasionally, I organised events and parties and rubbed shoulders with talented artists.
What made you want to start learning to code in the first place?
I’ve always enjoyed technology and use it whenever I can. At work, I introduced my colleagues to good web apps. My favourites are tools that are easy to use, reduce repetition and help you focus on your work. As soon as I could imagine my own apps I wanted to learn how to code.
Where did you start that journey?
I tried to teach myself a few times and it was hard. I completed Michael Hartl’s Rails tutorial a couple of years ago, but when I tried to build my own Rails app I immediately ran into errors that I didn’t understand. I realised there was much more to coding than I could pick up in my spare time. This year I found edX and completed CS169.1x Software as a Service from UCBerkeleyX, which was a good warm up before Makers Academy. I also highly recommend RubyMonk.com for Ruby groundwork.
How did you come across MA and what made you decide to apply?
The first coding bootcamp I read about was The Starter League in Chicago, IL. For a while I dreamed about going over the pond to attend. Then I googled ‘starter league london’ and by chance I found Makers Academy. What luck! Makers Academy was brand new then and the only other option in London was General Assembly. I was very impressed when I met Evgeny Shadchnev, Co-founder of Makers, and made my choice because I believed in his approach to iterating quickly to build the best course.
What did you find difficult during the course?
- Living in the unknown. There is always more to learn, but you don’t have to understand everything to get your code working.
- Test driven development. Turning my head around to think about tests that describe my code first was like turning a juggernaut. Now I find it harder to go the other way!
- Rails. Seriously, Rails is like a book of spells. It took a while to work out what it does and doesn’t do automagically.
What happened during / after graduation and where are you job wise?
Ruben lined up a number of mock interviews and interviews with great London tech companies after graduation. I also met several interesting companies at Silicon Milkroundabout 6.0. Almost all of them sent me a Ruby coding test to complete in my own time before inviting me to an interview. A few times I paired with a senior developer instead. I was really impressed by the great people I met and going to interviews in (my best) t-shirt and jeans was cool. One month after graduating I accepted a great offer from an awesome London Tech Company. I am really excited about joining the team as a Junior Software Engineer in January.
What advice would you give to people thinking of changing career?
Do it. I haven’t been so excited about going to work in years!
Any other advice about interviewing for a dev role for all our graduates?
Developers work with ideas and people, then they write code. The first two are much harder than writing code! The coding test is your chance to express yourself clearly in code and the interview is your chance to do the same in person. There is a lot written about teamwork…I aim to care for every person in the team. Genuine care is unmistakable.