Career change: Becoming a developer – Part I.

becoming a developer

This blog post is part of a series where I, a frontend developer at Aliz, share my thoughts on becoming a developer with an entirely different professional background. Read the second part here.

becoming a developer - lil tundi

When is the right time to decide what you want to do with your life? With a parent who taught electronics and informatics, it was assured that computers would be a big part of my life. It was never too early for me to sit in front of them.

I started using computers very early on. I remember printing Sailor Moon pictures that I downloaded from the Internet – you can imagine how young I was. 🙂 When I was 14 years old I started to experiment with website development, and I built two websites for my favourite musicians at that time.

But back then I didn’t really know that web development was a profession. I thought that for programming you had to be a genius and only boys could do it. So it never crossed my mind that I could do it for a living, but I always remained interested.

My early years as a professional

I studied economics at university to later start a career in marketing. I saw the creative side and the factual side and as I also loved numbers, this led me to a position of Account Manager at an advertising agency. During the 5 years I spent there I learned a lot, and I still have fun memories from that time. Then I tried myself out in Dublin helping a multinational technology company with its social media communication. When I came home, I started to realize that maybe it was time for a change. My profession was no longer a good fit for my personality and I wanted to create something with my own hands.

It was time for a change

My interest in website development strengthened in this period of time, and I started to learn more about programming through online courses. In an attempt to figure out which direction my life should take, I applied for jobs at my old profession to have some financial stability. My plan was to work and study programming in parallel. After a year I would change careers. I got offers, but something just didn’t feel right.

One morning I discovered Green Fox Academy, and this showed me a new perspective. I realised it would be easier to switch careers with their help than learn coding while in a full-time job – so I applied for a place in their bootcamp.. 

Meanwhile, I was interviewing with a big multinational company. Soon I was offered both the job and a place in the bootcamp. So I had a hard decision to make: to be comfortable financially immediately with an outstanding salary or to start school. I took a leap of faith and dove in: I chose the school, Green Fox Academy.

As a little fox – my time at Green Fox

The school was a great experience; it was probably the best summer I’ve ever had. The first 4 weeks were about the basics. It was relatively easy as previous experience had prepared me well.  Still, it was tiring, thanks to the 8-9 hours at school plus the 2-3 hours of studying at home.

Everything got more difficult in the second phase. This was the part where we built smaller webapps, including frontend and backend tasks. I had the first breakdown: I dreamt in code! But I thoroughly enjoyed being able to create something on my own from scratch.

There were times when I got stuck,  devastated by the thought that I might not be able to solve the problem. But this is the part that you have to get used to as a developer – getting stuck and getting yourself unstuck. This is the part where you have to push through, keep going, and keep trying. Take a break. Clear your head. But don’t give up. As I’ve often said to myself and others:

Embrace the challenge, embrace the struggle!

Kick-starting a career

In the project phase, I was chosen for a React full-stack project that simulated a real-life workplace. I worked on both frontend and backend tasks. In this phase, senior people from partner companies often visit the demos looking for junior developers to hire. That happened in my case, too. As Aliz is a partner of GFA, they invited me and five classmates to interview. They were looking for a Frontend Developer for a React project. Bingo! It was a match made in heaven. 

After a two-hour interview process, they chose me and I started my first developer job three  weeks after the course ended, even before the graduation ceremony.

My team is working on a multi-branded, integrated, modularized web application which is used in several countries for several clients, where the frontend is running on Google App Engine

I dove into the work immediately, and started working on my first issue within a day. Thanks to coming from a very similar stack I didn’t need any major training period to start with. However, the company has its resources for training, which new hires often use during their onboarding process.

Wanna know more about a junior life at Aliz? Stay tuned for Part II, or subscribe to our newsletter so that you don’t miss anything from us. 😉