Amy - May 2018 Graduate

Tell us a little bit about you/your background e.g. previous coding experience, job situation before the course, motivations for taking on a coding course etc

I started coding quite young when I was around 13. I started creating websites with table based layouts, and then eventually learnt CSS by creating MySpace themes a few years later.

I enrolled in an ICT course at university with a computer science based syllabus. I had no background in computer science so found the course too overwhelming and quit. I later enrolled in a different ICT course with modules in website design.

I spent the last 6 years working for a company called Human Software, where I created templates for PagePlay using HTML and CSS. PagePlay is a software as a service website management platform. My colleagues encouraged me to experiment with JavaScript on some of the more advanced templates, and I started to wonder if I should give coding another try. I enrolled in a course at Manchester Codes to update my skills and find out if software development could be a future career path for me.

Have you got a new job in tech since completing the course?

Not yet

What do you plan to do next with your new skills? - projects, tutoring/mentoring, new job/promotion, etc.

I haven’t found a new job yet but that’s due to lack of effort on my part, I will be applying for positions in software development in the next few months. Manchester Codes are still supporting me and giving me advice even though I finished my course some months ago now. I'm also working on some of my own side projects just for fun!

Why did you choose Manchester Codes over other courses?

I chose Manchester Codes for a few reasons:

1) They offered a part-time course which was perfect for me as I wanted to learn in the evenings after work. 2) The course was based in the city centre, which again was perfect for me as I rely on public transport to get around. 3) The fees that Manchester Codes charged seemed very competitive, so the course seemed like good value for money. 4) I wanted to learn more about JavaScript, Node.JS, and React, and the Manchester Codes syllabus covered these.

What did you enjoy about Manchester Codes?

Having other students to learn with...everyone on my course was really friendly and we all helped to keep each other motivated. A few of us even teamed up to take part in a hackathon which was a great experience. The tutors were a great support too, incredibly patient, and explained concepts to me multiple times if I was struggling to grasp them. Oh and I really enjoyed creating a virtual pet using JavaScript too!

What did you find challenging at Manchester Codes?

Getting into the right mindset for learning again, leaning into challenging problems instead of procrastinating or giving up.

How did you maintain a balance between work/study/life?

At the beginning of the course I was terribly disorganised, but then I created myself a timetable. I dedicated certain time slots to studying each week and eventually settled into a routine. This really helped me to stay motivated, and keep focussed.

If someone was on the fence about doing the course, what would you tell them?

I'd definitely recommend doing the course. I've tried going down the self-study route many times without success, studying on your own can be incredibly difficult. Attending the course at set times every week, and learning along side fellow students really helped. I got feedback from tutors, and was able to ask them questions if I was struggling. This is something that I didn't have when I was studying alone. I really enjoyed learning to code, and don't think I'd have made so much progress without attending the course.

What advice would you give to others who are doing the course now?

Code every day even if you can only code for 20 minutes on some days. When I first started the course I would sometimes spend a full day coding, and then have a break for four days. I'd often forget what I'd learnt, and have to start again. I found it was much easier to retain information if looked at learning materials or coded every day.