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From Sales to Software Development

Sales to Software Development – Graduate Interview

Recently, we met with Pierce O’Neill who lives in the picturesque area of Kenmare, Co. Kerry in Ireland. To help him change career from sales to software development, Pierce opted to take part in Code Institute’s Full Stack Software Development program. He learned to code and graduated from our program in December 2018. So, we caught up with him to see how he’s getting on. Here’s his response to the questions we asked.

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What did you do before the programme?

My original education was a Diploma in Computing with German in Carlow IT. I finished that in the year 2000. However, I drifted towards financial roles because at the time there was no work in the IT sector. I just stayed there, and I got stuck in a rut really.  

In 2009, I started working for myself in a sales job, but to be honest, I had no passion for it.

What were your fears about becoming a software developer?

I suppose the fears about becoming a software developer were; Would I be able to keep up with the course? Was I too old? Would I be able to support my family? These were all fears that were stuck in my mind and, you know, would it be worth the risk?

Were you fearful of doing the course?

I didn’t know what to expect, because I hadn’t had any experience (of online courses) and I was a bit sceptical really that it would be as intensive as doing it in a classroom. I was proved wrong.

My problem was working alone at home. Would I fall behind? Who was gonna tell me if I was doing anything wrong? Was I learning the right way? Was I doing the right thing?

How did Code Institute’s support structure help you through the course content?

The different support structures in the Code Institute were of great benefit to me. You were assigned a mentor who checked in with you regularly, and you could make appointments if you felt there were any issues you were coming up against. The tutors could be accessed online at any time or via the messaging service, Slack, where there are a great number of students and ex-students active. So if you have any issues, you’re never on your own.

The greatest benefit to me was being able to go back over documentation and videos. It was something I wouldn’t have had twenty years ago in college when I had to write down notes and miss out information. I could go back and refresh it in my mind and discover the answers.

Did you develop from the course – personally/professionally?


My self-esteem really grew. You know, my confidence. The course is structured in such a way where you have projects at the end of each module. You get to physically see your ideas come to life, which for me is a massive bonus.  

What were the high points?

The highs of this course were completing the projects. It was great to see all of your work from the previous months turn into something that was physically there and could be used. My other high point was participating in group hackathons with fellow students. It’s something that I’d love to participate in in the future.

Image shows Pierce O'Neill who career changed from sales to software development working on his laptop outside with three statues in the background.

For my final project, I developed an app, which was a babysitter finder. This has attracted interest from a number of app developers already who’ve approached me. It’s a bit overwhelming, to be honest.

What about the low points?

For me, there were no low points with this course. There may have been a couple of late nights or days with a bit of stress, but the support networks are so focused, I never really felt under pressure.

Has your life changed?

The Code Institute course has changed my life and my family’s life. It has given me the ability to work closer to home and therefore be part of my family, and not be commuting two hours each way to the nearest city.

You’ve just finished the course, how is the job search going?

Even before I finished the course with the Code Insitute, I was approached by a number of recruitment agencies about jobs, and I was quite surprised because this is something that has never happened to me before. I currently have three job offers on the table, and I couldn’t be happier.

Do you like being a software developer?

I love being a software developer because it gives me the chance to bring out my creativity and also problem solve, which to me is brilliant. It has enabled me to have the lifestyle that I want. I’m living in a beautiful part of the country in a rural setting, and I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do that if I wasn’t a software developer being able to work remotely.

How does it affect your family life?

It has affected my life in only positive ways. I’m there in the morning for my children when they get out of bed and give them their breakfast. I’m there to tuck them in at night time.

Should I worry about maths?

I think that to succeed as a software developer, you need to be able to work as part of a team. You need to be able to problem solve. But, don’t worry too much about the maths!

Was the course worth it?

The course was time and money well spent. I got more than I was expecting, and I’m very happy with the result. I highly recommend the Code Institute course. It’s an excellent opportunity for a positive career change.

ICT in Kerry

County Kerry, where Pierce is based, has recently started a number of initiatives, such as Kerry SciTech, to attract more businesses to the area. As a result, more than 180 new jobs were announced in the local ICT sector.

The local Education Training Board has also recognised the importance of software development and has recently announced a scheme in which they will upskill 14 people to software development through Code Institute.

Would you like to know more about Code Institute’s Full Stack Software Development program? Fill in the form below to get in touch.