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Chris Quinn – Remote Working Testimonial

Recently, we had the pleasure of interviewing a Code Institute graduate, Chris Quinn, for our first-ever remote working testimonial video. We caught up with Chris a few weeks into COVID-19, just after getting hired as a software development engineer with Mastercard. Thrown in at the deep-end, Chris has started his new role remotely. In this remote working testimonial, we talk about why he did Code Institute’s Full-Stack Software Development programme, his working from home experience, and more. 

What did you do before the Code Institute programme?

Before the programme, I worked primarily in admin-based roles for the likes of the UK Government, Glasgow Life, and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. 

Did you have any coding experience?

I briefly tinkered with Python when I bought a Raspberry Pi a few years ago but didn’t learn anything in a structured way. Prior to that was more than 20 years ago or almost 30 years ago with the Commodore 64 and Basic

So Chris, why did you choose to become a software developer? 

I’ve always been a massive geek and I’ve always loved tinkering with things – hardware, computers. I’ve been building PCs and laptops for about twenty years, but I’ve never found a way to channel that into something professionally. So, I decided that when I wanted to do something more than just admin jobs, it made more sense to do software development because I could then build things that other people could use. I could build tools that could be useful.

Why did you choose Code Institute? 

From what I had read about Code Institute, it was a very well-structured programme. It was designed to take people like me who had no previous experience in coding from absolute basics, slowly through each of the steps until we developed the skills to become a full-stack developer. 

I think as well that the course itself was very comprehensive. It was relevant to the job listings that I had seen online. Also, what was most important was the university credit-rating. Having worked for a university, I know how difficult it is to achieve that rating. It signalled to me that the course content and the teaching methods were of a high standard. 

Did you find the programme to be difficult? 

The programme itself was challenging. It wasn’t difficult. There were certainly areas where I got stuck and didn’t know how to proceed, or I was advancing at a rate that was slower than I would like to have gone. Still, when there were times that I did get stuck, I was able to reach out to other students on the Slack communities that had the same issues and get feedback and experience from them. Or I could reach out to the tutor team, and they would help guide me through the issue I had at the time, but never give me the answer. They would always work in a way that would allow you to get to the answer yourself so that you have that Eureka moment. 

Did the course prepare you for remote working?

Yes, I do think that the course is very good for preparing you for remote working. You have to be able to have the discipline to set aside the time to complete the course, and that’s going to be at home, that’s going to be remote. You’re not in a classroom. So you’ll have to develop the skills that you need to succeed. You have to be able to research your own problems. You’ll have to find out answers for yourself without being able to turn to someone and ask them a question. So, it does motivate you to ask the right questions, find the right information and put it in place yourself. 

Chris, what do you do now? 

I work now as a software development engineer for Mastercard in their authentication solutions division.

How are you finding working for them remotely? 

Having recently started working with Mastercard, and doing so remotely, at least for the moment, it has been very strange. Normally, you would just go into the office and get to know your colleagues, and sit with them and see what everybody does. You can’t do that working remotely. But the team meet every day. We do daily stand-up meetings to make sure everybody is on track with each of the projects that we are working on. Outside of those meetings, we keep in contact via Skype, and MS Teams just to make sure that everyone is doing okay. They’re really lovely people. They’ve been very, very, supportive. 

Would you recommend the Code Institute programme?

I would definitely recommend the Code Institute programme. It has allowed me to completely switch careers and do something that I’ve always found fascinating but never professionally considered. Now I’m able to this as a full-time job and get paid for it.

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