Coding the Future: Developer Spotlight – Emma Hewson

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Coding the Future: Developer Spotlight – Emma Hewson

In October 2022, Emma Hewson joined Code Institute’s Level 5 Diploma in Web Application Development programme, which is run in association with Cardiff and Vale College and is funded via the Welsh Government’s Personal Learning Accounts (PLA) initiative.

The course aims to equip learners in full-stack software development, preparing them to enter the digital workforce in various roles.

Emma successfully completed the programme and achieved her qualification in December 2023. Since October 2023, she has used her new skills at Tropic in her role as a Web Developer. She has agreed to share her story with us for this developer spotlight.

Tell us about yourself and how you found your way to this programme.

I had been self-employed for a while, working in video production & motion graphics. I had been doing it for some time and was looking for a change. I wanted the security of full-time work again, which wasn’t really an option in my old industry in North West Wales. I enjoyed the more technical aspects of animation, which involved some simple coding.

So, after a bit of Googling, I found Code Institute and saw an ad for places funded on the course through the Welsh Government funding with the PLA. I gave coding a try on the 5-day coding challenge and was immediately hooked – I knew I’d found the right direction for my career change, so I signed up for the full course.

What are you passionate about?

I love being creative, and I love problem-solving. I’m also a very enthusiastic drummer – which somehow feels like it uses the same part of my brain that loves coding!

What appeals to you about coding?

The challenge and the problem solving, being able to type in some ‘magic’ letter that makes things happen and change – the sense of excitement when they work feels amazing. I also love the combination of figuring out the big picture of what you want to do and then getting lost in the details of how to do it. It’s a very rewarding process.

What can you say about your experience with Cardiff and Vale College as part of this journey?

Studying via Cardiff and Vale College was really smooth and easy. I live up in North Wales, so nowhere near Cardiff, but I could do everything remotely. The college allowed me to access the PLA funding for the course, which was fantastic. After the initial sign-up and registration, which was done through the college, all my communication was then with Code Institute.

What are the main things you learned on the course?

The course opened up the world of web development to me. We learn not just the languages and frameworks but also a new way of thinking. I knew very little about code or web development before starting and came away with a really great foundation of knowledge.

How has the course helped you to progress?

I found a job not long before finishing the course, which was fantastic. I got the job based on the portfolio of work I had created with Code Institute as well as my transferable skills, so essentially, the course set me up for a totally new career.

What are the main challenges you have had to overcome while learning?

The hardest thing was probably getting my head around JavaScript. Initially, HTML & CSS were much closer to the experience I had with design & video – they’re both very visual. But I found that JavaScript was a completely different way of thinking! It was my first experience with a full-on coding language, and it took me a while before it started to sink in. But it was so rewarding when it did, and working with JavaScript is now one of my favourite parts of my new job.

What do you like about learning on the Code Institute platform?

Accessing the course online was great; it was easy to find where you were in the course and access old lessons when needed. I liked the way it took you through from stage to stage, so you weren’t bombarded with masses of information at once.

What are you most proud of developing so far?

My favourite project is my most recent one, a new website for the company I work for: https://tropic.studio. It has allowed me to bring together my creative background in animation and my new coding skills to build a website with loads of animation and fun features. It’s exactly the sort of project I hoped I’d be working on one day.

What would you recommend to other learners considering learning to code?

Give it a try – do some free courses online and see if it suits you. If you find that you are losing hours buried in a tunnel of code and forget what time it is because you’re so immersed in it – then it’s probably for you! If you enjoy it and fancy a new career, then go for it and sign up for a course like Code Institute’s.

What is your long-term goal with these skills?

I am busy building a career in web development with a long-term plan to specialise in motion and animation for web – making websites more engaging and dynamic using my creative background together with my coding skills.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Alongside the Code Institute course and pastoral care, which were both great, the careers materials and sessions were really helpful for me going through my career change, so thank you to the careers team and everyone at Code Institute for all your help and support. You’ve helped me create an entirely new career for myself; I wake up and look forward to going to work each day; it’s fantastic. Thank you so much.

Many thanks to Emma for sharing her journey with us. If you are interested in learning web development, you can register for our 5-Step Coding Challenge here. If you want to learn more about our training services, you can email partners@codeinstitute.net.

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