Below is an extract from Code Institute’s recent e-Book entitled, “Community: your key to career change success -Tips from students who have worn your shoes and from employers that want to hire you”. In this story, we read about Maya, a perfectionist risk-taker who is now a software test engineer with Bosch e-bikes. Maya was in the same boat as our students before, during and after taking part in our full-stack programme.
Before she moved to Sweden, Maya worked in the financial services industry. She was in a new country during the pandemic, so it was difficult to kick-start a career. Maya knew that coding and software were going to be crucial to her young son’s future and got him to join a “toddler’s coding course”. When she saw him write simple code, Maya was immediately fascinated and decided to explore this for herself. The rest is herstory!
“That’s really how it started, when I watched my eight-year-old boy learning code. I was in finance and accounting and had never thought about a career in tech before. I always thought this was aiming too high and that software development was too far-fetched for me.
But a spark was lit. I acted on my instinct and signed up with Code Institute. A few months into the course, I was dreaming about code. Now when I read my son his bedtime stories, I see HTML code!
My first coding job
I found my job before graduating, and that was because when an opportunity came up, I was prepared. That is my character, yes, to think ahead and get a head start when I can, but I couldn’t have done it with Code Institute.
The Slack community is obviously a big part of my journey. Every time I run into an issue, it doesn’t matter if it’s about the course material or my own project, there is always someone there to help. Doesn’t matter if it’s Saturday or late at night. So that along with tutor support from Code Institute, that’s just very useful and reassuring.
I was an early fan of the masterclasses where Code Institute alumni come back to talk to the current students. I was curious to hear the stories of people who had gone through the process already, any tips they had, and how the course had shaped their lives.
I don’t like to do things in a rush, so I started working on my CV and cover letter early. After finishing my third project, I began to keep an eye on LinkedIn jobs to get a feel of the job market.
That’s not how I found my job, though. A friend of mine alerted me to the opportunity at Bosch, where he worked already. If I had just seen the advert, they put out I’d never have dared to apply because 90% of the things they asked for I didn’t know how to do. But he encouraged me to go for it anyway.
It’s good to be prepared, but it’s also good to be brave. After less than a month on the course, I did a hackathon, and that was a steep learning curve. I didn’t even know about GitHub, nothing. But my team was incredibly supportive, and they spent a lot of time helping me to set up my GitHub correctly and giving me guidance about what I was doing wrong. So I really learned a lot.
My CV needed work of course and Jane [Gormley] from the Code Institute Career Service sat me down and talked me through the changes I needed to make. As I said, I did that early on, which meant that when the Bosch job came up, I had a polished CV and cover letter to send them.
When they invited me for an interview, I had a prep session with Jane, which gave me a lot of confidence going in.
Bosch was looking for a software engineer to test e-bike components. That was the role I had applied for. There is a lot of software embedded in electric bikes, and what we do is develop new features and flash them onto the hardware to see if it behaves.
During the interview, they asked about the Code Institute, of course. They look at my GitHub for the projects I did, and especially the third project in Python because that is the language Bosch e-bikes uses.
A really important part of the interview was my engagement with Code Institute’s channel for peer code review. I had not expected that. The peer code review channel is for anyone who feels they want other students or alumni to look at their project. You can post your project, and people will reply with suggestions on what you should change.
The channel is for you to get help and also to offer it. When you find bugs in other people’s projects, you have to communicate this to them without being critical or harsh. We are there to support each other.
That’s just the accepted rule within Code Institute as a community, where they emphasize mutual support. Bosch liked this because part of being a testing engineer is to report bugs without making other people feel bad.
I got the job and started two weeks ago.
Bosch develops a lot of digital solutions, so the potential to grow is enormous. But right now, I am in the e-bike team doing testing and it is an excellent starting point.
The team is very diverse. I am from China, even though I have lived in Western Europe for more than two decades, and we have team members from India, Africa and Cuba, as well as Swedes, of course.
Diversity of all kinds is very important to me. At Code Institute, I joined the neurodiversity channel, not because I have direct experience of this, but I just want to be informed. I want to be aware of it. I also enjoyed the In-It-Together chatroom. You can start a call whenever you want, and people will join. And it’s not necessarily about coding, just everyday life.
I will continue to be involved with Code Institute as an alumnus. Absolutely. I got so much support from the Slack community so I want to give back whenever I can to help students at the beginning of their journey, or when they feel down.
We all felt discouraged at certain times, and alongside the ‘formal’ support from Code Institute, such as tutors and mentors, the community was always there to jump in and get you through it. There is always someone to support you, yes.”
Read more community stories
Want to read more stories like this one from Maya? Download our latest eBook and read more stories from the amazing Code Institute community. Remember, if you’re thinking of a career change to software development, these amazing people wore the same shoes as you. Download the eBook through the form below.