Graduate Stories: Valentina, Berlin

Code Institute has many graduates who have changed careers to software development. They’ve worked hard at learning their new skills and are now reaping the benefits of what software development can offer. In this graduate story, we spoke with Valentina. Born in Croatia and living in Berlin, Valentina graduated from Code Institute in 2021. Starting as a Junior web engineer, Valentina is now a product manager for growth, performance and product analytics. Below is an extract from her interview. 

Tell us about your background before Code Institute

My academic background is in languages and linguistics. I have a degree in Indology with an emphasis on linguistics, but my professional background is in performance marketing. 

Before the program, I did not have much coding experience. I tried to learn coding by myself, I was focusing mainly on HTML and CSS, but I soon realised that this was not enough for me and it’s not the learning method that I prefer. I needed a course that would be more structured and broader. Not focusing only on, for example, front-end development or web development, because as a beginner coder, you don’t know exactly what you’d like and which field you’d like to focus on. I needed something that would let me experience different development fields. 

Why did you choose software development? 

At one of my previous job positions, I had the chance to work really closely with the development team, product managers, and the UX team. So, this experience motivated me to learn more about coding. 

Why did you choose Code Institute? 

I was choosing between four different schools for my coding bootcamp. Code Institute had the curriculum that I liked the best. I chose Code Institute because of two main reasons. Firstly, the curriculum is very broad, so I get to experience different fields of development, and the second one is because the program is university credit-rated. This is very important to me because I wanted to be sure that the program was up to a certain standard. 

Did you find the course difficult? 

The program is not difficult. It’s definitely challenging. There are a lot of new exciting things that I’ve learned. Long-distance learning, like what Code Institute offers, definitely prepares you for remote working. 

Was it hard to do the program and work full-time? 

Definitely, it’s hard to maintain a work-life balance when you’re working full-time, and you’re also doing the course part-time. You have to find some time for the course either during your lunch break, before working hours, after working hours, but I have to say that it is nothing that is not manageable. Especially if you enjoy what you’re doing. 

Any tips for Code Institute students? 

Maybe this is going to sound cheesy, but I would like to encourage anyone who would like to become a student because I actually waited for about a year and a half before I enrolled on a coding bootcamp, and I’ve been planning financially and mentally to do it, so I’m just really sad that I didn’t do it earlier. 

I have three bits of advice for anyone who is thinking of enrolling in a coding bootcamp. 

  1. It’s a cheesy one, but the first one is you really can do it. It’s not rocket science. People have done it before you. You will be able to do it, and people after you will be doing it, so you don’t have to worry about that. You definitely can do it, and you should do it if you are already thinking about it. 
  2. Once you enrol, you just need to make sure that you don’t give up. You don’t have to be excited about every single task, every single programming language, all the development fields, but you have to make sure that you don’t give up. And that’s all it takes.
  3. Please try one more time. You will be challenged by tasks that you find impossible to solve. But it’s definitely not the case. So please try one more time, very often it’s all it takes to solve the problem. Sometimes it’s ten, but that’s okay. 

Would you recommend the program? 

I would definitely recommend Code Institute to anyone who is thinking about full-stack software development or changing their careers into the tech field. It’s a great program to figure out which field of development you enjoy the most, and you can be sure that the program is well structured and organised. 

More graduate stories

If you want to read some more stories from Code Institute graduates like this one from Valentina, then read Kira Adrian, or Simen’s stories in our recent career change whitepaper.

Free Coding Challenge

If you want to see what it’s like to code, we host a free coding challenge that will show you what it is like to use our world-class LMS. After one hour a day over five days, you will learn how to build your first webpage. Register now through the form below this article. 

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