Graduate Story: Simen Daehlin

In our most recent white paper, “A job in software development – where to start?”, we look at the career change journey into software development. As part of the paper, we interviewed some of our graduates who have reskilled on our full-stack programme and who are progressing on their journey in software development. The graduates that we interviewed were Simen Daehlin, Kira Estrada, and Adrian Rus.

Each of these students moved from one career to another. They learned the skills of programming and are now progressing quickly through various roles in software development. Their journeys have brought them on different paths using their programming skills. 

Simen Daehlin

In this story, we interview Simen Daehlin. Simen was born to code but needed to learn more. He went from creating WordPress sites to having the skills to start completely working with his own code. Simen is now Strapi Squad Lead Developer with Virgin Media. Below is part of his story.  

Simen is a born developer – so much so that soon after he came to the UK, a recruiter put him up for a senior job in PHP development, although Simen had never written a line of code in that language.

“But the experience made me determined to fill the gaps in my knowledge and become a full-stack developer.”

Simen had sold mobile phones, started a company developing WordPress sites (“nothing to do with coding!”) and worked in customer support for Google and HTC. “But I don’t like sitting still. I need to be creative and really enjoy making things.”

Code Institute Programme

His motive for enrolling with Code Institute was partly “to get that piece of paper”, but also, he soon realised, to introduce him to aspects of end-to-end development that were indispensable to a long-term career in tech. 

“JavaScript was the biggest fear of my life. I saw the guys who write this stuff and thought: ‘I can never do this.’ That was three years ago, and now I do everything in JavaScript. As a programming language, JavaScript is the love of my life.”

Landing a job

With the support of his wife and family, Simen was able to do the course full-time and land a position as a front-end developer before he had graduated. “For the first time in my life, I didn’t get one job offer, I got two. I got to choose! I could pick the one that was closest to me.”

As he moved up the ranks as Full-Stack Developer, Senior JavaScript Developer, and Lead Full Stack Developer, Simen also became a Mentor on the Code Institute course, where his infectious enthusiasm for coding and software development is inspiring new cohorts of tech workers and innovators.

“What employers are looking for is someone that is willing to learn. It’s how quick you are, not how good you are. Because if you think you’re the best person in the world to do it, then you’re not right for the job. Because the best person for a team is not that lone wolf who does everything on his own, but the person who reaches out to his team and asks for help. How else do you learn and progress?”

This is why Simen stresses the importance of the Code Institute Slack community, “the most hidden gem of a tool that Code Institute has over anything else”. 

“Students who use Slack to interact with other students or network with the wider community often get a job before anyone else.”

His other advice is about consistency. “Coding is like weight training,” says Simen, “if you go once a week, you won’t build any muscle. But if you go regularly and put in the work, you will see the difference in two or three months. You have to practice regularly. It’s not difficult, but you have to stay committed.”

And the learning never stops.

“I’m training and learning at the same time. No matter where you are in your career as a developer, you are constantly learning new stuff because what was JavaScript yesterday might not be JavaScript today.”

Simen currently works for Virgin Media as Strapi (pronounced “strappy”) Squad Lead Developer. Strapi is an Open Source tool for the so-called headless development of Content Management Systems. “That basically means I work on the backend,” Simen explains. “All the marketing people at Virgin, all the editors, everyone building or adapting the website is at the front-end. But if my Strapi thing does not work, they can’t build that front end. If my Strapi thing goes down, all the websites go down.”

Simen relishes the responsibility and the creativity of his job.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about coding,” he concludes. “It’s not about sitting behind your PC writing endless lines of code all day. Software development is about problem-solving and teamwork.

“That’s why I love my job as a Mentor at Code Institute. Coding is about community, and that is what I teach and practice every day.”

Try the free Challenge

If you want to embark on your own coding journey, and if you want to find out more about the steps to making a career change to software development, you can download the white paper here. If you want to learn some of the basics of code for free, then check out our free 5 Day Coding Challenge. Register now through the form below. 

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