New careers in coding – the students view
The Coding Fellowship combines 12 weeks of intensive teaching, covering the fundamentals of web development, with a paid industry work placement and help to secure employment as a web developer upon graduation.
The course – run at the Paintworks, the heart of Bristol’s creative and tech quarter – is developed and delivered by industry experts, with a heavy focus on project work, using industry tools and practices, and hands-on learning.
It takes students from beginners all the way through to being employable junior web developers, while building a portfolio of work.
We catch up with two of the students on the spring cohort to find out how they are pursuing a new career in coding.
Read our Q&A with Simon & Kasia:
Why do you want to learn how to code?
● Kasia: It’s become more and more important to have digital skills as you can apply them in almost any profession. The language industry, which I have been working in for the last couple of years is also changing. When I thought of my future in, let’s say, a ten-year perspective it became clear that I need to keep up with the shift.
● Simon: I am changing my career path. For the past twenty-plus years I have been working in music as a conductor of orchestras and opera. I want new creative challenges and the potential of the web really excites me.
Why did you choose to enrol on the Coding Fellowship?
● Simon: The concept of a twelve-week bootcamp is perfect. I have too many personal responsibilities to be able to consider a three-year programme at a university. Also, the fact that I am being taught by practitioners is very appealing. The information I’m getting is current and relevant to the jobs I will very soon be applying for.
● Kasia: First of all, I wanted to gain digital skills which I could apply into my area of expertise, but also beyond it. Taking an intense 12-week course seemed to be a good opportunity to gain new skills in a relatively short period of time.
How much knowledge of web development did you have before you started the course?
● Kasia: I had some basic skills of using HTML, CSS and WordPress. However, I didn’t really have an opportunity to put it into practice and expand this knowledge.
● Simon: I have been creating my own websites for projects for a number of years. I’ve done this using ‘prêt–à–porter’ services such as Squarespace and altering the HTML and CSS a little to personalize the preformatted pages.
What makes up an average day on the Fellowship?
● Simon: Officially lessons begin at 9:30 but, as we’re all keeners, the group is usually at their desks by 9am working on exercises. A typical day will begin with lessons on new coding languages, techniques or best practices. We will then spend a good portion of the day working on specific problems and portfolio projects.
● Kasia: In the morning we usually have a presentation around some new concepts. After this we are given a brief on the basis of which we need to work on a specific project. During the day our work is reviewed and at the end of each day we discuss what we built, what problems we came across, etc.
Has the programme met your expectations so far?
● Kasia: Yes! It’s only been a week and a half so far, but I feel like I’ve learnt so much. What is more, I was able to utilise my newly gained knowledge and start coding from day one.
Describe your first week on the Coding Fellowship?
● Kasia: I have to admit that my first day was a bit overwhelming as although I had done some online courses before, I didn’t put much of it into practice. However, that all changed very quickly and I’ve been gaining more confidence with every day spent on the course.
● Simon: Exhausting and exciting. We have covered a lot of HTML, CSS and JQuery basics this week. We’re pushed to make our own discoveries, but there is a great feeling support in the room, both from my fellow students and Develop Me instructors.
What advice would you give someone thinking about applying for the Coding Fellowship Programme?
● Kasia: It is a great opportunity to gain new skills in a relatively short period of time. However, the training is very intense and in order to make the most of it, be sure you are able to commit to it 100%.
● Simon: Don’t panic! There’s a lot to learn but the fundamentals are delightfully simple (once you can see the elements for the code).
Applications for the autumn cohort of the Coding Fellowship are now open (start date September 19)