Career change to tech: Meet Zack - Develop Me - Coding Bootcamp Career change to tech: Meet Zack - Develop Me - Coding Bootcamp



1st September 2020

Career change to tech: Meet Zack

Zack spent 6 yrs in both the Royal Marines and Navy before deciding a career change to tech would be ideal when his love of technology was resurrected at one of our Taster Sessions.


When did a career change to tech cross your mind?

was approaching a natural break point at which I could leave the Royal Navy (12 years), so I was prompted to consider what I would do next.

I considered project management or a corporate job but decided that wasn’t for me.
The tech industry has continued to boom since then, and the taster session got me thinking about a career in tech.

I did some online courses and completely fell in love with the idea of learning to become a professional software engineer.

What made you choose the Develop Me coding bootcamp?

I attended a taster session at DevelopMe and remembered being really into computers and enjoying having a go at programming when I was a teenager.

I decided it was ‘now or never’ to take the risk, so I signed up for the bootcamp!


What was your main ‘question’ before enrolling?

At first I thought I wouldn’t be good enough. I got the initial impression at the taster evening that the intake tended to be from creative industries and I didn’t think my background would be relevant and that I was too old.

I did a few online courses, started going to meet-ups and doing personal projects. This helped me to really grow in confidence before starting the fellowship.

Do you still feel that way?

Despite being really confident with code before the start date – I’ve definitely been challenged and have learned loads already.

Learning the workflow of methodically putting together websites really opened my eyes to the value of this course over online tutorials and hacking/bodging together personal projects.

The first few days of JavaScript helped me understand the concept of elegance / changeability in programming.

What level of coding had you done before the course?

Zack meeting the queen

(1) Online courses in addition to prep work: Harvard University’s intro undergraduate module in computer science via edX (CS50); freeCodeCamp’s JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures, and Responsive Web Design certifications.
(2) Personal projects: a Python web scraper of job vacancies from + data visualisation using the Plotly framework; a Python natural language processing web app using NLTK and Dash to allow a local community group to interrogate free-form survey responses (~35,000 words) and display an interactive word cloud filterable by demographics and other criteria.
(3) A couple of basic websites. More info at and

How are you enjoying being a Bristol coding bootcamp student?

Really good. Loving the format, loving the focus on workflow/good practice as well as the nuts and bolts (e.g. BEM, atomic design and SASS on top of ‘how to do CSS grid’).

Loving the chilled approach, it all feels very safe to fail and not know the answer.

Jack the teaching assistant in particular is very good at giving constructive feedback, focussing on positives but also delivering advice on what could be improved that doesn’t feel at all critical.


How is the LIVE remote learning going?

Absolutely fine. I have missed a bit of in-person interaction, but I think on balance the benefits of having more time in the day from not commuting and being able to work/study in a distraction-free environment outweigh the cons.

It’s good that Develop Me still retains its Bristol focus though. I think I’d be less happy with the remote working situation if Develop Me had become a global remote bootcamp since I signed up. I feel the core benefit of a “local” bootcamp is in developing a sustainable connection with others in the cohort that will continue into our new careers.

We have now been able to meet up in Bristol which was excellent!

How are you finding the support as a coding bootcamp student?

Positive on the whole. The one-to-ones are invaluable.

What have you been most proud of before joining the Bootcamp?

Last year I rode my bike from Bristol to Paris and back (550 miles) in a long weekend!

*Zack secured a job just 6 weeks into his 12 week coding bootcamp – We are very proud of him and know that he will be a great success in all that he chooses to do and delighted he made the career change to tech seamlessly!

We have been helping students to career change to tech for almost 5 years and welcome anyone with a learning attitude and a genuine desire to put 100% into their career change. Find out more about our Bootcamp here and get in touch with any queries!


Receive our latest updates & course information

Back to the top