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From San Francisco to Bournemouth: Becoming a web developer

Thanks for landing here and for reading this. I wanted to share with you a bit about my experience on becoming a web developer.

First I wanted to say that everyone’s journey into tech is different. There are other far better ways of getting into tech, but at the end the awesome thing about tech is that it doesn’t quite matter. Your work and your results as a programmer will speak louder than any degree. Since I became a junior web developer, I have been received with a warm welcome by British Software Development and by the industry as a whole. This is my story.

Nihon, where the story actually starts…

I lied, the story doesn’t start in San Francisco, in fact it starts in Japan.

After six months in Japan I was impressed by the technological capabilities and innovation in Asia. I couldn’t believe the future already existed there – in a way. The question of when does the future begin has long been a personal fascination and this experience was eye opening. Experiencing high tech everywhere in robotics, mobiles, buildings, trains, trains… did I mention trains? Even the self cleaning toilets made me realise how far behind America was, and still is.

Back to California.

Moving back to the States was a total anti-climax after the technology high of Asia. I didn’t see the western world the same way anymore. I felt disappointed and in some way, cheated by being made to believe that the US has the best of the best. This was, unfortunately, also at the same time as the financial crisis was hitting the country.

Adding to my good luck, I got into the University of California, Berkeley to study Politics and Economics. So, I threw myself into my unknown and “untechie” future to study something I was only growing more and more pessimistic about.

I made friends who were also computer science double majors and these guys were seriously intelligent and inspired me at a perfect time. They introduced me to the world of geeks and staying in the library, Moffitt, until 3am. But the thing I really learned from them was their love for the gruelling pain of learning new things. I must admit though, hanging out with them did make me think that programming was very much, “brogramming” – I was the only girl in the group.

Keep Calm and Carry On.

Life’s interesting twists and turns led me to move to London to live with “this guy”. I had studied in Paris and London during my senior year and thought I could handle living in Europe for a while. “The guy” and I eventually got married and with that I regained a sense of freedom to focus on my career.

I started spending late nights on my laptop looking for inspiration and direction. And that’s when I started reading software documentation and learning Javascript.

I may be the one of a few people made happy by Javascript. But as soon as I did I realised I wanted to quit my job and make programming my sole focus.

Self-taught coding and General Assembly

My progress learning to code started to slow down as I was spending too much time figuring out small issues that were blocking me from coding more. So, I started looking to join a group of people to code with.

I ended up signing up in General Assembly’s Web Development Immersive, which provided me with the environment and team to support myself through this transition. I won’t go into my experience at General Assembly in this post, but what I would like to say is that learning to code is a personal journey and that you should try to learn the basics on your own.

Bootcamps can be great, but they are expensive and I think that those people who already knew some code got more out of it. I personally needed time-off after the course to study everything again on my own because in the mad rush of the course, understanding was not really a priority. My focus was on submitting the daily homework.

Getting that first job – in sunny Bournemouth!

My Linkedin was full of messages from recruiters contacting me for jobs, which was awesome 😎. But I never had time to respond to them!

Seeing that people were interested in my background and my personal story made me feel welcome to the industry as a whole. However, as much as I wanted to be a city person, I needed out of London. I craved the open sky, hikes, fresh air and the ocean. Unfortunately with Mr. Trump as president, I don’t feel like moving back home… surely you understand 😖?!

I haven’t travelled in the north of the country yet but I have visited a lot  of the south, and I think Dorset is a great place to be in. As my partner is from Bournemouth, it made the decision to move down here easy.

A post shared by British Software Development (@britishsoftware) on

I’m excited to be part of the British Software team. From day one I was given direct mentorship and a project to dive into straight away. I’m working directly with Chris, one of our senior developers, which is great for improving my software development capabilities. I even get to play on our awesome Game Cube from time to time!

It’s a wrap

Coding is awesome and challenging! I couldn’t be happier doing the work I’m doing and learning so much everyday. It makes me realise how much time one can waste procrastinating. It also has made me realise how much you can learn by simply getting on with your dreams and goals.

As Steve Jobs said: “Learning code teaches you how to think”. To which I would add, it also teaches you humility and perseverance.

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