A bit about me…
Before I started my journey in tech, I was unsure of what I wanted to do as a career. I worked in sales for a while, and while I enjoyed the work, I felt like something was missing.
I’ve always had a fascination with technology, and out of curiosity, I decided to start dabbling in coding using free resources online. To my surprise, I quickly fell in love with the process of building things with code and problem solving, and I knew that I wanted to make a career out of it.
Taking the leap - bootcamp time!
Making the decision to join a 4 month coding bootcamp was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was intense to say the least, with late nights and no social life (we even had homework on the weekends too!), but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
The bootcamp taught me so much more than just the coding skills that I went there to learn. It was a crash course in problem solving, pair programming and team work, as my cohort worked together to create small projects (we made our own versions of Airbnb, Facebook and Instagram!). Not only did I get experience with a few programming languages, but It also taught me the invaluable skill of learning how to learn.
The interview process
Before my first interview with Cleo, I was incredibly nervous. Luckily, I came across the How we do engineering interviews at Cleo blog post, which helped me prepare for every step of the process. Despite being well-prepared, I was still anxious, but the team was understanding and lovely.
One thing I really appreciated was the ‘Meet the Team’ interview, which helped to give a different perspective on life at Cleo. It put my mind at ease because I knew what to expect once I started, plus it was a great way to get to know some of the people I’m now working with.
Support I’ve received as a Junior developer
One of the aspects I adore about Cleo (and something I think every junior developer should seek in their first role) is the support I received. In my first week, I was introduced to my mentor/buddy Rita, tech lead Fell, and manager Graham, who have all been instrumental in my growth during these six months. I have weekly catch-ups with each of them, which allow me to brainstorm, debug challenges, discuss my goals, and ensure I’m on the right path to progress within my role.
Thanks to these three and my entire squad, my skills as a developer have improved a lot.
It didn’t take very long for me to feel like I was part of the team. In my first 3 weeks, almost everyone in my squad had scheduled a ‘get to know you’ zoom call with me, which gave me the chance to have a casual chit-chat with everyone outside of our regular meetings. About a month after I joined, we had the company offsite in Alicante, which I was lucky enough to attend. I got to meet nearly everyone in the company, and enjoy some amazing activities, like beach olympics, karaoke, wine tasting and golf.
I also got to meet all of my squad in person! (Reppin’ M for Monet)
Support in my personal project
Every morning in our standup meeting, my squad uses a mood board as a fun way to check in on how everyone is feeling that day - It’s all vibes! I noticed in my first few weeks that whoever was running stand up had the tedious task of trying to find a new/different one each day. This stood out one morning when Adam who was running standup that day said ‘I’m sorry but it’s going to have to be Drake again today’ - cue the moans.
I had an idea to make a website that shows a different mood board every week day. I used this side project as a way to practice implementing the new skills I was learning.
I was initially apprehensive about showing this to my team, as I was still very new (to both Cleo and being a developer), but they were all incredibly supportive. We now use it everyday, and a lot of other squads at Cleo use it in their standups too!
(FYI - Most of the time I’m a 3, but I’m also often a 5 when I’m stuck on a problem)
My advice to anyone looking to start a career in tech
- Try before you buy – There are plenty of free resources online to help you get started and determine if software development is something you want to pursue further.
- Choose your path – degree, bootcamp, or self-learning. There are many different ways to get started. I recommend doing some research into each option and figuring out which one best suits your situation.
- Start applying to jobs – I have learned so much more in the 'real world' of coding than I ever could on my own or in a bootcamp. Applying to jobs can be daunting, but you'll definitely learn a lot