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I learnt to code at 27 - AMA

(96 Posts)
OliviaSoprano Sat 12-Dec-20 19:02:12

Before anybody tells me to get over myself - I do know that there is absolutely nothing special or interesting about this! But women are still so under-represented in tech and I think far too many see it as an area that is "not for them" / a career option that wouldn't even be worth considering. I felt exactly that way three years ago but then I tried it and realised that I bloody love coding and now I'm working full time as a software engineer and really enjoy my job.

Just thought I'd start this in case there is anybody out there who may have questions about what's actually involved or how to go about starting to learn the necessary skills (or anything else obviously, it's AMA!)

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Respectabitch Sat 12-Dec-20 19:03:23

What languages do you work in and what method did you use to learn?

doodlejump1980 Sat 12-Dec-20 19:04:41

How long did it take?
Was your job already in tech?
Do you earn significantly more now after learning to code?

WeirdWomble Sat 12-Dec-20 19:04:53

Hello, No specific questions really but good to see more women in tech.

I'm currently learning Python as part of my degree (Data Science) and loving it smile

OliviaSoprano Sat 12-Dec-20 19:09:56

Respectabitch I'm a full-stack developer and work on a platform that uses a ridiculously wide variety of technologies (which has been great for learning). From this job I would list on my CV Ruby, Scala and React with TypeScript.

I learned from online courses - Codecademy was first and then after six months or so I did a "bootcamp".

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OliviaSoprano Sat 12-Dec-20 19:13:58

doodlejump1980

How long did it take?
From first doing an online course it took about a year before I got a full-time job as a developer.

Was your job already in tech?
I had had no career-y job prior to this at all, I'd worked predominantly in hospitality. The most I had ever earned was £9.60 per hour and I am now borderline higher rate tax-payer (depending on bonus/dividend salary extras)

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OliviaSoprano Sat 12-Dec-20 19:15:58

WeirdWomble Thank you! And it's good to see you too smile Python is the language I learn/ do for fun outside of work, I'm considering doing a few extra courses in data based stuff as I find it super interesting. Wouldn't mind moving in that direction.

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floofycroissant Sat 12-Dec-20 19:21:49

Do you think a career in coding lends itself to a certain type of person? And did you ever have any doubts?

Namenic Sat 12-Dec-20 19:24:03

Really well done! I did a career switch in my 30s to software - but I had a lot of support from DH who is in the industry. Lifestyle is good as my company and department are v nice. I tried when I was a teenager, but got stuck on stuff (before the internet took off) and just kinda gave up.

Hottesttrikeintown Sat 12-Dec-20 19:25:38

I work in tech in a different role but am a horrible coder so good on you! I did codeacademy and can do some basic stuff but I’m really scrappy with it. Proper software engineers get cross when I do it as it’s so messy grin

elQuintoConyo Sat 12-Dec-20 19:26:19

Can I be terribly rude and just placemark? I'm off to Google wtf coding is blushgrin

Soontobe60 Sat 12-Dec-20 19:28:19

elQuintoConyo

Can I be terribly rude and just placemark? I'm off to Google wtf coding is blushgrin

Me too 🤣

OliviaSoprano Sat 12-Dec-20 19:35:55

floofycroissant

Do you think a career in coding lends itself to a certain type of person? And did you ever have any doubts?

I don't think it lends itself to a certain type of person, more that there is a set of attributes that are needed in order to be good at it. They are not necessarily what people think they are though. Problem solving ability/understand of logic - yes, but being some sort of mathsy genius - no.

Being really "persistent"(/stubborn) is incredibly important in the early days, it can be unbelievably frustrating at times, trying to make things work and going round in circles. I found very early on that it was here that I really excelled - I just didn't/don't get bored of trying and think "fuck it". I will keep going and then get such a rush when(/if) I finally crack the problem. I find it so compelling. I think this trait is the most important.

It's sort of self-selecting though, I don't think someone whose brain really just did not work "in the right way" would find it at all enjoyable. So that's what I always say, try it - do an interactive beginner's tutorial in a coding language - and if you find that you start to enjoy it then it almost certainly is for you and you are the right sort of person.

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OliviaSoprano Sat 12-Dec-20 19:42:26

elQuintoConyo and Soontobe60 I honestly wouldn't have known either three years ago. (If the screen shot has shown up) that shows code, HTML that is used to generate web pages. A very boring sort of code (well, to me at least) but a very important one! Code is just a term we use for the stuff the people write to make software work.

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elQuintoConyo Sat 12-Dec-20 19:43:43

Can I work from home and earn more than minimum wage?

I love my job, but I'm with kids and now kids on zoom*, and I work afternoons/evenings which means I don't see my son much.

*9-10-11 year olds, the teens are fine!

MujeresLibres Sat 12-Dec-20 19:44:01

Good to see more women developers. I have to confess... I did it for 20 years and am now completely burnt out. I'm currently unemployed, COVID redundancy, with no desire to go back into IT despite the enticing salary grin

There have been plenty of women developers in my last two employers, but they need to work on retention after maternity leave.

BestIsWest Sat 12-Dec-20 19:50:38

elQuintoConyo

Can I work from home and earn more than minimum wage?

I love my job, but I'm with kids and now kids on zoom*, and I work afternoons/evenings which means I don't see my son much.

*9-10-11 year olds, the teens are fine!

Yes and yes.

Well done OP. I work in a different role in IT but write a lot of SQL and JSON queries along with many other things. I adore problem solving.

OliviaSoprano Sat 12-Dec-20 19:50:49

Namenic Good for you too! I've known a few women who have got into it with help from their DP, would you have considered it if you hadn't had an insight into what it's actually like?

And thanks Hottesttrikeintown, I bet you're not a horrible coder if your main problem is messiness, I don't think anyone doesn't start off messy! That's just lack of practice. (Of course, there's no reason for you to practice if you're happy and fulfilled in your current role but just sayin')

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OliviaSoprano Sat 12-Dec-20 19:56:20

MujeresLibres

Good to see more women developers. I have to confess... I did it for 20 years and am now completely burnt out. I'm currently unemployed, COVID redundancy, with no desire to go back into IT despite the enticing salary grin

There have been plenty of women developers in my last two employers, but they need to work on retention after maternity leave.

Yes, two very real problems you raise here - burn out and retention! I can't imagine the burnout thing now but I realise that's because it's all still new and exciting and that the feeling won't last forever.

I'm on a team with 11 men though in my wider company (not in this country) there are other women engineers. I miss women on a daily basis though, not a lot, but I notice it - which is what make me want to do things like starting this thread.

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Respectabitch Sat 12-Dec-20 19:59:17

Btw, I'm learning to write SQL and Python right now as part of a data science apprenticeship and I fucking love it. I find working with data really addictive. Will also be programming in R at some point. I've always wanted to learn to code but found the number of languages and purposes kind of overwhelming, but getting stuck in has really helped to demystify the whole thing for me.

I am also getting involved with our Women in Tech group. I really think there are so many women who would enjoy coding. You don't have to be some kind of ubergeek male genius stereotype, you just need to be able to think through problems logically and like solving them.

So, hi basically! grin

OliviaSoprano Sat 12-Dec-20 20:01:05

elQuintoConyo

Can I work from home and earn more than minimum wage?

I love my job, but I'm with kids and now kids on zoom*, and I work afternoons/evenings which means I don't see my son much.

*9-10-11 year olds, the teens are fine!

Definitely you can, I was office based before Covid but now WFH with the option to go back to office (so completely optional) from October 2021.

The only thing with this job that I am keen to emphasise is that the perks shouldn't be the main motivator if you want it to actually be as good as it sounds. There are many perks but you'll probably only do well (and actually reap the benefits of them) if you enjoy the coding. That is the key.

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Respectabitch Sat 12-Dec-20 20:03:25

Respectabitch

Btw, I'm learning to write SQL and Python right now as part of a data science apprenticeship and I fucking love it. I find working with data really addictive. Will also be programming in R at some point. I've always wanted to learn to code but found the number of languages and purposes kind of overwhelming, but getting stuck in has really helped to demystify the whole thing for me.

I am also getting involved with our Women in Tech group. I really think there are so many women who would enjoy coding. You don't have to be some kind of ubergeek male genius stereotype, you just need to be able to think through problems logically and like solving them.

So, hi basically! grin

Also, I'm 37 and far from the oldest woman on my course.

OliviaSoprano Sat 12-Dec-20 20:07:13

Respectabitch Hello grin Very nice to meet you - and yes, exactly, to all of your points! I'm very happy for you that you're enjoying it so much. Discovering all of the possibility in this world is really exciting, though completely overwhelming yes, there is so much! The good thing is that there is so much that literally no-one can know anything close to all of it.

Women in Tech type groups can be really great, the tech community is amazing compared to a lot of other industries. I volunteer as a mentor through a local group as a mentor for someone just beginning to learn and it's fantastic. We are a supportive bunch!

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idontknow54789 Sat 12-Dec-20 20:07:55

Hi, really interested in this as I'm considering a career change. Where did you study and what costs were involved? Do you need a certain level of training for entry level jobs? Given it's a very male led career do you find many roles that give you flexibility or any chance to be self employed/freelance in that area?

OliviaSoprano Sat 12-Dec-20 20:09:35

Oh and on the 37 point - there was a woman in her forties in my bootcamp cohort and she got a job faster than almost anyone which was great to see.

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