Graduate Stories

Participation Coordinator to Innovation Developer

Paula Code Nation bootcamp tutorPreview: Paula Code Nation bootcamp tutor

How did you find your time on the bootcamp?

My time at Northcoders was the most rewarding experience few months I've had. I felt like my brain expanded in so many ways and I felt supported right from the start of the application process through to finding a job after graduating. I met, worked with and was taught by some incredibly talented people who were clearly really decent people, too. My only regret is not deciding to retrain as a software developer sooner! Thank you to the whole team.

What were you doing before the bootcamp and what made you apply?

I was running the learning and participation programme at The Bridgewater Hall. It was incredibly rewarding in many ways and followed on naturally from my music degree and arts marketing career. However, I've never felt that the roles I've had in the arts have been right for me - I knew that I wanted to be doing something much more technical and once I started learning to code, attending coding meet ups like Code And Stuff I knew that I'd found the right path. I find learning the technologies and languages incredibly rewarding and I now feel as though I'm being paid for enjoying a hobby.

I had regular one to one sessions with my mentor, Natalia, who I felt really listened to me and saw me as a whole person and not just one of many students.


What was the support like on the course?

I had regular one to one sessions with my mentor, Natalia, who I felt really listened to me and saw me as a whole person and not just one of many students. The NCHelp system for asking questions was incredible - I learnt so much from the different tutors who would pop up to respond. I only really started using the facility towards the latter part of the course, once I'd finally accepted that it's a good thing to ask for help! The lectures were clear, interesting and challenging.

How much support did you receive from Northcoders with your job search after the course?

I had feedback on my CV, discussions with a few members of the team about whether to be supported by the Leeds or Manchester team, a comforting ear (well, message!) when things didn't go quite to plan and encouragement to keep on going.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about applying?

Just keep going. Break down what you're trying to learn into manageable chunks and don't be put off by the amount of stuff you don't know - as a software developer you're always going to be learning. Remember that it's ok to ask for help and that you don't need to learn everything by heart - learning to search for the answer online, or learning to read documentation is key. Also, try to join a regular coding community if you can, either in person or online - the support I received from attending Code and Stuff and Codebar played such an important part in giving me the confidence to change careers.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you to every single member of the team at Northcoders!