Part 1 of our 3 part interview with Aled Jones and Jevriya Guliyeva, CCM’s front-end developer team who joined in March 2021. Here they share their own stories of teaching themselves to code and their top tips for those looking to get into the industry.
Why did you decide to get into coding?
Jevriya: I moved to the UK two years ago as I wanted a change in career. In my country I worked as a technical safety engineer in an oil company, and I was also trained in environmental protection. At my old company we had a solar plant, but to be very honest, I was disappointed in that project because I could see that the only thing that the company cared about was making a lot of money from it. Because of that realisation, I changed my point of view, changed my profession. I then spent almost one year learning new programming skills.
Aled: I got into coding just before the first lockdown. All I’d really wanted for the last few years was to travel, and when I was speaking to a friend in the coding industry, he said that it’s a job you can do whilst travelling. I was meant to go travelling last year, but then obviously COVID hit – so I just made the most of the lockdown and taught myself to code. I’d never written a single line of code before lockdown. Then suddenly I was coding ten, twelve, hours a day. And to be honest when I first started learning, I didn’t enjoy it at all! But now, I’ve really fallen in love with it. So, I initially came for the flexibility of the work and the potential good pay, but I’m staying for the coding because I genuinely enjoy it!
I’d never written a single line of code before lockdown. Then suddenly I was coding ten, twelve, hours a day.
How did you teach yourselves to code?
Jevriya: To start with, I used courses on Udemy and free tutorials on YouTube. I also joined an online academy which allowed me to start and finish a project from scratch putting together both the front-end and backend.
Ten years ago, it would have seemed unimaginable that I could be as involved with coding as I am today. It was quite challenging at first as I was used to working in a traditional, old-fashioned industry, whereas coding is very dynamic – I find I am learning all the time. But once I started, it grew on me, and I could not stop!
Aled: I started on freeCodeCamp – which I think is a really good start if anyone is learning to code. Then I moved on to Udemy and YouTube videos, and just survived on them for about 6 months.
Ten years ago, it would have seemed unimaginable that I could be as involved with coding as I am today.
What did you find most challenging about learning to code?
Jevriya: Something I found challenging was trying to think abstractly because I have never done that before. In my old job I just followed the rules, but coding demands that you think for yourself, make decisions, and take responsibility for the code you are writing – which is quite difficult!
Aled: The aspect I found most challenging wasn’t so much the coding but staying committed to learning – it’s maintaining that learning routine which keeps the code fresh and helps you remember.
What advice would you give to coders starting out?
Jevriya: When stuck, I always tell myself not to focus on the problem, focus on the solution. I found through googling and watching tutorials with similar issues arising I could find people who shared problems with me. Working by myself with trial and error has been effective too but thinking outside the box has also been key as well as exploring other resources and persevering.
The most important advice I’d give to learners is to take your time and not to rush the foundations.
Interviewed by Shan Tan-Ya and Khaled Oozeer, 24th June 2021