Is it really possible to learn how to code in three months? And more importantly, are the skills you acquire enough to work as a web developer? Lucia De Mojà from Italy is living proof that it is in fact possible: she learned to code and found employment as web developer in Gothenburg within four months. But how did she do it?
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Lucia was originally aiming for a completely different career path. She studied Animal Science, Veterinary Medicine and Molecular Biology (a master’s degree) and aimed for a position within that field. But, even though she had a masters degree, spoke Italian, English and Swedish, and had been in Sweden for more than three years, she learned that landing a position within Life Science was going to be a challenge.
– The fact that I am a curious person and like to study and get to know different things has often been seen as a weakness in Life Science. You should be consistent and show a CV that “makes sense” to an employer. Going from Animal Science to Molecular Biology didn’t make much sense according to my personal experience in job hunting, so I was often put aside in favour of other candidates with “more consistent careers”.
Lucia worked for a while as a laboratory and research assistant in Sweden and stayed afloat by taking jobs in unrelated fields to her studies. But she realised that this couldn´t go on for much longer, and this was when she stumbled upon Craft Academy.
– I started the prep-course at Craft Academy in April 2016 and then joined the Bootcamp in June 2016, having no previous coding experience whatsoever except for reading a book about “how to learn Java in 24 hours”. As said, I’ve always been very curious.
Why did you choose Craft Academy over, for instance, studies at a university or an Yrkesutbildning?
– A normal course would have taken longer and I knew I wanted to get this knowledge in my brain faster than that. It’s 200% harder than a normal course but also worth the effort. Craft Academy gives you an important foundation that actually helps you get things done. Often when you get out of a university course or similar, you have a lot of concepts in your head but when trying to apply them, you are lost, and I’ve spent far too much time in university. Now I felt it was time to do something more real.
How long did it take for you to find a job as a web developer?
– I actually found a job one month after finishing the course! I’ve been offered several positions in England, Ireland and Sweden. I decided to accept one in London in the beginning of November, then got a new one in Sweden that I preferred and had to early resign from the first one to start here in the end of November 2016! If I had started looking for jobs during the Bootcamp I would most probably have found a position even earlier, but the course was very intense and job hunting is a job itself, so if you want to do it properly you have to take them one by one.
Craft Academy emerged as an answer to the high demand of skilled web developers – a demand that is estimated to remain high over the upcoming 5-10 years, according to the Swedish Employment Service. By offering intensive twelve-week training bootcamps, where the participants learn to code from scratch, reaching up the level of a junior programmer by the end of the course, they created a new road into the labour market for web developers.
You enrolled in the bootcamp with more or less no previous coding knowledge. Was it manageable?
– I had never coded before except for a few “Hello World!” lines taken from the book I mentioned, which wasn’t even coherent with the study choice I made cause I have not studied Java during the Bootcamp. But it helped me ease into the basic concepts like “What’s an object? What’s a variable? What’s a conditional statement?”. I am very happy I read that book before I started the Bootcamp but I would definitely have had no problems getting to know those concepts if I hadn’t read the book before. Just a bit more studying to be done in the very beginning.
The bootcamp is organized in two weekly challenges, one to be solved during the weekdays and the second to be solved during the weekend (yes, you work every day of those 12 weeks, no exceptions made). The daily focus is on actually writing and testing code – every day, constantly increasing complexity.
– No one forces theory in your brain, you are given all the material and resources to get the knowledge you need, but you are totally free to skip it and get to the coding immediately if you feel like it.
– There is never a moment where you get a big load of theoretic material without putting in practice what you’ve just read. This helps you figure out the “big words” you read that in the beginning make no sense whatsoever.
The course syllabus is constantly updated in order to keep pace with the fast-moving nature of the tech industry and to ensure that the participants learn the skills they will need once they enter the job market. The participant can choose to join on-site in Stockholm or Gothenburg or opt for remote studies. All the teaching is in English and participants learn to co-work as well as solve task on their own.
– When you work alone you have to think by yourself with what you are given and try to have a conversation with yourself that makes sense and helps you overcome your problem. Working in a group you learn how to pair-program and communicate with your teammates, discuss priorities and approaches to the problem. You learn how to listen and evaluate ideas, how to propose your own solutions and to use other programmers to easily understand which way to go in order to find a viable and fast solution.
What would you say are the most important qualities you need in order to take advantage of the training?
– Patience, perseverance, more patience, passion, believing in yourself (you won’t be picked for the course if the teachers don’t think you are going to make it) and positive and proactive attitude.
Was the course worth the money?
– The course was definitely worth the money. If I went back in time I would do it again.
Would you recommend others to take the course?
– I would recommend anyone with a strong interest (that has to become a passion) in programming and working in front of a computer in general to take this course. It changed my life and if anyone is looking to change their lives this is a good way to go.
Interested? Craft Academy starts new courses every eight weeks and continuously review and accept applicants. The application process can take up to two weeks, so make sure to submit your application in time, next course starts on the 3 April 2017. For more information visit craftacademy.se.
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