I live here: Budapest, Hungary
I work here: EDMdesigner.com Kft.
Time spent studying with CodeBerry: 4 months
I work with: ASUS laptop with Ubuntu at work / Lenovo ThinkPad Edge running Windows 10 at home / Sublime Text / I have an 11-year-old Nokia (no, not the 3310, I’m not that cool)
When you’re asked about your profession, how do you answer?
What had been your job before you started coding?
After graduating as a social worker from the Eötvös Loránd University, I returned to Slovakia and started working in my field. I worked at a job centre and for the local government, mostly with the unemployed and socially disadvantaged clients, the homeless and a segregated Romani district. Later I worked in data processing / customer service positions in the automobile industry.
Why did you decide to start learning web development?
My previous jobs didn’t make me happy. As a social worker you hardly ever see the fruits of your efforts: Our resources and time are usually only enough for band-aid solutions, and there is only a minimal chance to achieve real change. It’s like a Kafka novel: You go marching against the system, trying to help, but without adequate resources, or in a burnt out, demotivating environment, that is more often than not, just keeps humiliating the client, you quickly lose hope, and then it’s up to you to decide whether you flee or get chewed up by the system. I decided to flee, but working in the IT sector never occurred to me as a viable option. Then last year I heard a lot about the ever growing demand for developers, and all the online courses, so I decided to try one. I liked it, and most importantly: I could see the results of my work. I improved slowly but steadily, and a couple of months later I thought to myself: It’s about time I take this more seriously, as it might actually lead to a job. And it did.
How did you learn programming? What kind of courses, books etc. did you use?
I started at Codecademy and FreeCodeCamp, reading documentations, following video streams on the side, then I started studying with CodeBerry. I also attended the Bratislava workshop of Rails Girls this summer.
What did CodeBerry offer you? What was it like to study at our school?
Having a mentor was the greatest help for me, it proved to be the most efficient way of studying. Before CodeBerry, I used to study on my own, but that way — especially as a beginner — you can’t be sure you understand the connections and the logic properly; it’s hard to figure out what’s missing and what should be your next step. At CodeBerry, mentorship was really effective and informal. You can ask for help anytime you reach an obstacle, and get an answer fairly quickly; even when you have 10 questions at once. This was a really positive experience compared to my earlier studies in the traditional educational system.
I also made great use of your help with the preparation for the interviews. I received tips on what questions I should expect and how to respond to them. This extra knowledge helped me a lot, especially as I was switching from another profession, starting from zero in this field.
Do you have any experience, tips or tricks to share with those who are just starting their studies?
It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand something at first (or second, third, umpteenth) glance, just keep trying. Keep at it until you succeed. Keep looking at it until you start to see it (the advice of my high school teacher — and it is so true). There will always be obstacles, but that is no reason to give up.
Ask for help, dare to ask questions, and if you find yourself home alone, stuck without answers and motivation, then simply attend an IRL (“in real life”, i.e. personal) programming event or workshop to meet and talk to other people who are in the same boat. The Rail Girls gave me a great push at the perfect moment, leaving me with a really good feeling. I returned from the workshop thinking that if my mentor (my hero, Pilar Huidobro), who also started programming at a similar event, could work as a software developer and teacher after 5 years of coding, then I can do it too, I can learn it too.
My current workplace
Tell me a little about where you work now, what your duties are. What do you do on a typical day or week?
Following the SCRUM-method, we have stand-ups every morning, where we talk about the daily tasks, obstacles and future tasks.
Despite the difficulty, it proved to be an advantage that I had to write code from day one. This way I get to learn the company’s workflow on the go, and I can find out how my code meshes with the already existing one, done by my coworkers. During the past 6 weeks, I’ve only done things I had never done before, so I actually learn new things every day.
Who do you work with, and how do they help your work?
It is not a big company, we barely count 20 people in the office. Most colleagues are working part-time, and we also have students among us. During the stand-ups, which I mentioned before, we also talk about how I’m supposed to proceed and I can ask anybody if I’m stuck, everyone is really helpful.
What softwares, devices and technologies do you work with currently?
How long were you looking for a job? Was it hard to find a place to work?
My case can’t be called typical, as it took quite a bit of luck that things turned out as they did. My strategy was to apply for at least 8–10 jobs, struggle a bit at first trying to get through the interviews, but get the hang of it by the end. I was hoping that the 10th interview or so would be successful, and they would finally offer me a job. Instead, EDMdesigner was the first place I contacted, and they were the ones who hired me. Don’t forget though, that it’s one thing to get the job, and another to be able to keep it. I was in a total panic after the interviews, feeling I wasn’t prepared for this and that it wasn’t what I had planned. The first weeks were the most difficult, I was afraid that I won’t fit in, that I’m incapable of doing my tasks. Since then, 6 weeks have passed, and I’m still standing.
How was the interview process?
Do you have any advice for those who are currently preparing for a job interview?
Don’t be too nervous about it. Get enough sleep the night before. Definitely more than 2.5 hours. This is very important!
And don’t panic if you actually get the job. It will all work out.
What is the next step for you? What direction are you taking?
In our “CodeBerry Student Stories” series we chat with our students who succeeded at finding a job as a developer.
Would you like to learn how to code? Come and try our first 15 lessons for free at the CodeBerry Programming School.