For my first post on Dev.to, I want to talk about my experience over the last 4 years and how I came to be the developer that I am today. I'm going to leave out the boring school years as I doesn't matter what you did back then, ANYONE can learn to code!
My software career started while I was working for Costa Coffee, making some pretty good latte art and a decent amount of money at 18! The good thing about this job was that it helped me pickup a lot of people skills, which now allows to have better conversations with clients and senior members of the company.
I always knew that working at Costa would be a stop gap job and that I didn't want to do it forever, so while working I searched for an IT job. A month after searching, I hit the jackpot! I found a level 3 apprenticeship for a software company in the town that I live. The money wasn't great, but who cares, I'd get my foot in the door and they were going to teach me everything! After multiple phone calls, interviews and meetings, I got the apprenticeship!! 🎈
The first year of working for the company involved me doing a level 3 apprenticeship in software development, and considering that I knew nothing about development before starting the course I think I did pretty well! The course involved me going to a workshop for 2 weeks, every 2 months or so. Within each workshop we would learn a different topic, either SQL databases, building web applications, mobile applications etc. While I wasn't on the course though I was at work and for the first couple of months I did nothing but studying. I learnt everything I could about any programming concept I could find! Once the year was up I managed to pass the level 3 programme and was working on billable client work at my job.
In second year things were upped a notch. As I'd completed the level 3 course, the company offered me to go onto the next level and do a degree apprenticeship. This would involve completing level 4, 5 & 6, with each level taking between 12-15 months to complete and getting progressively harder each time!
Level 4 was where I really started to get my head stuck into code and starting learning a lot more! I got a lot more stuck into the backend C# code for various projects, and with the help of colleagues I managed to pick things up quite quickly. By doing this, it meant that when I went to my courses I would breeze through them as I already knew the basics of the language! This allowed me to easily pass level 4 and get enough credits to move onto level 5.
Level 5 modules started to push me a lot harder, learning to write academic assignments and do more thorough research. Not only did the degree push me harder but I had to pick up 2 new skills within work as I got moved onto another project. I started to learn Java and Ember.js.
Year 4 has tested me the most, pushed me the hardest and made me a much better developer! This year I started the final level of my degree and also took on the Ember.js project on my own at work. Both of these were massive things for me as it meant that I was that much closer to getting a degree and I had my own code base to work on. The level 6 work so far has been difficult because it has all been based on strategies and business models, which I'm not very good at, but with the help of the people in my group I am slowly getting better! The Ember project is continuing to evolve and as it grows, I'm learning more as well!
If you want to keep up-to-date with what I'm getting up to then make sure to follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/callam_woolgar.