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Laura Jane
Laura Jane

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Changing careers at 29: Childcare to Web development

Growing up

During my childhood, I grew up playing with dolls, looking after & pushing them around in a pram, dreaming of the day I would be old enough to become a nurse or be looking after young children, helping them to grow and enjoy their early years, whilst developing their young minds. When I left school at 18, with good GCSEs and A-levels, by the time I'd left, I was already working, with a regular supermarket job in the day, and a bar job in the evening, whilst I studied to become qualified in working with children.

At age 20, I had to put my studies on hold, as I became a mum myself, to a wonderful daughter called Poppy. (She is 10 now - how time flies!) and by the time I had settled into motherhood, battling the school run every morning, I had my second child, a son called Isaac (or Whirlwind as we like to call him!)

After going through motherhood from the very beginning again with Isaac, I resumed my Childhood studies, thankfully, I had completed my level 2 certificate before I'd had my daughter, so I could go on to level 3 with confidence, Trust me when I say juggling an education with young children is definitely not easy! - Not by a long shot! But after 18 months I had finally completed my studies.

Craving the challenge

Fast forward 5 years later, I had just turned 28 and was in the prime of my career, a Room leader for 3-5 year olds, I had two wonderful children, so why did I feel complacent in the career I had dreamed of since I was a little girl? Like I was missing something?

Thatโ€™s because I was, I was lacking the challenge, the get up in the morning, and the chance to add my own ideas, and artistic flare to something I had created, and that I was able to proudly showcase to lots of people, who were also, in turn, able to contribute their own ideas or take on projects, allowing me to see things from a different perspective.

The difference being, that in Childcare you need the knowledge to be able to follow the educational framework & teach children, as rewarding as this was. I found myself craving challenges on a daily basis.

Where did I start first?

I first began looking up Technology and Web based Development in small doses initially, maybe 1 or 2 hours in the evening. I used to begin researching from the second I managed to sit down at the end of the day, and I found myself becoming more and more drawn to it.

I began signing up to web development learning sites, taking part in challenges and tutorials set by tutors and experts.

I knew this was the sector where i could discover the challenges and problem solving I craved (and needed!) to engage my brain. I found, and still do myself, thinking daily about the 3 Wโ€™s: What I will I be learning next? Where could I use my newly learned skills? and When was the right time to put them into practice?

This Autumn, I am beginning a Computer Science degree, to coinside with what i have being learning on my own.

Social links & networking

My mind and decision making are being challenged almost daily, I have made new friends on LinkedIn and Twitter, who are always on hand to help out with any questions that I may have, when I have days where i feel like giving up, You may be familiar with those kind of days, you know, the ones when that code you thought was right, returns a โ€œSyntax Errorโ€, or your console doesn't display the message you thought it would, and you spend all day looking at it, only to discover 50 lines up you forgot to close a DIV tag. Yes, those kinds of days.

I have soon discovered that everyone, however experienced they are, were all on the same journey, and We are all here to help and support each other along the way.

If anyone says learning code, and using various platforms to execute it is easy, they are lying to you.. But is Learning Web development, and becoming an engineer achievable? Absolutely!

Top comments (34)

jsn1nj4 profile image
Elliot Derhay • Edited

You are a trooper! I don't know if I'd survive all of that schooling on top of parenting and working like that.

100% agree about dev being enjoyable though. This kind of problem solving can be so much fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, I'll admit I was a little confused at first about how the headline and content matched up until I realized > was a right arrow, not "greater than" (read, more important than). Lol ๐Ÿ˜…

misslorsx profile image
Laura Jane

Thank you so much! Iโ€™ve changed it now ๐Ÿ˜‰

darkwiiplayer profile image
๐’ŽWii ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€โšง๏ธ

You could have just changed it to -> or โ†’ :D

skaytech profile image

Wow! That's one awesome article to debut your innings with. Being a parent myself, I have extra amount of admiration for folks who pursue any career particularly software engineering. I've been in the field for 16+ years and honestly things changed a lot for me after we had our son. And it was a reality check for me, to realise that my time isn't really mine after I became a parent. So, every second I got time for myself, I began to value and plan to do something productive. Even, if it's for an hour everyday. And to realise you are doing exactly the same, I am sure you'll be some force to recon with once you are ready. I wish you all the success in your journey. Just keep going and stay consistent.

misslorsx profile image
Laura Jane

Thank you so much! This is a wonderful comment! Have a great day! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

syntaxseed profile image
SyntaxSeed (Sherri W)

Welcome to the world of development!

I put my own career as a web developer mostly on pause for the last 8 years as I took care of my 3 boys & I'm now jumping back into things.

I love the challenge & flexibility & ever-changing nature of this industry. And the wealth of things to learn online is amazing!

misslorsx profile image
Laura Jane

This is so inspiring, thank you for replying to me! Have a great day!

wrldwzrd89 profile image
Eric Ahnell

Reading this is an inspiration for me to continue my own web development journey, to which I got an extremely late start, 31 years after becoming a coder (taught myself desktop app making in BASIC at 6 years old!)... thanks a million!

misslorsx profile image
Laura Jane

You can do it Eric! Well done! Thank you for your comment! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

naresh profile image
Naresh Poonia

I can totally relate to having a job that is not challenging enough.
I've been learning to code for over a month now and I love every bit of it.
Thank you for sharing your journey here, I have also shared my first-month coding journey here.
You are absolutely right that we are on the same journey irrespective of our experience.
Good luck with your Computer Science degree.

misslorsx profile image
Laura Jane

Thank you so much! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

echoingnarc profile image

Yay! I love these kinds of posts. It helps me stay on track as a mom too. I really need to make more internet coding friends help me through those tough days. Thank you for the read and for inspiring me to continue learning.

paulc_creates profile image
Paul Caoile

I totally agree with you, taking care of the kids while studying is not at all an easy task. Working full-time and studying with kids is tough as well. The constant juggling of duties can get very tiring really fast.
My hat goes out to you who made it worked. I wish you all the best in this endeavor.

thorners55 profile image
Stephanie ๐ŸŒž

Empowering to read about a woman going from a traditionally female career to traditionally male. Yes. YAAAS!

(though software engineering/development was literally created by women and men pushed them out - I feel like I have to say that little disclaimer whenever I say that it's a "traditionally male" field, because it's actually not!)

misslorsx profile image
Laura Jane

That is such a lovely comment! Thank you so so much for replying to my story. ๐ŸŒธ

waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

What a fascinating journey. My wife has a degree in child development and taught a few different age groups while we were in college.

My journey may not have as dramatic of a change from Mechanical Engineering to Data Science, but I changed careers in 2017 at 28. Due to a number of medical issues from my daughter we were in the hospital so much it really restricted my ability to travel, which was a big part of the job. I worked late many nights. Sometimes from home others from waiting rooms to learn python and Data Science skills to change my career into something that fit my families life a bit better.

rachelmlawson profile image
Rachel Lawson

You are inspiring! I'm 30 and am working on my BSCS, looking to make a career change. Trying my best to find time between school and my day job to learn more about coding, as my coursework is heavy on the theory so far. I so respect your hustle! Good luck with your degree and your dev journey, and thanks for posting! :)

amyrbrown profile image
Amy Brown

Great story! I'm moved by your self-awareness, your courage and perseverance. Your kids (the ones you worked with and the ones you are raising) are lucky to have you in their lives, and the software industry will be lucky to have your perspective. Congratulations and good luck! โค๏ธ

arthkate profile image
Arthur Kateeba

How inspiring and to say the least, you've got to have superpowers to be able to juggle parenting and working your normal job and doing web development at the same time.

Your story has encouraged me that it's possible and am more than grateful that you did share.

Let me just saddle up and brace for this amazing journey ahead.

st3v3j profile image

Thatโ€™s amazing! I am changing careers myself after falling in love with coding and getting the courage to embark on a journey I never want to end, while raising a mini engineer and working full time. Just reading about others doing the same and thinking the same way is inspiring. Good luck on your schooling, itโ€™s never too late too change your life!

jgcastro profile image
Juan Castro

Nice article. 100% agree a change of carrier late in life and with kids it is not easy

katnel20 profile image
Katie Nelson

Sounds like a great experience Laura. Looking forward to seeing great things from you.