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From Pastry Chef to Web Developer

oksygenn profile image Oxy ・2 min read

Hi! I’m Oksana.

This is my first post and I wanted to share my journey to becoming a software developer.

Since I was 17, I had been working as a chef / pastry chef. I never felt that it was the right job for me and I always knew it was not what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life. But I didn’t know what I wanted to do instead.

Since moving to London in 2016, I've been lucky to be surrounded by people involved with tech or software. I noticed they are proud of what they do and they feel that they make a difference. They have always been helpful and inspirational for me to join them in this field.
For some reason, software development seemed like one of the most exciting parts of tech to me.
But programming was something very new and unfamiliar to me and I wasn’t sure if I had the “talent for it”.
In spite of all doubts and fears I decided to give it a try.

Self-learning

So, in the beginning of 2020, I started learning web development on freeCodeCamp and Codecademy in my spare time.
I won’t say it was a smooth ride, as it was an “on and off” experience. Sometimes I was frustrated with my progress and that lowered my self-esteem because most of the time I felt challenged and it seemed like my brain became my enemy.

It was quite hard for me to understand concepts of programming and basic JavaScript stuff. Surprisingly, one of the most challenging parts was to learn how to study on my own. I didn’t have a proper study plan, I was jumping from one thing to another and couldn’t manage my time properly.

Learning with CodeYourFuture

One day, I saw an advertisement for this free coding school for disadvantaged groups in the UK, called CodeYourFuture on Facebook. I decided to apply -even though I had about a week to complete all their requirements.
Most of their requirements are based on freeCodeCamp, which I was luckily already studying. They also conducted interviews to make sure people would be committed to the course.

I am currently in the 6th month of the course and it’s been really amazing. A major difference compared to learning by myself is the excellent teachers and volunteers supporting us during every step. All trainees are helping each other to move forward, it feels like a team effort. I have made friends during the course and we are rooting for each other to succeed.

So here I will be writing about some things I have learnt with CodeYourFuture on the path to becoming a web developer.

Discussion (11)

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houdinii profile image
Brian B.

I worked for years as sous in an insanely chaotic kitchen. It primed a lot of the skills I needed later in life as a developer. Just the logical problem-solving alone helped so much, but there's so much more. Flipping between metric and imperial systems up'd my formula game. Getting 'in the zone' is the same too.

In that kitchen, I never had time to think. It was autopilot 24/7. I just had to trust that I had the skills, and allow the subconscious free reign. A lot of people, have to be in a certain frame of mind to get in the zone, but I can take a deep breath and just jump right in.

Then there is documentation. I've seen thousands upon thousands of recipes and I can take away the parts I need in a single glance. It's the same thing with API references.

And being able to disconnect my hands from my conscious. In a kitchen, even in the chaos, we'd still be talking about kids, school, computer games. Rarely did we ever communicate work stuff outside of the planning session (which would def. explain the chaos). Being able to prepare prime rib for a thousand people while simultaneously and singlehandedly keeping the gossip mill running allows me to code while simultaneously teaching my partner how to code without getting annoyed at easy to answer questions.

Man, this is longer than I thought. Things keep popping into my head. Like how customers never fill out the planning paperwork correctly so it's impossible to know if you're doing things right. It's way worse in the programming world, but I'm 100% used to it. I can look at the specs sheet and immediately see areas that are ambiguous. (Side tip: Study logical fallacies, like those found here: effectiviology.com/guide-to-logica... It will help with management, co-workers, and most importantly, coding logic as the same fallacies are present. Odd concepts like "this" becomes easier to understand when thought about in these terms. It teaches you why things work instead of how.)

It sounds like you're well on your way and I'd wish you luck if I thought you needed it, but it sounds like you know what you want and you're going for it. Instead, I hope your perseverance holds, your frustrations wane, and your curiosity explodes!

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pscully profile image
Patrick Scully

100% agree. Attention to detail, care for your craft, taking something from raw ingredient to finished product and end user (dish and diner; code and customer). Loads of parallels. Loved my years in the kitchen. Loving my current role in web. Further down the road I plan to bring them together.

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oksygenn profile image
Oxy Author • Edited

Hi Brian!
Thank you so much for your kind comment. To be honest I didn't even expect that people will read my post and I wrote it only because it is a mandatory part of my homework :D

I've never thought of it this way and didn't know how I can use my "kitchen" skills in a tech world! Tomorrow I will have my first mock interview and because of you I now know how to answer some of the questions!
Thank you!

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bcowley1220 profile image
Brendan Cowley

Ex-exec chef, current full stack dev here. Welcome to the dark side!

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pscully profile image
Patrick Scully

I had no idea there were so many of us chef turned developers, cool!

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andes2912 profile image
Andri Desmana

Welcome to new stack world !

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thatanjan profile image
Anjan Shomodder

welcome to blogging world.

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mccurcio profile image
Matt Curcio

Great, Keep going! ;)

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sentinel1909 profile image
Jeff Mitchell

Welcome Oksana, neat story, thanks for sharing with us. Looking forward to reading about your progress.

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barelyhuman profile image
Reaper

While I appreciate learning the new skill, I'd really like to taste some pastries!

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shawnjane1 profile image
shawn jane

nice one Oxy

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