Hi, 👋 Thanks for checking out my blog. What follows is a story of my career transition from touring musician and music tutor to software developer: Coda 2 coder...
I'm Kev, formerly a career musician 🎼 and music tutor. I live in the hills near Manchester. I have two beautiful daughters Isla and Alys and I spend most of my time either coding 💻 or playing one of my many instruments 🎹 🥁 🎸 (not sure how many we have in the house, but it's probably about 50!) When I'm not doing either of those things, I spend the rest of my time cooking for my hungry daughters, 🍲 tending my organic garden, and talking to plants 🌱 I used to run a record label and toured Europe 🇪🇺 on many occasions with a few lovely 😍 people. I produced several EPs and albums including my own 💿
At the start of my career, I worked as an administrator and general dogsbody for a software development company, during which time I gained a wide variety of tech-related experience including:
- Building three PCs including a server
- Some basic de-bugging
- Some basic web-design
Throughout the rest of my career leading up to today, I have often been the go-to-guy whenever there were any tech issues, thanks largely to my previous experience and my family history (my Dad is a pretty heavy AS-400 developer and both my brother and sister have worked in senior positions for huge tech companies, it's a family thing.) Thanks to this I ended up gaining some more interesting experience including:
- Printer technical support (yes it is a thing)
- Building many websites (using Squarespace, Wix, etc)
- Setting up several PCs to run ubuntu partitioned
- Kitting out and engineering a music studio
Although I didn't have any real experience of coding until the beginning of this year, it is fair to say that I was probably destined to end up as a developer. I do however continue to be surprised at how much I still love "messing about with a computer".
I guess a lot of us start at FreeCodeCamp so I probably don't need to say much about it. It is obviously an amazing resource and I would fully endorse using it and supporting it if you can. If you've not seen it yet, then you can learn, test, and get qualifications for free or donations.
Also, most of you reading this are no doubt aware of Codewars, the place where you let your problem-solving muscles flex. Just remember that readable code is probably more important than the shortest, cleverest solution.
Google, Google, Google (no link necessary). As a music tutor, I advised its use regularly. But never did I imagine how often I could use it myself! And I hadn't even heard of Stack Overflow before 2021. Although try not to copy and paste code you don't understand if you can avoid it, seems to be the order of the day. If in doubt MDN Docs or if you like a bit more explanation W3 Schools and at least try to understand what CTRL V just did for you.
After sweet Aunty Google, comes my next favorite resource, YouTube (again, no link necessary). You will come across so many concepts which at first make your core temperature rise thanks to synaptic fireworks, but there is so much help out there. MPJ's assistance on the understanding of Higher Order Functions (Fun, Fun Function) was very much appreciated as was Daniel Shiffman's explanation of git and many other things (The Coding Train) and finally lots of VSCode tips from James Q Quick, which did speed me up tons.
If you have never come across regular expressions, then I would strongly suggest checking out RegExr, even if you won't ever have to use them, it is at least one night of entertainment and wonder. If you ever wondered how an email address gets validated, then look no further!
My final discovery has been the developer community. I knew cooperation was strong in this industry, but it seems in its best cases to be built on a foundation of knowledge sharing, which for an ex-teacher and anyone else I guess is heartwarming 💟
I started a boot camp at NorthCoders on May 4th this year. Intro week was amazing. The main thing I have learned so far is how much I enjoy paired programming. I always loved collaborating as a musician, now I am just collaborating with a slightly different language.