Jenny Collings joined our Master Course at the start of 2020. In this blog, Jenny shares her experience of learning to code for the first time, combatting Imposter Syndrome, navigating the lockdown job market and landing her Apprenticeship with The Urban Technology Group.

“I still cannot believe that I am writing a blog about my first day as an Apprentice junior software developer. The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind for me – as has the last year…

I enrolled on Code Nation’s 12-week bootcamp in January hoping to change my career. I had no coding skills or knowledge, but my instructors assured me that at the end of my 12 weeks I would be part of a team building a fullstack app.

And they were right, that’s exactly what happened. They gave me the skills to build my own website using React and build a weather app, a to-do list app and many other projects (not all perfect I must add) that I was so proud of. I was loving it and my confidence was building!

I couldn’t wait for the next step when we would meet employers during Pledger talks and Recruitment Days, hopefully having the opportunity to become apprentices.

Two weeks before the end of the course Covid-19 hit us all and felt for me, like it did for lots of people, like the world had been turned upside down and someone had pressed the pause button. It looked like everything I’d worked and hoped for was about to slip away.

To cope I used the most important skill that Code Nation had helped me find within myself; resilience. I used my new found self-belief to remove the monster that is Imposter Syndrome from my head. I knew that if I kept learning and believing, that I would get through and good things would be around the corner. It was hard and I think at some points I am embarrassed to say that I believed, full of self-pity and very self indulgently, that Covid 19 had only come to prevent me from being a software developer as I would have been such a terrible one.

Then Lou from Urban Technology offered to take me on as an apprentice after a (virtual) Recruitment Day. I couldn’t believe my luck. Not only did I have a role I had the role I wanted, I am so impressed with what Lou and The Urban Technology Group do. Lou spoke with passion about how they put the client at the centre of the project and are led by their needs. Having been on the other side of the fence I understand that somebody coming to disrupt your business with shiny technology can be very daunting. Which brings me to my first day as an Apprentice Software Developer!

I was nervous, like everyone is on their first day. I thought that expectations of me would be too high. I thought that every bit of knowledge I had would disappear and even thought that I might not be able to speak. The feeling I felt most of all though was one of complete and utter joy. I was through and had made it to the next level. It was exhilarating.

By securing an Apprenticeship it meant that I’d be returning to Code Nation’s 12-week bootcamp, but this time with a tailored curriculum bespoke to my new employer’s tech stacks and ways of working. I couldn’t wait to be back. My nerves were calmed when I met my new instructor who was warm and friendly. It was great to hear the banter between him and the Innovation Developers on the team.

I found I was in a mixed group of ten students; four apprentices and six new to Code Nation. Some of the new students were in the same position I was six months ago and when they shared any concerns of not making it through the course I was able to empathise and encourage them by sharing my story. Listening to other apprentices had really helped me in the early days.

We spent the day going over JavaScript fundamentals and I felt the weird little buzz that I get when I’m coding which I love. The one thing that was at the forefront of my mind that day and will be everyday is a strong sense of responsibility. I know that I am not where I am today just because I worked hard and was determined. I am here because people put their faith in me and I am very grateful for that.

The team at Code Nation have supported me so well I could not have got here without them. Most of all I am thankful to Lou and her team who have taken me on and given me this exciting opportunity and chance to shine. So everyday I will be working not only for myself but for them.”

If Jenny’s story has inspired you to start your journey towards a career in coding, take a look at the courses we offer and find out more about our Apprenticeships!

To speak to the member of the team you can call us on 0333 050 4570 or email hello@wearecodenation.com

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