In this blog post, our Apprentice Katie Hughes shares her experience of finding coding through music, winning a DigitalHer scholarship, and becoming a Software Developer; all during lockdown!

Why did you decide to learn to code?

 I come from a musical background as I do some DJing as a side gig, and as I was starting to look into music production one of my friends introduced me to a piece of software called Sonic Pi. It’s a live coding software that you can use to produce music by coding in Ruby, and this was the first time I had ever written code.

I really started to enjoy it after using it for a while – and this also coincided with me looking to change my day job. I decided to start a few YouTube tutorials on basic JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. It then all escalated from there!

How did you hear about Code Nation’s courses?

I lost my job in HR right at the beginning of the pandemic, so I had a lot of time on my hands doing all of the YouTube coding tutorials whilst in isolation. I had done some research on coding schools in Manchester just out of interest, despite knowing that I wouldn’t be able to afford the courses due to being on Universal Credit.

I was aware that sometimes scholarships are offered, so I just thought I’d take a chance and give Code Nation a call. Luckily, it just so happened that their 3-week Develop: Coding course is funded by the government, so I obviously jumped at the chance and signed up for it.

Can you tell us about your coding journey so far?

During the Develop course, I discovered there was a scholarship being offered for women through DigitalHer (part of Manchester Digital) for the 12 week Master: Coding course at Code Nation. I applied and particularly focused on the fact that I had made a “feminist chatbot” in my own time, which was aimed at educating people about gender inequality, particularly in the music industry because that’s what I’m passionate about. 

I won the scholarship, completed the bootcamp and loved it. I was admittedly a bit worried about getting a job after the course due to it being the lockdown period, but Thea (one of Code Nation’s Engagement Directors) contacted me about an Apprenticeship at Key Group a couple of days before my Code Nation graduation. I only had a few days to prepare as well as having to finish my final group project, but I took on the challenge anyway.

I managed to ace the interview and here I am now as an Apprentice Software Developer for Key Group!

What are you most looking forward to in your career as a developer?

The thing that I am most looking forward to in my career as a Software Developer is definitely having the opportunity to work in a real professional team and improve my workflow using Git, GitHub and Agile.

Even though I have had practice with these during my time studying at Code Nation, I sometimes struggle with putting them into a real-life context, so finally I’ll have the opportunity to do that.

I’m also really looking forward to learning C# – it’s in my tech stack at Key and I’ve never coded using C# before, so it will be really exciting to learn a new language!


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