How a software development bootcamp helped me switch to a career in tech

'I discovered that coding was something that really suited me'

clock • 4 min read
Pembe Mistikoglu
Image:

Pembe Mistikoglu

After graduating with a degree in International Relations and Politics from the University of Kent, I moved back to Cyprus.

I started my professional career working for a YouTube channel, where I was responsible for cultivating relationships with creators and artists and securing permissions for different types of audio-visual content. While there were elements of the job I enjoyed, after five years I was starting to feel restless and wanted something that would allow me to be more creative, in an environment where I would feel challenged.

Coding had never crossed my mind as a potential career path until I spoke to a friend who had enrolled at a bootcamp called CyprusCodes. Everything I heard about the bootcamp captured my imagination and I decided to take a leap of faith and dive in head first.

I didn't necessarily have any expectations of the bootcamp initially, I just wanted to see where it would lead me. However, I quickly realised that the creativity involved in coding was something that really suited me. The bootcamp provided me with a space to learn and try new things in a supportive environment. It was this intersection between coding and creativity - which I never knew existed - that kept me engaged. The problem-solving aspect and the ability to provide solutions to real-world problems also appealed to me.  

The first few weeks of the bootcamp were not without their challenges. I'll be the first to admit that I felt a bit lost at the start, grappling with numerous acronyms and industry-specific terminology. But with the support of my tutors and peers, I found myself overcoming a lot of these obstacles much more quickly than I thought I could.

I found that certain aspects of coding were a lot easier to understand than others. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) proved to be a really tough nut to crack, but JavaScript, on the other hand, came a lot more naturally. Something I really loved was using a library called Xest. This is an open-source API development library built in-house at CyprusCodes and used by a wide range of clients in their production systems. The thrill of building something from scratch and seeing it work was hugely satisfying. It felt like solving a complex puzzle and the more I delved into it, the more I wanted to learn.

As I neared the end of the 6-month course, I made the exciting transition from being a student to an instructor - something I would have said was impossible just a few months before. The collaborative spirit meant that, as students, we were always learning from one another, and this is what initially led my tutors to believe I had the potential to teach. I started off by assisting my tutors in delivering bootcamp lessons before being asked to teach a course to the next cohort. Having lived and breathed the course as a student helped to make the transition feel more natural - even if I did experience imposter syndrome at the beginning!

I truly believe that teaching is the best form of learning, and in the following weeks I deepened my understanding across multiple areas. It wasn't just knowing how to code, but also being able to explain it to others, and to break down complex concepts into simpler ideas. It was incredibly rewarding to see people who had been in my position a few months earlier grasp the material and gain confidence in their own coding abilities.

At the end of the course, I received an offer to work as a software developer for FutureCast, a SaaS development agency that provides organisations across all sectors with SaaS solutions and digital products. One of my very first projects was for a kickstarter mobile app project. I had to ensure that the user interface was not only visually appealing but also intuitive and user-friendly. I also had to build a back-end that could handle large volumes of data. It was a test of my skills, but so rewarding to apply what I had learnt to a real-life scenario.

I've been at FutureCast for nearly 2 years and I'm still learning every day. The world of coding is vast, and there is always something new to discover. Personally, I like to embrace these challenges and relish the opportunity to grow and expand my skills. I'm not just gaining technical knowledge, I'm also developing problem-solving abilities, learning to work in a team and improving my communication skills.

Throwing yourself into a completely new career can be daunting but a coding bootcamp like the one I experienced is an accessible way to completely immerse yourself. It's without doubt one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Pembe Mistikoglu is a software developer at FutureCast

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