Cover image for Using lockdown to career change - from Chemical Engineer to Software Developer

Using lockdown to career change - from Chemical Engineer to Software Developer

gladyspascual profile image Gladys Pascual ・4 min read

As Ireland went into lockdown following the Covid-19 outbreak, I decided that this was the perfect time to upskill and further my prospects within the tech industry.

Although I enjoy my current job, I'm aware of the opportunities and flexibility that a career in tech can offer, not only in Dublin but also abroad. The decision for a career transition did not come easy. After all, I spent so much time to get to the career that I have right now, with four years to do my Bachelor's and another four to complete my PhD. My biggest worry was: am I just throwing all those years away? Luckily, I have a very supportive partner who made me realise that I have 30+ more years of working life ahead of me. A lot can change in those 30 years and I would like to put myself in a position where vast amount of opportunities are widely available.

So why coding?

An area of my job that really interests me is developing modelling solutions. Furthermore, I believe that the problem solving skills that I obtained from my background in Chemical Engineering are transferable into coding and with enough fundamental knowledge, a career in tech is a path that I can excel in and also enjoy.

First step to my career change

I started considering my options around February 2020, but I wasn't sure which course option to go with. I did not want to quit my full time job, therefore a part-time course was the best option for me.

I started with a five-week Coursera course on HTML, CSS and Javascript for Web Developers delivered by Yaakov Chaikin. It was an amazing course that gave me strong fundamentals on HTML, CSS and Bootstrap. More importantly, it strengthened my passion for coding and quickly realised that becoming a Front-End Web Developer would suit me best. I was ready to take my coding journey to the next level.

Next step to my journey to be a Software Developer

I haven't mentioned it yet but my partner Jerico is a Software Developer himself. He did an extensive research to guide me on which course would give me enough skillset and project work to get me that first Junior Developer role. The options were either on-campus bootcamps in Dublin or online learning programmes. We were leaning more on the online programmes such as the Front End Development or Full Stack JavaScript Techdegree courses offered by Treehouse, or the Front End Web Developer or React Nanodegree programmes offered by Udacity. On-campus bootcamps were quickly out of consideration as the commute during Dublin's rush hour would not be feasible with my demanding work schedule.

THEN THE LOCKDOWN HAPPENED. Fortunately, my company remained as an essential business and we continued our operation during the lockdown. On the other hand, all my extra-curricular activities and travel plans was postponed which led to all the extra hours I now have on my hands. As Ireland went into lockdown following the Covid-19 outbreak, I decided that this was the perfect time to upskill and further my prospects within the tech industry. Next, I saw that Wild Code School was offering their part-time Front-End Developer Course remotely due to the current lockdown. I went to one of their remote presentations on April given by Francesco Luciani, who would be the Campus Manager of the remote course. I went to that talk without any intentions of pursuing Wild Code School's course, mainly because it is a lot more expensive compared to the other online courses we've looked at. Then, right after Francesco's talk, I remember ringing Jerico straight away and told him that I want to do Wild Code School's remote course! Not only did Francesco did an amazing presentation, the remote course offered a curriculum structure that I want, the supervisor that I need, and most importantly the ability to work with a group of like-minded people. I signed up, started the remote course on mid-April, and fast forward to today I am on my week 10 of the course and I am loving it! I am always excited to come home and learn more JavaScript and now React, despite of how tired I am from a full day of work.

I will end this here and on my next blog post, I will talk about my journey of becoming a 'Wilder'. If you got this far, thank you for taking your time to read my story. If you're someone thinking of a career change, I understand that it's not an easy decision and I hope this blog helped a little bit. Don't hesitate to comment or contact me if you have any questions. ✌🏼

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Gladys Pascual


Chemical Engineer looking for a career change as a Front-End Web Developer, focusing on React 👩🏻‍💻


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I took the same route from chemistry PhD to JavaScript developer in 2015/2016 after I finished a post-doc. It was certainly right for me and I hope it all works out for you. Good luck with the new career.


Thank you for sharing Matthew, it's really nice to hear that someone else went through a similar path.


I did my career change in 2014, but to back end even though I stared learning HTML and PHP. Hope you have a successful career 🙂


Thank you for sharing Daniela :)