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I made it onto the School of Code Bootcamp!

helen8297 profile image Helen Kent Updated on ・5 min read

Who I am

Hello! I’m Helen. I’m 35 and I’ve been an upper key stage 2 primary school teacher for 10 years. I come from Sutton Coldfield but moved to Tamworth in 2017 and live with my fiancée, Laura, who is a forensic assistant for the police. Aside from playing around on computers and learning to code, I enjoy going to the cinema, playing board games (not monopoly!), gardening (in the summer), reading books and falling asleep to Netflix. In October I applied for a place on the School of Code bootcamp. I was lucky enough to make it through the rounds that whittled down the 1500 applicants and I’m one of the final 24! I’d like to explain how I got here and why I’ve decided to undertake a very exciting complete career change.

How I got here

I used to love teaching, but over the last 2-3 years I’ve begun to feel worn down with the politics and I’ve been searching for a route out. I felt sad that I’d fallen out of love with something I’d been so into. However, I found something new…or rather, I rediscovered an old hobby.

During my teens, I spent all my free time playing on the giant computer that my Dad brought home one day. I remember the day we first got the internet at home. I couldn’t wait to get onto the ‘Friends’ website! I spent hours making my own drag and drop geocities websites. However, I never stumbled upon anything that introduced me to code.

I took ICT at GCSE and A-Level and studied Computing and Management at Loughborough University. During my degree we had a unit on Java that was taught by a tutor who could only speak very little English. I did not understand a thing, completely switched off and assumed coding wasn’t for me.

Due to my computing background I was made the subject leader for computing at my primary school. The 2014 national curriculum change brought in a renewed focus on computer science. I began to learn basic HTML & CSS so I could teach it and I ran an after school code club. The more I learnt, the more I enjoyed it and I started learning on Codecademy in my spare time.

I began to think that a career change from teaching to web development would be perfect, however it was quite disheartening to think I’d have to self-teach for at least a few years whenever I could fit it in before I’d be anywhere near ready to take the leap. I researched local bootcamps and was shocked at their huge prices. Realistically, I then gave up as I thought it’d be near impossible to make the change.

Why choose the School of Code?

Fast forward a couple of years to September 2019. My girlfriend (now fiancée!) mentioned that her friend had done a coding bootcamp and it was free. I was immediately super keen to find out everything about it and how it was free, so I bombarded her with so many questions. I remember stalking the School of Code Twitter feed, reading every word of the website and watching all the YouTube videos. There isn’t just one answer to why I’ve chosen the School of Code. The fact that it is sponsored and is free to attend makes it accessible. There is no way I could have afforded the extortionate price tags of other bootcamps. I think the curriculum that the School of Code offers is perfect. I know I’m interested to learn advanced front end, but I’m really pleased back end is included too, as I know nothing. I’m also really excited about all the extras that the School of Code offers. The team work and projects will give us a chance to really test our skills and make us more ready for our new roles. We’ll get paired with mentors that can help to expand our industry networks. I’m also quite excited about the location – I’ve never worked in a city so being at the heart of things in the Custard Factory in Birmingham is quite exciting. Also – did I mention that it’s free?

Why now?

Giving up a fairly well-paid teaching career in a lovely school full of colleagues that are my best friends is quite a daunting leap! I’ve felt the need for a change for a few years now and this feels like the right time to make the move. I’ve gone as far with teaching as I’d want to and I felt so excited to learn about a free full stack web development bootcamp. After learning about School of Code I went back to Codecademy, revamped my Twitter feed and followed all the devs I could find. I created a budget spreadsheet to check I could actually afford to quit my job for SoC and started attending Codebar meetups, where the lovely Matt and his teacher volunteers helped me learn about the terminal and GitHub.

I was so thrilled when the applications opened for cohort 3.0 and I applied straight away. It was exciting getting through each of the application rounds and I really enjoyed the interview day. I must’ve checked my email so many times in the days that followed and I couldn’t quite believe it when I received one to say I was in! I handed in my notice at school the next day.

What I thought of tech before

For years, the world of tech has felt like the place I’d like to be, but that it was just completely out of my reach. I thought I’d missed the boat after not getting to grips with coding at uni and my time was done. I also think I subscribed to the idea that it was a bit of a club reserved for the brainiest of people and it all came pretty naturally to them. However, after learning more and specifically listening to a few different podcasts I’ve gotten the idea that it is a club I can actually join! It feels like there are so many developers out there that are going out of their way to welcome newbies to the industry. It’s good to know there is a wealth of information and resources for new developers focussed not only on teaching tech skills, but also how to deal with imposter syndrome: I think that knowing so many others experience the same things will really help.

2020

I’m so excited about starting the School of Code in January. I can’t wait to be surrounded by like-minded people, all keen to learn. I’m really looking forward to being a student again and I can’t wait learn how to build loads of exciting things. I feel very lucky to be part of cohort 3.0: the curriculum that Chris and his team have put together is more than ideal and I’m very grateful that they will clearly put so much effort into helping us all find jobs at the end of the course. I’m so excited for all the new experiences that 2020 will bring. Roll on January 20th!

Follow along!
I'll be blogging and tweeting about my journey through bootcamp and into the world of tech. Please let me know if you're doing the same or if you've done the same and if you have any tips!

Discussion (15)

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princealarming profile image
Prince-Alarming

Helen,

First and foremost, Congratulations on making it into The School of Code!

I have dabbled with coding since 1994. By 1998, I had 6 websites I created and maintained. At the time I really, wanted to get into IT but, you either went to college and paid alot(usually for outdated info)or try for a Microsoft Certification(depending on what certification(s) you went for, it may have been pricey as well).

There were no coding bootcamps or websites that help you learn coding. So, out of disgust and frustration I stopped coding websites and pursuing a career in IT.

Fast forward to 2019. I had a friend who sent me a link about a company in my area who were testing people to become apart of an IT company. Long story short, I didn't make it in but got referred to an app for coding. While in there, I found a jem of a website. It's called freeCodeCamp.org . I have been learning coding ever since and yes for free. It has a full fledged Full Stack Developer curriculum, with certification. Worth checking out, I'm glad I did.

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helen8297 profile image
Helen Kent Author

Thanks v much! I've heard a lot of good things about freecodecamp. I'm making my way through codecademy at the moment but i'd like to take a look at that.

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omarel profile image
Omar Elbaga

Helen, that's great! Congratulations. Keep going. I left teaching many years ago for technology. It took me a while to make the decision because I did enjoy teaching, helping others and working with youth, but I'm glad I did because I realized I do really love tech and software engineering. I do miss teaching but as you mentioned academia is not only about teaching. It comes with so many other convergent issues.

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helen8297 profile image
Helen Kent Author

You're so right. Theres too much bad taking over. Looking forward to a change!

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demkantor profile image
demkantor

Congrats Helen! Your story of seeing dad bring home that giant PC and being enthralled about the new limitless capabilities sounds a lot like my own life! I played with computers as a child but also never found my way into coding back then. Then, when Android came about, I found myself immersed in a new world and played about learning to code.
By then I was in college and not even thinking this could be a career choice. Sadly my hobby added as life moved on. Over the past few years a friend of mine, then another, then another, went through coding boot camps. It was time for me to quit my job and start over. Scarry as it is, I am so proud to be in a boot camp right now, even if I never make as much money as I did before I know I will be doing something I have a passion for and that alone will be worth this life change!
Best of luck to you out there!

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helen8297 profile image
Helen Kent Author

Thank you! It’s always good to hear about similar experiences! Good luck with your bootcamp 😁

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wchandler2018 profile image
wchandler2018

Good luck, I'm rooting for you. I just got into a coding bootcamp in Milwaukee Wisconsin. I definitely am excited to to read updates about your progress.

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wchandler2018 profile image
wchandler2018

Hi everyone, I wanted to do a quick update on my first week in BootCamp. I'm going to a bootcamp in Milwaukee. Before I touch on the curriculum, I'd never been to Wisconsin and this place is miserably cold. Okay, so this bootcamp revolves around C# and .Net. The first day we immediately jumped into variables, loops, and if/else statements ect. all before the end of day one. Later that week got into things like inheritance and encapsulation. On Thursday of last week we had two projects one where we had to create two console applications one that allowed us to create a team of dinosaurs and robots to make them fight and also a pay calculator. I have a CS degree and I also have JS experience but this we fairly tough for the first week especially for newbies, we had 6 people drop out. Tomorrow morning I will be turning in project #3 which is a Rock Paper Scissors application that can be controlled by either the computer or a user. Tomorrow afternoon we will get assignment #4. So far so good, it's an extremely fast pace course as you can tell but I'm happy with it. Good luck to everyone taking the leap this year.

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helen8297 profile image
Helen Kent Author

Ooh brilliant, congratulations! Will follow your progress too.

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amarillo12 profile image
amarillo12

Helen, this is great news, congratulations, I hope this will bring you even more joy. I am a college student, and I do not have enough good teachers, because most of them do not care about the mental health of students and they do not care about the learning process. Many simply stopped studying because of this and simply use the au.edubirdie.com/mba-assignment-help various services to continue to receive good grades, but not to waste time on this and just have fun. I hope that this situation will change because education is very important.

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emma profile image
Emma Goto 🍙

Congratulations!! Sounds like it will be a really exciting experience.

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helen8297 profile image
Helen Kent Author

Thank you! I think you're right - i'm looking forward to it! x

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katnel20 profile image
Katie Nelson

Congratulations Helen. I’m so happy for you! Good luck in bootcamp. 😊

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helen8297 profile image
Helen Kent Author

Thank you very much!

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amberdanielle profile image
Amber Danielle

The school of code was an amazing. I spent 36 weeks here between Jan 2020 and October 2020 and it has sincerely changed my life. It's a free boot camp which will teach many languages in a rapid time bilde. Its 100% available for people who have never coded before. As long as you have the run to learn you will succeed It is convenient to read the review on the site divineessay.com/ and choose the appropriate option for yourself. They guide you after its finished, and continue to involve previous boot campers in the community. I don't know what I would have done without it.

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