“Wish I knew it earlier” – 9 lessons from developers who made it


9 min read

There are so many things we could learn from others’ experience. Here are some nuggets of wisdom from developers who’ve already made it.

man thinking in front of computer

If you dream about becoming a developer, but you have doubts about choosing this path, we got you. Not sure about quitting university, or changing careers? Wondering if you could make it in IT as a woman? Or you’re debating if your math grades will be enough to start a career in IT?

Just know that you’re not alone. Many developers who came before you had similar thoughts and doubts in their heads. So let’s see what advice they’d tell their past selves – maybe you can see your own situation in a different light afterwards.

1. It's OK to quit and take a new direction

I started to learn programming on my own, but I reached a point quite early on where I felt like I needed a most structured approach and some guidance. Then came university, which was very structured indeed, but there was no room for anything else outside the official curriculum. There was so much I wanted to learn but I had no idea how to approach it. At Codecool, I finally had the chance to learn through practice. We got the tasks and the support, but figuring out the solutions – and sometimes, even the technology – was all up to us.”

Abel Hodasz, Software Engineer @VCC Live

Thinking of starting a new career? Or have you already made the decision to become a programmer? We know that these feelings and decisions require a lot of thinking-through. But please know, that your concerns and feelings are totally legit, and you’re not alone. We’ve seen our students blossom into amazing programmers from so many different backgrounds. And there’s absolutely no reason for you to stick to something that doesn’t fulfil you anymore.

Listen to your gut and intuition, and let them tell you when there’s a need for a change. If you have an honest relationship with yourself, you’ll simply know when the job, the university, the course, or the bootcamp you picked is not the right one for you. Having that unmotivated lingering feeling in the back of your head might mean that you’re not working or learning the way that suits you best.

Don’t worry about “wasted time”. First of all, whatever you learnt will not be wasted. You’ll be able to use your previously gained skills sometime in the future – even if maybe you don’t yet see where and when. Also, now, that you know better what you want to do, you could speed things up. Go for a course that’s relatively short and effective, and start to work at your new tech position in a year. If time is your concern, then shorter, more practice-oriented learning approach might suit you better. Check out your options carefully, and then make a wise decision about them.

2. Learning can be a fun, freeing experience

“I liked the curriculum best, because it was very professional and well-structured, with new challenges ahead every week. I had a ton of wins and moments of success during the course, and these experiences really deepened my love for coding A very powerful process started within me, and when I wasn’t in the school coding, I was sleeping. The whole experience was just plain uplifting.”

Gabor Kovacs, Back-End Developer @GE

Convinced that studying programming will be a long, painful journey? Think again! A well-built curriculum, lots of lifelike projects, and a great community can actually make your studies enjoyable and fun. It’s not that it’s gonna be easy. But it will be manageable, and you’ll grow to love the journey. With the right mindset, you’ll start to see difficult tasks as exciting challenges and failures as the necessary steps towards building your skills.

Not one amazing programmer reached their goals without failing a couple of times, so focus on that growth mindset, and fall in love with your failures. It’ll be one of the most amazing journeys you’ll ever take!

3. Learning a new stuff is first scary, but then it gets exciting

I gathered a ton of new perspectives. On one hand, from the mentors. You can learn so much from different attitudes and interests. … On the other hand, from other Codecoolers. We come from different backgrounds with different skillsets, so I learned to value perspectives that are a lot different than mine. … I also learned to value the power of flexibility: I do not get stressed when I face a brand new technology for example. When my new boss contacted me and told me that I did get the job, but I would have to work with a different programming language, I was even happy about the challenge ahead.”

Panna Kristof, Software Engineer @Prefixbox

Staying focused and motivated in brand new situations? Yes! That’s the approach you should have as a professional developer. Focus on maintaining your curiosity and try to find beauty in challenges. Because you’ll most definitely find yourself in new, challenging situations all the time. But a solution-focused mindset and some creative problem-solving skills will help you a lot on your way.

What might help is to have a strong community around you, and to have mentors who can guide you in any situation while you’re still learning. There’s no reason to scare away from challenges, but you’ll need guidance and a strong support system to build up this mindset.

4. Not having a background in tech is not a catastrophe

“The IT sector always interested me, but I never thought about going for a career. This was not the path I choose early on, I didn’t study to start a tech career, so I didn’t choose a university degree with relation to IT. But Codecool’s separate application process was a big thing for me. I thought ‘If I don’t make it, at least I tried. And if I do make it, I’ll start a brand new adventure.”

Mihaly Balazs Herczku, Software Engineer @evosoft

Think you need advanced-level physics or mathematics to code? Or that you’re too late to the game because of your age? We’re here to tell you that the time is always right to start coding. And you don’t need to have good grades in math to become a developer.

Your background or previous experience can only add value to your future career. With hard work, perseverance, and the right mindset, on top of basic logic skills and good English knowledge, you can make it in IT. Period. Plus, you’ll for sure be able to make use of your previous job, school, or career. You can make your new career your own making: it will be based on your own experiences, using your natural talents, mixed with a strong knowledge base that you’ll gather.

So don’t shy away from coding because of missing math skills. If you’ve set your mind on a new career, you can make it happen.

5. You'll learn a lot of new skills, and not just coding

“On top of getting to know a lot of new people, I myself grew a lot as a person. I see problems in a completely different light now, and my confidence grew a lot, too! I’m more effective individually and in group settings too, and I learned how to give feedback without misunderstandings or conflicts. All in all, I learned to find my place in a bigger group, I got used to getting over “failures”, and seeing problems as learning opportunities.”

Barnabas Szabados, Junior Software Developer @Xtendr

Contrary to popular belief, a developer’s job is not spent in complete solitude. Not in a work setting, not at a programming course. And it’s not a monotone job, where you leave all creativity behind. Becoming a developer will add value to a lot of areas in your life, in seemingly unexpected ways.

You’ll eventually work with multiple people, will have to present your work, or even have to solve some conflicts on the way. These situations will improve your soft skills like effective communication, giving and receiving feedback, conflict resolution, or presentation skills. These will be extremely valuable when you’re looking for a job as a fresh developer. 

What’s more, as you advance, you’ll for sure find beauty in coding, and see your creativity thrive as you write beautiful code. There’s so much in store for you, you’ll be shocked to see how much you’ll grow professionally and personally too.

6. University is not always the way to go

“I feel like I attended a training that gave me a lot more than a university. In addition to technical knowledge, the personal skills we learned and all the practice helped a lot in my work. I think Codecool is a very good entrance to the profession because it provides a strong, secure background you can use smoothly jump into a junior developer job interview. And I never received any feedback from a company that my knowledge wasn’t enough.”

Peter Soltesz, Full-Stack Developer @Tricentis

Like we’ve mentioned above, there’s no need to have an academic background to become a developer. So university is simply not the way to go for a lot of people anymore. If you want to become a developer, you might as well pick a programming course instead. It would mean learning only up-to-date, in-demand skills and technologies, and a shorter road to a new job and a nice salary.

If you pick a course with a practice-oriented teaching method and a job guarantee, you’ll be ready for your new junior software developer job in – more or less – a year.

7. With some support you'll go further than you could imagine

“I never thought that I’ll be able to write such complex programs only after two months into the course. And I really liked the mentoring system: it’s motivating and helps to keep track of your progress, which is something you won’t get from online learning platforms. During the course, and even with certain projects, I had my fair share of ups and downs, but there was no problem that I couldn’t find a solution to. That moment you shout from happiness because you made a code work… those are invaluable moments.”

Gabor Bathi, Business Analyst @Genpact

The IT industry is a fast-paced environment where you’ll for sure need a supportive community. If you pick a course early on where you’ll have a mentoring system and a nice community, you can build a nice network around you early on. This could give you amazing benefits in your new career.

With mentors guiding you, you’ll have professional support whenever you need it. They can help you keep track of your progress and give you valuable feedback. Without such focused support, learning 4-6 programming languages and tech stacks in a year would be a huge challenge. What you get with a mentoring system is a well-thought-out learning structure, valuable feedback from professionals, and personal talks and attention to your own needs. And with teammates, you’ll be able to experience what it’s like to work in an agile group setting, plus, you’ll have mates to share your journey with. Laughs, great talks, and new friendships will add amazing extras to your learning experience.

8. You can absolutely make it in this industry as a woman

“As a child, when I got immersed in the world of computer games, I often wondered how all this came to life. Even games in the browser, or complex online role-playing games… I was dumbfounded at the thought of how many people could be working on my character just simply going in a straight line. I decided that I want to solve challenges like this when I grow up. Then, I was told, that girls do not code, that’s not the way things work.”

Fanni Irisz Nagy, Education Developer @Codecool

The IT industry stopped being the domain of men a long time ago, and the world has caught up. Tech companies are looking to hire more women to create more diverse teams, better quality products, and fill their many open positions. All the while women are starting to grasp that they really have what it takes to become IT professionals. No superhero abilities or XY chromosomes are necessary to become a developer.

If you’re a girl or woman and you’re thinking of building a tech career, just know that software development and the IT sector in general, are waiting for you. You could go for any programming course and succeed, but you’ll need the same amount of motivation and perseverance as anybody else. There are a ton of options ahead to start your tech journey. You could even go for our CoderGirl scholarship to get your career on track. The world of IT waits for you!

9. You can leave some room for experimenting

“I didn’t have a clear vision and I didn’t know which topic I’d like to dive deeper into in the last quarter of the full-stack course. For me, this happened gradually, naturally. In the end, I choose test engineering. Even though I wasn’t 100% sure that I’d like to work as a test engineer, I liked the idea of getting a more analytical, more holistic look at development. I was sure that this knowledge will help me a lot later on.”

Adam Landfrasz, QA Engineer @Lensa

Are you lost in the different sub-topics of software development? Or do you have a strict outline of where you want to take your career already? If we could give one piece of advice, it would be to let the world surprise you.

The best option might be to go for a full-stack development course like our flagship one, where you could learn 4-6 programming languages and a ton of different technologies. In the latter stages of a course like this, you have the option to choose a specialisation, when you already have a great understanding of software development. So don’t make rigid plans and expect things to stay a certain way. Allow yourself to fall in love with any topic unexpectedly, and trust your gut feeling.

The same goes for your future job as a developer. Don’t stick to an idea of a role or a company for too long, because great opportunities might pass you by. Be ready to try out new things, and keep in mind that flexibility is a great advantage in this industry.

Got different questions?

Should you have any further questions, check out these Q&A, or reach out to us. Be it about coding, our method, or job guarantee, we’re always happy to answer your questions.

If you want to dive headfirst into software development or you’re looking for a career change, you’re in the right place. Our Full-Stack Development Course can take you to a guaranteed junior developer job in a year. We have comfortable payment options that enable you to pay afterwards, in convenient, monthly instalments when you’re already earning a nice, tech salary.

You’ll only learn in-demand programming languages and technologies. Plus, you’ll grow valuable soft skills that will make you a professional that any company will love to work with. With pro mentors and a supportive community, you’ll get everything that’s needed for an effective and quick career change, while you’re having fun.

Hope to hear from you soon!

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