Learner stories

Taking a different path: One Team Lead's story

Giacomo S., Team Lead, London, England

As a contractor, Giacomo has worked for companies like Facebook, Deutsche Bank, BP, and Toptal.

What inspired you to code?

In school, I studied marketing and finance, then went more into marketing.

My main turning point was when a marketing client called me, very angry, because their site wasn’t working. The previous developers updated components using some JavaScript code, which was obsolete.

I figured out how to fix it almost on my own. That just opened the tap of dopamine in my brain. I liked the sense of fulfillment.

From there, I spent my spare time training myself mostly on Codecademy when it started. I’ve run the Codecademy London Meetup for the past six years.

That just opened the tap of dopamine in my brain.

What are your most memorable projects?

The first project you architect is like your creature. You like to see it grow much like it is your child.

Working for Facebook was also cool because you’re surrounded by people who have managed to clear a higher bar. Most of them have Computer Science degrees, and I studied business.

Being there and being able to hold my ground, pass the interview, perform, and deliver — that was refreshing.

Any advice for those who are new to coding?

My suggestion would be give it a shot, and then give it some more shots.

If you’re not successful, it’s not necessarily you. It might not be the right resource, or it might not be what makes you tick.

Also, when you can teach somebody else, it means you’re able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and explain a concept in basic terms. That is what allows you to gain full mastery.

When you’re not coding, what do you do for fun?

I enjoy coding for leisure, which is very different from what you do for work. You can explore and fiddle with technologies you wouldn’t in a business environment.

I also like urban hiking. It helps me think better.

One of the things I’ve learned as an Engineer is how you manage and master your focus. You learn that bashing your head against your monitor to try to find a solution is very rarely helpful.