How I Went from Business Owner to Software Engineer II in 2 Years

5 minutes

Learning to code so that you can land a job in tech can feel daunting. That’s why we’re sharing inspiring stories from Codecademy’s community — to show how people like you (yes, you!) can embark on a learning journey and end up with a totally new career. We hope these stories serve as a reminder that there’s no single path to a more fulfilling work life.

Today’s story is from Pradeep Sukhwani, a 30-year-old Software Engineer II at Airbase, living in Ahmedabad, India. Read more stories from Codecademy learners here — and be sure to share your story here.

Why I chose to learn to code

“I had an issue with my business back in 2014. It actually went down, and I had nothing in my career. I followed my interest at the time; I wanted to be a game developer because I play games a lot. In my childhood days, I started my gaming journey playing Sega games, and then I jumped on PlayStation — I still have a console with me. That’s why I started this journey through Codecademy.

Codecademy was the first step for me to build a career and to get familiar with the computer science world. I had no knowledge about what computer science was or how I could build a career without a degree. But I just followed my passion.

I took courses from Codecademy, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and I slowly moved to Python Django. For Codecademy, the first thing was taking the course and doing it in real time. Whenever I needed any language, I could do it on Codecademy. Taking the courses, it’s like a user-friendly thing. It’s not a steep learning curve; it’s more like slowly increasing, and you can use the forums if you have any doubts.”

Learn something new for free

How I saved up money to switch careers

“At the time, I was financially dependent on my family members, so I didn’t have the luxury to buy a nice laptop or anything. Codecademy provided me with a platform where I could do code practice. I used the Basic plan, so everything was free. I had a job as a Technical Service Associate, which was a customer service role. It was just to ensure that I could keep up with my living expenses and, again, learn new things. I wanted to make sure that maybe I could get a chance to jump to a different career if this current one didn’t work out.”

How long it took me to land a job

“It took me a year to land a job. I started my journey back in 2015, and by the next year, I had this internship, and then 2017 was the year I started my professional career. I began my first full-time job as a Software Engineer, and I worked on Python Django as a primary tech stack. Slowly, I moved towards React because I had a good understanding of how JavaScript worked and what jQuery was.

Gradually, I built my career in the computer science world, and today I am working as a Software Engineer II at Airbase, which is an SES company based out of San Francisco.”

How I got in the door

“It involved a lot of preparation and, of course, patience. Whenever I learned anything, it was entirely new for me — things like pointers, lists, and arrays. To maintain patience, I would go back to Google repeatedly, asking questions and trying to understand concepts, like, ‘What is this?’ and ‘What is that?’ I utilized Codecademy’s forums, where people helped me out. Forums was actually like my stepping [stone], where many questions were solved. That’s basically how I cleared my interview rounds.”

How I nailed the interview

“I faced a lot of issues during the coding round because, I can see that I am a software engineer, but in the end, I still didn’t know how to solve the problem. I used to spend hours on Codecademy and other forums just to solve it.

It’s important to have a clear gist of how you can approach the problem in a different way. You have to think about why you are doing it and what is the reason behind it. A problem can be solved in multiple ways. That actually helped me a lot and changed my entire mindset when approaching problems.”

“It’s important to have a clear gist of how you can approach the problem in a different way. You have to think about why you are doing it and what is the reason behind it.”

Pradeep Sukhwani
Software Engineer II at Airbase

How day one and beyond went

“My first day as a software engineer was in a challenging environment because it was something I had never experienced before. There were so many people around me, many of whom were way more senior and from a computer science background. No one was like me, coming from a non-tech background and asking questions about things that others might assume you should already know.

Basically, it’s okay to ask ‘stupid’ questions; having questions means you are growing. It shows a willingness to learn new things, so it’s okay to ask any questions.

I was still at a stage where I was learning new things, but it was more about the mindset I faced. Even now, it’s still a quite challenging environment because you have to keep up with the knowledge and the new things coming in. You have to question why you’re doing things in a certain way, because engineers ask questions like, ‘Why are you doing it this way? Why not that way? Do you have any specific reasons?’ You have to make sure that you ask these questions to yourself. Is there any better way to do it or not?”

What I wish I knew before I started learning

“The first thing is to have an open mindset, as if you don’t know anything. It really helps to grasp things as fast as possible. Once you have a mindset of already knowing, it can slow you down. For instance, thinking, ‘I know this because I’ve done a similar thing in some other code, website, or place.’

The second thing is to learn how Google works. Google primarily operates on keywords, so you don’t really need to type the entire sentence with a question mark or perfect grammar.”

Learn like Pradeep

6 courses

Not sure where to start? Check out our personality quiz! We’ll help you find the best programming language to learn based on your strengths and interests.

Want to share your Codecademy learner story? Drop us a line here. And don’t forget to join the discussions in our community.

Related articles

7 articles