How I Went From Film Producer to Full-Stack Engineer in 11 Months

6 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 Julia Jubileu, a 30-year-old Ruby on Rails Developer at Konduto, a Brazilian company that provides anti-fraud services for ecommerce websites, living in São Paulo, Brazil. Read more stories from Codecademy learners here — and be sure to share your story here.

Why I chose to learn to code

“As soon as the pandemic hit, and when the first cases of Covid-19 started to be reported, we were forbidden to film in the city. So I had a lot of free time. I was a bit disappointed for a while because I didn’t feel like I had much of a perspective of growth for my future — but I was so focused on work that I didn’t have time to think about what to do.

I was very worried and I started to contemplate this idea of changing careers. Immediately what struck me was that it seemed like every company everywhere was only hiring software developers. Even though I didn’t think I could become a software developer or engineer at the time, I’d started to consider it. At the same time, a friend of mine was building his personal website, and he was learning how to code to do it. I thought, He’s a person who kind of came from the same background as me, and who also wasn’t a math genius — because I thought software engineers were math geniuses. I started to believe that it was attainable for me, too. 

I was starting to imagine that I could spend some time learning this. I shared this idea with some friends who already worked as programmers and they were very supportive; they totally thought I could do it. There was just a combination of the necessity because of money, some curiosity because I was very intrigued, and incentive and support that I got from my friends. The first resource I found was Codecademy — that’s how I took my first steps learning.”  

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How I made time to learn

“I still had to go to an office for work, so I started to wake up earlier so I could study before work, and then study on my commute. A couple of months later, I left the film production job. It just was unsustainable, because I was almost paying to [commute to] work. 

Already I could see a future for myself and I believed that I could work as a developer. I quit my job and I applied for a boot camp and intensive programming training. When I wasn’t working anymore, my problem wasn’t finding time — my problem was setting limits and goals*.” 

* Having trouble setting realistic goals as you learn to code? Here are 29 bite-sized coding goals that you can work towards, no matter where you are in your coding journey.  

How I saved up money to switch careers

“When I left the company, I didn’t have any resignation payments. I had nothing; I had no money. But I did have a car, and I sold it. I lived on this revenue for about 6 months. I also had help from my family and my partner, but mostly I had the money from selling my car.”

How long it took me to land a job

“I started learning in June 2020, approximately, and in October, I quit my job. In May 2021, I started working as a Junior Full-stack Developer.” 

How I got in the door

“I did this boot camp, and it is sponsored by lots of companies. So the idea is that you kind of start to build a relationship with the developers and the HR people, and they will point the people who they like the most to job interviews. So I kind of was already on track to get a job.”

How I nailed the interview

“The process of getting accepted to the bootcamp was kind of like a long interview. I had to take some programming tests, and I had to solve, like, 30 LeetCode questions. And then I got into the program, and the idea was that we had 3 months of working as a developer. We learned about Agile methodologies, rituals, routines, code reviews, and TDD [test-driven development] to prepare to work as a professional developer. 

To get the job I have now, there was an interview, but it wasn’t technical. The interview was more so we could get to know each other.”  

How I evaluated the offer

“Firstly, there were some key practical considerations, like how much I was going to get paid. That was very important. But also I was interested in making sure that the place I worked would prioritize education and continuous learning. As a beginner, this was very important to me. They totally made sure that I had a lot of space to learn and grow. Most of the successful engineers at the company started there as well. I think that was the main point: To be able to have space to learn, to ask questions, and to just be comfortable as a beginner.”

How day one and beyond went

“I think that selling my car was the best deal ever, because this work is so rewarding. I love it. I was super welcomed into the team, they support me, and they are very committed to my growth. So I am 100% happy that I made the move.

We have a daily stand-up meeting where we will sort of talk about what is the priority for the team and then check what we will work on for this week’s sprint. I will work on tasks, and also contribute to [technical] specs on the tasks that we are building and defining. I will also read code* that my colleagues wrote.” 

* Code reviews are common collaborative processes that you’ll take part in on a dev team. If it’s your first time reading or reviewing code written by someone else, here are some tips for making it a successful code review.

What I wish I knew before I started learning

“I don’t think I would’ve done anything differently. I guess it took me a long time to grasp the fundamentals of the thing that I was doing: I was writing code, but I think it took me a long time to really understand that, basically, it’s all about inputting data that you’re going to process and turn into some output that solves a problem. When I did manage to get that simple concept in my head, it clicked, and it was much easier. 

Now when somebody talks to me about wanting to start learning how to code, that’s one of the first things that I’ll say: ‘Coding is really basic. What you have to do in the end is very simple, but the form that you do it in changes.’”

Learn like Julia

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