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 Angelo Ćurčić, a 25-year-old Front-End Developer at MHR Software, living in Nottingham, England. Read more stories from Codecademy learners here — and be sure to share your story here.
Why I chose to learn to code
“I went to an art university and studied creative writing. After that, my original plan was to go into primary school teaching, and then carry on writing. It turned out that [teaching] didn’t really suit me well. I stacked shelves for a while in a supermarket, and then it was January of 2022 and I was doing telesales for a recruitment agency — basically making cold calls, all day every day. I just thought, I need to do a hard career change and find something else that I enjoy doing.
My initial gateway to coding was video games. I thought making video games looked like something fun to do in my spare time. Then I quickly realized, You need to be able to type some code.* How hard can it be? Not actually as hard as I thought, which was a pleasant surprise.
I had a view for a long time that programmers were like math geniuses that went to the greatest schools in the country, and could ‘see the Matrix’ and everything. And I was like, well, that’s not me. I’m just pretty average in terms of school, and math probably wasn’t my best subject. I always had a creative side, with art school and everything, and a nerdy techie side. I pursued that creative side, so I decided that I was going to go for the other one.”
* Curious how much coding goes into making a video game? Check out our course Introduction to Game Development to learn the ins and outs of creating a video game.
How I made time to learn
“I made time to code everywhere and anywhere so I could. I would get up an hour before I needed to, and I would just keep my laptop right next to my bed, so I could immediately open it up. I’d take my laptop with me to lunch so I could work for an hour on my lunch break. Then I would get home and before dinner I’d get another hour of learning in. At my best, I was doing 3-4 hours a day, and then on the weekend I squeezed out a little more. My poor girlfriend was annoyed because she didn’t see me much. For me, the thing that made it so easy to do as much as I was doing every day, and not get burnt out, is that it was genuinely fun.”
Learn something new for free
How I saved up money to switch careers
“Financially, it was kind of a no-brainer — I got Pro for a year. It really wasn’t that much of an investment, considering how serious I was about going for it. I did have a full-time job as well, so I had an income and I could afford it. That’s part of the thing that made me go, I’ll try and get 3 hours a day. Because if I’m paying for it, I’m going to make the most of it.”
How long it took me to land a job
“I remember thinking that I could stay at the cold-calling job for about a year or so before I had to do something else, whether that was a job coding or just another role. I pushed myself and I ended up just applying to jobs that I didn’t think I would be able to get, as early as possible. As soon as I had anything to add to my CV that could say I can code to a certain degree — like I’ve made a webpage or a portfolio that I can show off — I applied. I thought I’d just apply and if they say, no, that’s fine.”
How I got in the door
“I was on Indeed or a different job board, just Googling jobs. A couple other jobs I applied to either I had not heard anything from or were in-process. I found this job online, applied, and luckily the company also had an open house. The office is really close, so I went in to say, Hi, this is me! I thought I could make myself a bit more memorable for the process.
Going to the office actually did make me a bit more nervous, because a lot of the people there were impressive — someone there who had a doctorate in programming or something like that. But I explained my situation to them, and what I was trying to do, and they seemed really interested in taking on somebody who could develop and grow.”
How I nailed the interview
“It wasn’t a hardcore technical interview; they sent me some tasks to do. It was basically written out like a user story, which I had never come across before. One of the tests was to write a response about any problems I would have, like, if I was actually coding this, what sort of things would need clarifying? Then I had to actually code up what they’d been asked for. It was a really simple login screen for a web page. You just need to have boxes to put that first name, mobile number, and an email address.
I proved that I could set up the basics, then they sent me a challenge where I had to recreate that same webpage again in C#, which I’d never used before. That was pretty daunting, and they gave me about a week to do it. I think the point was to see how quickly I could teach myself and learn. That was probably my most hardcore weekend of Codecademy. At some point, something clicked and I was like, Ah, I get it! I don’t have to know how the whole thing works, I just need to know how that works.”
How I evaluated the offer
“I thought I’d scream and run around the office, but when the job offer came through, I was very quiet. It sank in a couple of days later when I was driving home in the car, like, Oh my god.
I had to take the job, because there wasn’t a significant salary difference, and I had a better opportunity to grow in this company. On top of that, it was just something I worked so hard for. I’d been coding every day for 6 months, so I knew for a fact that this was something I enjoy doing.”
How day one and beyond went
“It went really well. They’re really nice, and a cool, casual team. They’ve given me a lot of space to grow and learn. The company has been around for about 40 years, they’ve got a huge codebase. I’ve been buddied up, so I do a lot of pair programming and just like watching over people. It’s exactly what I was looking for, and it’s 10 minutes down the road, which is perfect.”
What I wish I knew before I started learning
“It would have been nicer if I’d started earlier, because I spent so long thinking it was out of reach. It really isn’t. At any point I could have started. I just think that it’s very doable, so you should just go for it, and start applying for jobs even before you think you’re ready.
What have you got to lose? You can try it out, because there’s a lot on Codecademy that you can do for free. Have a go, and if it’s fun, you can get Pro — it really is made to take you all the way through.”
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