How I Went From Working At A Pub To Junior Full Stack Developer


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 Gwen Bradbury, a 32-year-old Junior Full-Stack Developer at Bunches living in Nottingham, U.K. Read more stories from Codecademy learners here — and be sure to share your story here.

Why I chose to learn to code

“It sounds really awful, but I was bored! I was looking for something else to do, so I started a course at a bootcamp that focused on Python and JavaScript. And then I was looking for the next thing. I got a job that worked with PHP and TypeScript, but I didn’t know any PHP, I didn’t know any TypeScript, my SQL was rusty at best, and then I found Codecademy! I’ve done the PHP course and the React course. I’m currently through the Typescript course and moving on to SQL after, but I absolutely love it.”

How I made time to learn

“Looking back, I have no idea how I did it, to be honest. I was homeschooling my son then as well. It was difficult. I think I was enjoying it so much that it wasn’t a chore to do. It was like a reward for me. I’d put my son to bed and get a couple of hours in, and I’d get up early and do a couple of hours in the morning. Between homeschooling and working at the pub, I’d sneak an hour here and a half hour there. Since it’s all in bite-size chunks, it was manageable to just do a section at a time.”

How I saved up enough money to switch careers

“I continued working at the pub while doing my courses. I handed my notice in at the pub the weekend before I started my new job at Bunches, a flower delivery company in the U.K.”

How long it took me to land a job

“One year from when I started learning.”

How I got in the door

“After I finished the bootcamp course and started the Codecademy ones, I just kept building things and trying out different projects. Straight out of my course, I applied to a couple of places and wasn’t successful. I was expecting to have to gain more experience, but the company I work for is absolutely amazing.”

How I nailed the interview

“By showing a willingness to learn. They appreciated that I took initiative to immediately start applying to positions, even though I had just completed the course two weeks prior. I was constantly looking for a new way to learn. That’s what coding is about: constantly learning because technology changes that quickly — which is perfect for me! I love to learn.”

How I evaluated the offer

“One really great sign was that they have this thing called Learning Fridays. On Friday afternoons, starting at around lunchtime, everyone spends the rest of the day learning something new. It still has to be coding-related, but I really liked that. And then on Mondays, we all discuss what we worked on the previous Learning Friday.”

How day one & beyond went

“It was overwhelming, but everyone was really nice and very supportive. I made friends, and it was really, really nice.”

What I wish I knew before I started learning

Impostor syndrome is annoying as hell. But, having a really supportive group of people to help pull you through that definitely helps. Just because you’ve completed a course and you’re in the industry doesn’t mean impostor syndrome can’t get you. It’s hard. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. But go easy on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up, ask for help, and don’t be afraid to break things. You need to make mistakes in order to learn.”

Learn like Gwen

See the courses and languages that helped them most.

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.

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