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 Mary White, a Development Coordinator at the Baltimore Museum of Industry living in Baltimore, Maryland. Read more stories from Codecademy learners here — and be sure to share your story here.
Why I chose to learn to code
I told a friend of mine, who is a data scientist: ‘I love how it’s got numbers but also language.’ I’m a linguist; I speak mostly English and Spanish, but also several other languages. My friend said, ‘You know, if you like numbers and languages, you should try data science.’ So I started the Data Science Foundations skill path and fell in love.
Then we decided we wanted to buy a house, and I thought, Well, if we’re gonna do that, I’m going to need to get a job. So I put all of this on my portfolio and on my resume and started applying.”
How I made time to learn
“I set it up as if it were a part-time job. My wife’s job is fairly flexible: When Covid started, she was home and could watch our kid, so I could dedicate about 4 to 6 hours a day to learning on Codecademy.”
How I saved up enough money to take the leap
“I was a stay-at-home mom, and my wife was working from home due to the pandemic, so nothing really changed financially.”
How I got in the door
“I found the job listing on LinkedIn and did the auto-apply thing. I had done the same with about 20 other jobs that day. And then the assistant director called! I read everything I could about the organization to prepare.
I got an interview, and as soon as I got off the elevator, one of the other data people ran out holding a 20-page printout of my OkCupid portfolio project*, waving it around saying, ‘I’m so excited to meet you! I want to talk about this!’ It was amazing. We talked about my project, and I got the job a couple weeks later.”
How I nailed the interview
“I didn’t have to do any technical interviews, because the position wasn’t so much about software development. I think I was a little bit overqualified, but I was ready. All my other skills — I have an extensive copy-editing and writing background — are great for grant-writing and working with donors and institutions. The data definitely helps. I now manage the database on behalf of my administration.”
How I evaluated the offer
“I had been a stay-at-home mom for 3.5 years at that point, and getting jobs was really hard with that gap in my resume. As soon as I got something — especially after I had looked up this organization, visited the museum, and seen how enthusiastic they were about me — I took it right away. I was just so excited to get something.”
How day one & beyond went
“Day one was fine — mostly just meeting people and watching the onboarding videos. After about 1 to 2 weeks, I was just sort of thrown into the fire. I came in and everything was in a set of Excel spreadsheets in Google Drive. Since then, I put about 90% of these spreadsheets into the relational database. It was a lot of learning on the job. Taking my knowledge from Codecademy, plus being organized and comfortable with technology, has been immensely helpful.
What I wish I knew before I started learning
“I wish I knew how easy it was to learn to code. I feel like it was just like going back to school and doing Intro to Algebra again. If I’d known it was that easy, I probably would have approached it much sooner. I always thought it was this complex thing, and that you had to know everything to code — and you really don’t. It’s very accessible. The online community for coding is incredibly rich and amazing.”
Learn like Mary.
See the courses and languages that helped her most.
- Data Science Foundations
- Learn C++
- Analyze Financial Data with Python
- Learn Statistics with NumPy
- Learn Statistics with Python
- Apply Natural Language Processing with Python
- Learn Web Scraping with Beautiful Soup
- How to Clean Data with Python
- Learn the Command Line
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.