"For the first time in 15 years, I felt happy doing something"I am currently 31 years old. I started studying software development 2 years ago. As a child, I attended a special math school and, in parallel, participated in academic math competitions. But my mother always told me that because I am a girl, a technical profession is not for me. Like I was going to study and then repair old computers. I enrolled where my mother wanted me to and received a diploma in cultural studies. After university, I worked in HR for 8 years at companies such as Procter & Gamble (FMCG) and UCB Pharma. I have a mathematical mindset, so even in HR management, I performed analytics on employee satisfaction levels, personnel performance scores, and salary and benefits planning. I thought they pay well and it's a prestigious company. My last position in HR was as a business partner. But it didn't bring me much satisfaction. So I began thinking about changing my profession. My boyfriend does programming and prepares problems for math competitions. I got sick once and he invited me to solve some programming problems. He didn't want me to get bored at home. He also suggested that I look at an educational website, where I took a short course on Java. I tackled these programming problems for about six months. I really liked it. I realized that for the first time in 15 years, I felt happy doing something. Before, I just went to work and made money, but I didn't like my job. It just felt like an obligation. In order to devote more time to my hobby, I decided to take a risk and switch my profession to programming. But my acquaintances working in the field warned me that educational tasks are cool, but professional programmers do something else at work. I had to learn theory about classes, methods, and object-oriented programming.
"I managed to study both at work and in the evenings at home"My boyfriend codes in Java, so I also started learning Java. Initially, I didn't know that other programming languages exist, and once I did, I knew that I didn't want to start learning something else from scratch. With all that in mind, I deliberately looked for Java courses and came across this course. That's when I found myself an easier job that I could combine with self-study. Because my workload was light, I managed to study both at work and in the evenings at home. Besides the course, I read programming books and coded up a pet project — an expense calculator. All this took about a year and a half. Sometime after Level 32, I started looking for work. My skills and knowledge were enough to go to interviews. I went to three interviews (I sent my resume to only three companies, but since I fit their specified criteria, I was invited to interviews at each of them) and successfully completed the process in each instance. One of the companies that gave me an offer is a well-known bank, but they gave excessively lengthy feedback and I thought they wouldn't be a good fit for me. The second company I went to was EPAM. I did a test for them and went through two interviews involving theory and practical problems. But, one, I didn't like the projects they proposed, and two, I didn't like their corporate culture.
"My income didn't go up. Instead, it decreased by two thirds, but now I like my profession"I ultimately chose a large product company (Editor's note: our heroine asked us not to name her employer). The company's corporate culture suited me: I was not indifferent about my place of employment and the types of projects I would be doing. At first, I was a trainee for 3 months. I created a new service for the company and was then promoted to a junior dev. We have a very large team (there are more than 20 people in our development group alone). We handle content for one service and are creating a service to help our partners manage their business processes. My tasks don't really differ from those of ordinary developers. The only thing is that they take me longer and my code is checked more often and more thoroughly. Each group in the company has its own technology stack, which depends on the tasks. The company is very large — there are very few processes that apply everywhere there. I'm a junior developer now. When the job began, my difficulty was that we were working remotely, and my coworkers did not respond as quickly as they would in person. I had no other difficulties fitting in at work. Interestingly, my income didn't go up. Instead, it decreased by two-thirds, but now I like my profession. Work is much easier. I don't have to force myself. With age, my values have changed. Previously, I prioritized making money and a career at a cool company. But now I care more about having a job that I enjoy.
Tips for beginner developers:
Understand what you really like. It's just that if you don't like programming, then it will be a drag, just like any other job. But if you have already known that you like it, then don't be afraid of stereotypes or your age. I know lots of people want to go into IT for the money, but this is probably not the best idea.
Learn basic programming principles. Interview questions are very often aimed at assessing your understanding rather than knowledge. It's important for you to understand what's happening under the program's hood, so to speak, how and why it works.
When building a training schedule, make it work for you. Everything should be customized. Some people need to learn quickly. Others make progress at a more measured pace.