From self-taught to _nology – why the bootcamp method works for me

After completing his degree, running a pub and teaching himself to code, James Nowell, 26, decided to take the plunge and head back to the classroom. But _nology is a different style of teaching to any other he’s experienced.

Written by Tom Bennison - 04.04.19

Here's his story...

After graduating, I worked as a graphic designer with the European Independent Film Festival. Shortly afterwards, I took up freelance work alongside my pub job. My role progressed to supervisor and then eventually manager. To create a stronger digital presence for the firm, I decided to create a website. I took the opportunity to learn some rudimentary web development and built the site myself. Very quickly, I gained an appetite for seeing what else I could build with code. It was like pulling on a thread: I went on to build my own site, experiment with new languages and help friends build their own online projects. I had a sincere desire to develop this skillset and dedicated the next six months to becoming fully self-taught with my sights set on a job for 2019.

Coding skills are in demand

After pouring endless hours into codecademy, freecodecamp, and w3schools I began applying for internships in Birmingham and London. I began to consider bootcamps when I realised that I wanted to take my code to the next level. I felt that if I was self-taught, I might miss an opportunity to pick up best practices in the industry. The chance to learn alongside industry veterans would help avoid picking up bad coding habits.

To bridge the gap between being qualified and employable I began to shop around for different courses, I found that a lot of graduate schemes tied you into test roles for 2 years with a fixed salary.

With tech you can go into any career 

However, one of the main reasons I wanted to get into tech was to have the opportunity to make a more substantial contribution to real-life projects as a developer. Most graduate schemes are blocking this opportunity and shackling you to test roles in which you’re threatened with fees if you breach the two year contract. The chance to get involved in almost any industry and being given the purpose of creating a tech based solutions is not something I wanted to forfeit. Nology stood out to me by placing more emphasis on aligning graduates with their interests to help find tech based employment in an area suitable to the individual.

You are always learning something new

Initially, I was excited about going back into the classroom but apprehensive about being in a busy office environment. Just 5 weeks in and it’s been a great boost to my confidence. I’m picking up new material everyday which is essential to success in the industry. Being part of a small team all on the same journey, we’ve developed a close bond whilst working together on different projects. Having the office culture is mentally preparing us for our first roles in tech. I’ve welcomed this approach and since reviewed my preconception that office life is mundane. I come in each morning, excited about the day ahead. Completely immersed in ongoing projects, it’s very easy to lose track of time. Even at night, I’ll often catch my mind going over the work I’d previously done that day. My advice to anyone considering a career in tech would be to start building projects. Learning the languages of computers is no different to learning human languages. You can only learn so much French or Spanish in a classroom. Fluency can only be achieved by real world conversations, making mistakes and being completely immersed in the culture. Programming is no different and I’d recommend prospective developers to build a portfolio of projects; whether it be an online calculator, the local takeaway’s website or even a program which outputs your favourite colour. All this experience contributes towards your learning and that can never be taken away from you.

It’s intense but exciting 

As a _nologist, this is the most excited I have ever been about my future. I’m looking forward to getting my first job as a developer, being part of a team and building projects. Still at the early stages of my career, I’m excited to learn, grow and develop with the industry as it expands and evolves throughout my lifetime. I feel like I’m more likely to fulfill these goals having enrolled on the _nology bootcamp.


James experiences of _nology so far show how the course can take people from any background or experience and teach them the skills needed for a thriving tech career in any industry. If you’d like to learn more about what the course consists of, please visit our applicant page

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