How I Went from Drum Teacher to Software Engineer in 12 Months

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How I Went from Drum Teacher to Software Engineer in 12 Months

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 Daniel Jordan, a Software Engineer at a telecommunications company, living in Hertfordshire, England. Read more stories from Codecademy learners here. Want to be featured in a video about your coding journey? Be sure to share your story here.

Why I chose to learn to code

“I was teaching at drum school and doing gigs on the weekend — like weddings, functions, and corporate stuff, which was super fun. But I always found myself wanting a bit more challenge mentally. The lifestyle of being a musician was getting quite a lot. You have lots of major highs and then nothing happens for a long time. It’s not sustainable forever, for me, anyway. As I got a bit older, I just wanted to have more balance in my life.

I wanted to learn coding to have more of a mental challenge daily. When I was a musician, we
were doing the same thing every night. I was just looking for something more satisfying to do with my life. Coding gives me the freedom of expression to do what I want to do and build things that I really want to build. And you can make something how you think it should be made, and not how anyone else thinks you should make it. That’s why I like coding.”

How I found motivation to learn

“Motivation for me whilst I was learning was not really a much of a problem. I had the opposite problem; I was too motivated. Every day I wanted to get up and I wanted to learn more. I thought it was just the greatest thing that I’d stumbled across.”

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How long it took me to land a job

“Thanks to Codecademy, I was able to go from knowing nothing about code to having a full-time Software Engineer job in 12 months flat. It took me about two months to feel confident enough to start building my own projects. But once I was there, I just couldn’t stop — I was building loads of stuff. I still have my first real project in my portfolio to this day.”

How I got in the door

“After I’d made some projects and I thought my portfolio was okay, I made a CV. I had a good friend who was working at a tech company as well. And I said to him, ‘Do you think I’m ready to start applying for jobs?’ And he said, ‘You won’t know unless you start applying.’ He nicely referred me to the place that he was working at, and that’s how I got my first interview.

I managed to get that job and I haven’t looked back since. It was really cool; just unbelievable. I was gob smacked and astonished. Even though I knew I would [get a job] at some point, I didn’t think it would be so quick.”

Not sure if you’re ready to start applying for jobs?

Here are a few signs that you’re prepared to submit your application and take the next step towards a technical career.

How I evaluated the offer

“As a full-time musician, you have an interesting lifestyle where you can do whatever you want whenever you want really. If you choose to not work hard as a full-time musician, then you won’t be financially stable. Coding allows me to have loads of freedom to be financially stable and do nice things with friends and family.

Working from home is one of the best things; for me, work-life balance is much better working remotely. If I need to go out in the daytime and run an errand or something, then it doesn’t matter. I can catch up with work after I finish — I don’t have to travel two hours to get home from the office. I can work whenever I want. It’s great.”

How day one and beyond went

“My new job is at a telecommunications company, and I’ve gone from being an entry-level Software Engineer to now a full Junior Software Engineer. I’ll get the opportunity to help the entry-level people, grow more, and learn from new people. I’ve gone from a massive company to a much smaller company, so I’m really hoping to get even more say on what we do, why we do it, and be able to voice my opinions. Most importantly, I’ll get to build really cool stuff — that’s going to be wicked.

I don’t get as much time to use Codecademy as I’d like anymore. But I’m definitely looking to learn some system level languages soon. I’d like to go deeper on C++ and C#.”

Want to move up or get promoted?

Read these attributes that make you a promotable Software Engineer.

What I wish I knew before I started learning

“I spent a lot of time to begin with on YouTube, and that was a problem because I didn’t really know what I was looking for. I wish I hadn’t wasted time on YouTube and bootcamps trying to get knowledge, but not getting anything consistent or knowing what I was looking for.

With Codecademy, everything’s structured and progresses really gently; there wasn’t any massive jump where you need to suddenly know loads of stuff. It’s very gradual. Everything you need to know for a project that you build, they’ll teach you about beforehand, which is essential. One of the best things as well is the group projects. There’s a big community on there and you can talk to other people that are in the same position as you and build something together.

That’s hard to find in real life, but [collaboration] is what a lot of real jobs require. You’re never making something on your own in a real job. Coding is not a one-man experience, it’s a team sport for sure.”

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.