Ireland is becoming a base for technology and skills. Code Institute, Dublin, recently interviewed one of their coding Bootcamp grads, Andres Correa, to discuss his career change journey from patissier to programmer.

When Andres was in Venezuela, he had his own business, but the schedule was grueling. After seeing an advertisement for Code Institute online, Andres attended an in-person class, discussed loan options as well as scholarship options, and dove in head first. His day-to-day is still challenging, but he gets to make some pretty amazing things.

His story will resonate with a people who are interested in changing careers to tech but are afraid that their background or lack of knowledge will hold them back.

Your educational background is in hospitality. What ignited the switch to Full Stack?
I am a patissier by trade. Never had any kind of real studies beyond a 1 year Fine International Cuisine course I did in 2006 where I learned basic cooking techniques mostly. Back in Venezuela we had our own little business from 2010 or so. I made pastries in our house (decked out with industrial oven, and baking equipment), pretty much all day long. My wife did deliveries to restaurants, food stalls and cafes around the city, and ran the numbers.
Now as for the question itself.
Being completely honest, money and time schedules. Working in hospitality means working weekends, national holidays, Christmas time, new year’s eve,  etc. Basically my only guaranteed days off were Dec 25th and Jan 1st.

How did you decide to attend Code Institute? What made it the right program for you?
My wife saw an ad for Code Institute on Facebook and mentioned it to me. The ad was for one of their open evenings, and so I signed up, not really knowing what it was all about. Was it a part-time course? Was it a new college?
Turns out it’s pretty good, and they’re all about helping improve the students.

You currently work as a Full Stack Developer at Impedans Ltd. What does this title mean and what does a normal day at work look like for you?
My job at Impedans Ltd. is very challenging. I am designing a new system from the ground up, a lot of which is custom made. I use a few libraries here and there, but it’s mostly done by me now. There’s also a lot of googling. A lot, but I’m lucky that this particular job covers every single thing we studied at Code Institute.

Have you faced any challenges trying to become a Full Stack Developer?
Trying to cram as much information as possible into my stubborn head is very difficult. Trying to understand documentation, when most of it assumes you know what you are doing.

Finding dummy-proof documentation is about as rare as finding an albino unicorn. Learning, basically, is my everyday challenge, but one I tackle head-on eagerly. Learning how to learn is one of the most important takeaways from the course.

Has Code Institute helped you to get a job in your field? If so, how?
They helped me massively. There is actually a section of the course devoted specifically to this.

We had mock interviews with real recruiters from a reputable agency. We had a CV workshop and of course, had our project portfolio polished.

Tiffany Snell, the student liaison put me in touch with people from Accenture and Actavo (where I got my first job, I’m on my second job now). I got calls back from both and thanks to Tiffany I got my first job 17 days out of the course.

What makes you most passionate about the world of Full Stack Development and coding?
The fact that I can make things that do cool stuff. It sounds silly, but when I make a little Python script and it works after a few tries, that little “Ah-ha!” moment is addictive. I think of the challenges I have to solve as puzzles, except I design the pieces myself with logic, and then I have to figure out how to put them together.

If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice before pursuing this track, what would it be?
Go back how far? 1996? Pay attention in maths class! 2001? Don’t quit college. Four years ago? Forget hospitality, start computer science! 1.5 years ago? Don’t doubt Code Institute, sign up right now! It’ll change your life and you’ll be as happy as you’ve ever been, plus you’ll make great friends along the way.

This interview was conducted by Erica Freedman, Content Specialist at SwitchUp, with Code Institute graduate Andres Correa.

Want to learn more about coding? Why not try Code Institute’s Free 5 Day Coding Challenge.

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