National Coding Week Interview With Our Scions

Netmatters Ltd
Posted by Netmatters Ltd
19th September 2019

National Coding Week, Interview With Our Scions

National Coding Week

With this week being National Coding Week, we decided what better way to celebrate this than to put together some fact files on some of our employees who have graduated through the scion programme. 

We have asked some questions to 3 graduates of the scion scheme, Samuel Hopkinson, Amanda Sharp & Henry Hardwell. This gives some insight as to how students feel about the course from a first hand perspective. 

When did you discover your passion for coding and web development?

Samuel: "Like most great ideas, it came from the TV. When I was a kid, software developers were depicted as either hackers or introverted oddballs with questionable hygiene. But new shows like Mr Robot, Halt & Catch Fire and Silicon Valley made them seem like rockstars. 

Learning to code was completely different to school or university. It's often the case in education that people study for the vague promise of reward at the end. But with coding, you can learn something and then immediately use it. Being able to absorb and use skills like this is addictive - and way more fun than anything I've studied at before."

Amanda: "My dad is an engineer, so my passion for technology grew through him. One time he explained to me how the internet worked and it blew my mind! I also have a creative imagination, I am always striving on ways to innovate and improve both design and usability in things we use and this put fire in my belly and I realised I could not be bound to be just a user but also a creator."

Henry: "I have always had a big interest in technology and designing things growing up. With a family all in health care it was difficult to break the mould and follow a passion for technology. After building a PC and looking at online materials as well as watching tech shows like Mr robot the passion for web development grew and has continued to grow ever since."

What makes you the most excited about coding?

Samuel: "The challenge to build something that's better than the thing you last built. The constant drive to improve your abilities."

Amanda: "That it challenges you daily and that you’re always learning. You can literally create ANYTHING at your fingertips, especially with a little bit of help from Google! The final product outweighs the stumbling blocks along the way as good design is always admirable and very appreciated."

Henry: "The drive to make the next project better than the previous, learning from your mistakes that were made and how to improve these for the next time. Finding new and innovative ways to deal with issues and incorporating these into a project."

How would you explain your latest project to a 5 year old?

Samuel: "I'm making a pet food website look pretty. It's more interesting than it sounds!"

Amanda: "Databases are like boxes that hold lots of things and you can put whatever you like inside your box and take whatever you like out of it. And each thing has words to describe it so you remember – like your toy monkey, he is blue and he is a monkey, he likes bananas. So say you want to know what your monkey likes to eat because you forgot, what do you do? You reach into your box, find your blue monkey and then ask him what he likes to eat, that is called a query. From my box the man wants to know what colour paint to use on his building."

Henry: "I am making a site for a flooring company and making it look like this image here of the site and adding flashy things to it."

How many cups of coffee or energy drinks does it take you to get through a normal coding day?

Samuel: "Usually a coffee to get my wheels turning in the morning and then two cups of tea to see me through the afternoon."

Amanda: "More like cups of tea or green tea to name a few, coding can be thirsty work so I mainly drink lots of water and maybe the odd can of pop."

Henry: "Contrary to stereotype I am one of the few that doesn't drink either, I instead drink a lot of mango based drinks and Pepsi."

What advice would you give yourself when you first started your development journey?

Samuel: "Don't try to understand everything all at once. Keep working at it and you'll improve without even realising it. Celebrate when you're proud of an achievement, and don't panic when a problem seems unsolvable. You'll figure it out."

Amanda: "Do not try to rush, go at your own pace being aware of time may scare you but right now it takes as long as it takes. It’s like riding a bike you’ll get frustrated sometimes but that is all part of the learning. Don’t be hard on yourself, you will eventually get it and wonder what you were worried about."

Henry: "It won't all make sense straight away, don't beat yourself up if you don't understand things straight away and go at your own pace, don't rush things. Celebrate victories, however small they may be to begin with. There will be times when you panic that something doesn't work and think you don't have the ability to do it. Don't be scared to ask for help!"

What advice would you give someone looking to get into web development?

Samuel: "I'd recommend the Scion Scheme! But if you're not lucky enough to live in Norfolk, I'd say keep an eye out for apprenticeships in your area. In the meantime, check out youtube. There's a lot of free course materials and some of them are just as good as the paid content available from coding schools. As with anything, practice and an interest in learning are key to success."

Amanda: "Be prepared to speak another language, haha. Patience is primarily key, it is not for the faint hearted. It is very easy to get disheartened, however It doesn’t matter what you did before, or where you come from anyone can become a developer. YouTube is a great place to start for some inspiration and motivation, if you can endure countless hours of videos on coding and at least take something out of it, you’re already half way there."

Henry: "Obviously if you live in the Norfolk area I would recommend the Scion Scheme. I wouldn't be where I am now without the course! Aside from that there are a plethora of online resources out there to help teach you where to start (YouTube, Treehouse etc)."

What do you enjoy most about working at Netmatters?

Samuel: "I enjoy the pace - in the short time I have worked here, I have learned an enormous amount. The experience so far has vindicated the effort I made to get here. I can't wait to see where I'm at after a year."

Amanda: "The team atmosphere first and foremost, I always feel supported by my colleagues and team leaders, they have regular meetings where you get to air any concerns you might have and in my experience have been listened to and actioned right away.  They always make time to celebrate success, there are different departments so they encourage everyone to integrate and often throw after work activities which are always a lot of fun and often they supply us with yummy food."

Henry: "The team environment makes working so much more enjoyable. If I ever get stuck on anything there is someone around that can help no matter how big or small the issue and they won't judge you or think it a trivial question. As well as this I have learnt a vast amount since I graduated from the scion scheme, more than I expected."

Any final motivation for upcoming developers?

Samuel: "This is a growing industry, with opportunities to build almost anything. Don't be afraid of picking the 'wrong' language to learn, or getting pigeon-holed into one aspect of development. Once you've picked up a language, the next one will come easier. And the one after that, too."

Amanda: "If you’re hungry to code and it is definitely something you’re considering I would highly recommend the Scion Scheme as the perfect stepping stone, you get to meet people in a similar situation and together you get to accomplish great things and you will go far if you’re up for the challenge.

Do some research, download a good text editor, open up a browser and code away. A project I enjoyed at Netmatters was when we made 2D animals, it was crazy the creations people made and it makes coding enjoyable when you can go ahead and make what you want. "

Henry: "With how fast the industry is growing there will be so many new and exciting opportunities out there. Find a language that you enjoy, whether it be focused on the backend of a site or front end. Once you have learnt one it becomes easier to learn others as you'll notice similarities between them."

This is a small snippet of the experience of one developer who graduated through the scion coalition scheme. It is fantastic to hear some positive feedback about the scheme, especially from one of our own graduates. 

If you would be interested in joining the scheme, either as a student or as a sponsor, call us today on 01603 515007, or fill out the enquiry form below. We look forward to hearing from you.