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#1 Sammy_UK  Icon User is offline

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Testing to Devleopment?

Posted 29 October 2017 - 08:47 AM

"Hello, World!"

I'm hoping to get some advice from some of the lovely people here. I've spent several years going around in circles in terms of careers and I'm a bit lost. I fell into accounting work after school (purely to pay the bills) and although I used to build and fix computers as a side hussle in school, I didn't have much involvement in IT outside of DIY systems admin or basic SQL database tasks at work. Then in the 2008 crash I lost my job in finance and landed a systems admin role in a bank (again, purely by accident). I absolutely LOVED working with computers all day long and started getting thrown basic 'code monkey' work (I think that's the right term) fixing bits of HTML or VBA code in the old systems they used and picking things up as I went. It was only very basic stuff and I was having to constantly google things, but I really enjoyed it while it lasted.

However, when I tried applying for a full time junior dev role in the office, I was told I would need to go back to university and study another degree in IT or similar (I already have a philosophy degree that I'm paying off) and there's no way I could afford that. As a consolation, I was given a junior test analyst contract, which still allowed me to do a tiny bit of coding work writing the occasional automation scripts but was mostly just writing plans or surface level (non API) testing. After that, I did the ISTQB qualification and landed another junior test analyst role at another company, but was let go along with half the dev team due to outsourcing a few months later. Since then, I've been trying and failing to find another test analyst role. But they all seem to want years of experience, an IT degree and/or developer level coding skills (usually all three). Many of them even specify previous experience as a developer, so there seems to be a trend for devs moving into testing these days.

So... I figured since I enjoyed the coding side of testing so much, why not just retrain as a proper developer so I can work on code all day long? I know I'm late to the game at 33, so I'm not expecting to ever earn tons of money. But at least I'll have more chance at finding work than I do currently and I'll be able to pay the bills doing something I enjoy. I can't afford another degree, but I know there are much shorter/cheaper industry qualifications out there that I can take to build up my skills. My problem is trying to work out exactly which qualifications/skills/lanaguages I should do? There is an overwhelming amount of developer courses and just as many opinions on where to begin retraining. I've already had some basic experience with HTML, SQL and javascript, as well as VBA for Excel, so I'd feel more confident about studying any of those to a more advanced level. I've seen javascript requested a few times on job ads, but I'm not sure if that is a good place to start or not? Are there 'core' languages that I would be expected to know as a junior developer? From my experience testing, I think I'd prefer to focus on front end development, since I already have some rudimentary understanding of how it's all put together. So that narrows it down a bit. But other than that, I really have no idea where to start? I guess I'm panicking a bit, as I feel as though I'm getting old and really want to get onto the career ladder properly. Any advice (other than calm the hell down)!?

Thank you in advance! I'm sure you get asked similar questions all the time, but I wasn't sure if my testing experience would make any difference.

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Replies To: Testing to Devleopment?

#2 Sammy_UK  Icon User is offline

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Re: Testing to Devleopment?

Posted 29 October 2017 - 09:18 AM

As an example, is the below course any use as an introduction to software dev? Has anyone else taken this one as a newbie to dev - if so, what was your experience with it? My last employer are willing to give me a bit of funding towards it, so it seems like a good starting point to gain confidence and get something down on my CV. I think lack of confidence is my biggest hurdle right now, as I'm jumping into the dark.

MTA Software Development Fundamentals: https://www.reed.co....cial-exam/30504
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#3 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: Testing to Devleopment?

Posted 29 October 2017 - 09:32 AM

Ok quick points...

1) A degree is not the be all to end all of getting a job as a software developer of any kind. Some jobs require it, but let's just say that if you can prove that you can do the job, most companies don't care.

2) Given point one above, show you can do the job! That means build yourself a portfolio site. Build a website to sell yourself, make it as fancy as you can, show various skills from database to front end work to specific technologies. Also take some free gigs to redesign local company websites. Put them on your portfolio and talk about what you did for them. Then you have something to show other employers.

3) You are never too old to be a dev or start developing. There are much older people developing out there and some have started much later than you.

4) Decide what type of dev work you like doing. This will tell you which skills to pick up. You said you like front end work, this means you should specialize in HTML5, CSS3, Javascript and related libraries frameworks (jQuery, React would be good, Angular too is nice to have) and one server-side language which I recommend PHP or Ruby. If you wanted to do desktop then I suggest Python, Java or if you wanted to go really hardcore C++.

5) Change your mind, change your career. Sounds like you are putting a lot of barriers in your own way. Age and degree mean nothing really. Some of the best tech heads are college drop outs. Find what people need, build a solution, show what you can do and be willing to grab some non paid work if it means one step closer to your goal.

6) Don't focus so much on big lengthy courses. Maybe consider a smaller bootcamp. One great place to start would be freecodecamp! https://www.freecodecamp.org/

7) lastly, don't be afraid to ask questions of other devs. Everyone started out as a newbie and experts are more than willing to give advice. Ask questions and never stop learning!

:)
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#4 Sammy_UK  Icon User is offline

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Re: Testing to Devleopment?

Posted 29 October 2017 - 11:11 AM

Thank you for both the info and the encouragement! That's really good to hear. I think I've just had so many redundancies/job rejections over the years that I underestimate myself and think I'll fail before I even start. It's good to know getting into development it isn't as impossible as my brain tells me! :balloon:

I actually have a newly qualified electrician friend who wants a cheap/free website, so that would be a good project to get started on and help him out too.

"HTML5, CSS3, Javascript and related libraries frameworks (jQuery, React would be good, Angular too is nice to have) and one server-side language which I recommend PHP or Ruby."

I thought there would be a LOT more than that as a starting point, so that is very reassuring! I've used most of these in data and testing work, so React and Ruby would be the only completely new ones for me. I will definitely have a look at FreeCodeCamp. I'd had a look at that one previously, but there were so many similar courses that I wasn't sure which were a good use of time. I'll go and sign up to that now!

Thank you again for your advice. It's much appreciated!
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#5 andrewsw  Icon User is offline

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Re: Testing to Devleopment?

Posted 29 October 2017 - 01:10 PM

Topic moved to Corner Cubicle, the Introduce Yourself section is not for questions.
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#6 snoopy11  Icon User is offline

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Re: Testing to Devleopment?

Posted 29 October 2017 - 01:29 PM

Really Good answer Martyr2,

You're more than a Programming Theoretician though, your a thoroughly decent human being too...
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