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Hi Lucia, Hi Ross, How’s life after the academy?

Lucia: Things are great! After leaving Mayden I joined a company called Rocketmakers, who specialise in software development for startup companies. I’m now successfully working with a small team in an entirely different tech stack to the one I originally trained in. I recently gave a talk on my journey to becoming a developer and my experience as a Mayden Academy student, which really boosted my confidence. I’m on my way to becoming my team’s first scrum master, and I hope to give more talks as my experience grows.

Ross: After leaving the academy, I worked as a developer on Mayden’s flagship product – iaptus. More recently, I became a member of the Systems Operations team, supporting Mayden’s developers and application/server infrastructures.

Holding a couple of different positions here at Mayden has really deepened my understanding of the company. I hope to keep working with Mayden, and to keep incorporating software development into my role.

Lucia: Interestingly, each of us came out with a different idea of which area of software development we’d like to work in and where we wanted to go. Some lean towards fullstack, others front-end or back-end, and others a completely different area of expertise.

What’s the most valuable thing you learnt at the Academy?
Lucia:
When it comes to your first big project, or perhaps your first technical interview, you’ll be nervous of course. But the truth is you’ve been taught many technical skills, and have been given the tools to pick up new ones and learn new technologies with ease.

Ross: For a team to work well, have a good output and atmosphere, everyone needs to have an input. If even one team member doesn’t feel enthused by the work, or doesn’t make an effort to help their team members, then the whole team suffers. Conversely, putting real effort in can help engage other team members who are struggling.

At the academy we worked closely as a team, each assuming a variety of roles, and working to a range of specifications. That was invaluable practice for the situations you face each day as a professional developer.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve discovered about working as a developer after leaving the Academy?
Ross:
Understanding that perfect code doesn’t exist in the outside world. It’s tempting to feel that everything should be refactored; but as the old adage says “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” As strong as your urge will be to improve code for the sake of workability, rewriting code should only happen if there is a business case for doing so.

Is there anything that you’ve learnt since leaving the academy that you wish you had known before?
Ross:
At the beginning of the your time at the academy, you’ll feel as though you know very little. You’ll continue to feel like that, even after you graduate. Forever, in fact. Graduation from the academy is just the start. To be a good developer, you need to manage your own learning for the rest of your career, and ask for help as often as you help others.

Lucia: Yes, whatever area you choose to work in, you’ll need to make a concerted effort to keep training throughout your career. And it’s a good idea to let your colleagues know your ambitions – they might throw particular projects your way to help you gain more experience in that area.

Ross: Keep going even if you’re struggling, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from others. Mayden Academy provides a great foundation, but the future of your career depends on you, and what you put in.

Was it worth it?
Lucia:
Absolutely. Because the course is so intensive, you have far more experience than someone else who has been coding for the same length of time. That’s a real asset and something you can sell at interview.

Software development teams are some of the friendliest working environments. Your job prospects are varied – there are some great positions out there. The salaries available are generous and it’s possible to advance very quickly.