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Academy Xi Blog

Student Spotlight: Monica Graham

By Academy Xi

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Following a lifelong urge to go deeper with tech, Monica’s Front-End Web Development skills prove it’s never too late to learn something new.

Throughout a career in nursing and aged care, Monica worked with tech whenever the chance arose. Find out how the Front-End Web Development course helped level-up her tech capabilities and prove that age is no factor when it comes to developing new skills.  

Can you tell us about your career before you started with Academy Xi?

I registered as a general nurse back in 1984 and worked for a long time across different areas of nursing. By 2012 I was a general manager in aged care and running seven teams. I was the subject matter expert for lots of the programs and delivered the training when we added new applications to our systems.

Prior to 2012, I did a stint of about eight years in Canada. While I was in Canada I also started studying web design. It was the old style of web design and didn’t involve coding. Instead, you were given a page and you added features. It was fun, but it wasn’t really what I wanted to do. I was working as a nurse as well as raising children, and balancing it all became impossible, so I stopped the course.

After my General Manager role, I worked as a contractor to implement a Home Care program for an Aged Care Provider. That included implementing an application called Procura which is used to onboard clients. I realised how much I enjoyed that portion of the role and wanted to learn more.

More recently I started working with Cancer Council WA. I needed to backpedal a bit and get some sanity back in my life. I’ve been a support coordinator for three years and it’s part-time, which I’m loving.

I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try and do something with my passion for IT. The Academy Xi Front-End Web Development course was the first program I found that I thought I could achieve without having to do extended months of training.

How did you become interested in front-end web development?

I’ve been interested in IT for a long time now, although I never got into it when I was younger. My dad brought back one of the first home computers in the days when colleges had those massive hard drives. It had MS-DOS and all we could do as kids was play tennis! That was my first foray into computing, but I didn’t do much past that because it wasn’t really used in schools back then.

As soon as I started looking into web design with my work, it completely captured me. I loved feeling like I was doing something that had an end product. I guess that’s why I made sure I was front and centre with the new applications at work; I enjoyed being part of an outcome that was user friendly. With front-end web development, I can work in the background and present to a consumer what I want them to see and have it be super functional. It’s a satisfying process.

If you picked one highlight from the course, what would it be?

Honestly, I loved every minute of it, so it’s hard to narrow it down to one aspect. But if I had to pick, I’d say the first project, when suddenly all my coding actually did something.

I also got super excited when we were completing the second project and I managed to get everything working properly. I showed my son-in-law all my coding and he couldn’t believe how intricate it was. It felt like a real achievement.

Can you tell us more about the projects you worked on?

The first project involved building a responsive website that worked on a standard computer as well as smartphone. My website was based on an online baking business that I’m in the process of setting up.

The second project involved producing an interactive wedding invitation. As you’re typing your coding on one side of the page, the wording pops up on the other side.

At the time of the second project my daughter had her newborn, so I was trying to help her with that while working three days a week and studying. It got a little stressful, but the achievement of getting everything done was awesome.

How did you find working with your coursemates and mentor?

My mentor Kruti was really receptive and easy to chat to. She put time into everybody and gave us all the support we needed. After the live sessions, if anybody was struggling with anything, she would stay behind and talk to whoever was left.

As well as our mentor, we picked things up from each other. Everyone was really good at sharing links and resources in the course Slack channel. If anyone had a question, they could drop it in there and they’d get lots of input from people in the class.

I was one of the oldest on the course, but I never felt my age in the group sessions, even though on the screen I looked older. Everybody treated one another the same. I think the mentor really set the tone - she was so patient and forgiving of any mistakes. It created a safe environment and made learning a whole lot easier.

Monica Graham

What was it like studying a tech course later in life?

For me, it was handy to have had previous experience working with different applications. Plus, I’d spent a number of years working in areas where consumer interface is extremely important. Having an appreciation for the user definitely helped.

Honestly, I felt like my age had no impact on how I engaged with the course. It was different to anything I’d ever done, and lots of people – young and old – were in the same boat.

I had all sorts of doubts that I was not going to be able to do the course, but so did everybody else in the group. Some people had more time to work on it, so they improved in leaps and bounds, but everyone still got to that same point. In the end, we all graduated together.

Monica Graham

Why do you think it’s important to break down the age barrier in tech?

It’s important because a lot of older people probably feel like they’ve done their time. They might believe that it’s going to be too hard to learn, or that the young people are just going to think they’re too old and too slow to pick up the skills. Throughout the course, nobody ever made me feel like that.

What I did find is that in the areas where I lacked confidence and thought “I just can’t get this”, as soon as I put it out there, everyone else was saying “I’ve been finding that tough too!”. Lots of people were struggling with exactly the same things, and age had nothing to do with it. Just because people are young doesn’t mean that they have any more prior knowledge.

Are you keen to get into the tech industry?

I love my job and what I give to people as a cancer support coordinator, but I also love working with the computer. While I was completing the course I’d be eating dinner or sitting on the couch and doing research. I’m so content doing that. Maybe further down the track I’ll want a new challenge in my career. I know I’d enjoy working in tech, but maybe my husband wouldn’t appreciate it – he’d probably get way less attention!

Do you have any plans to do more tech training?

When I first looked at Academy Xi I was considering doing the Software Development course and learning to work with the front and back-end. I’m working and running a little farm, so if I did do that I’d have to make sure I’ve got the right amount of time to devote.

I’m satisfied that I can do what I need to do for now. I have a solid basis of skills, which means I can add to what I’m able to do by myself. Further down the track I might choose to do a bit more training – I’ve still got plenty of years left for that.

How’s the online bakery business coming along?

We moved into an old farmhouse and the oven broke down before Christmas. We’ve decided to replace the oven and upgrade the whole kitchen at the same time, which will really help with the business. Hopefully everything will be up and running by the end of June.

As for the website, it’s still taking shape. My niece does branding and marketing and she’s building a brand for me. We’re part way through that process, but once I get the branding I can get really in depth with the website. I’m looking forward to making sure everything works perfectly.

Is there any advice that you’d give to someone interested in studying front-end web development?

I’d say “go for it”. It’s a fantastic course that’s so well run and you’ll get so much out of it. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, if it’s something that you’re interested in, just do it. You’ll never know if you can do something until you try.

I would say it’s important to make sure you’ve got the time. If you want to maximise on the course, you’ll need to do your own research and put in a good amount of practice.

Even if you find that a web development career isn’t exactly where you want to be, you’ll still come away with a new skill-set that the average Joe doesn’t have, and it can be used across so many different job types.

I’m so glad I chose to do the course, because I came away with exactly what I wanted. For me, it was all about finally doing something that I’ve always wanted to do. I feel like I’ve proven that it’s never too late to learn something new.

If you want to boost your career and enhance your tech capabilities, Academy Xi Front-End Web Development courses give you all the practical skills needed to write and maintain code for user-friendly, functional and easy-on-the-eye websites.

Academy Xi Blog

Going solo: A guide to freelancing

By Academy Xi

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Are you new to the world of freelancing? This blog will explain what freelance work is, its perks, and five freelance professions that allow you to reap the benefits of going solo.

Freedom – that glorious ability to do what you want, when you want, without too many external restrictions. In so many words, that’s what freelancing is all about.

Yet many of us live with the opposite – trapped in an office, confined to a desk, watching the clock hands slowly grind to 5:00pm. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

What is freelancing?

Freelancing is a form of self-employment, which entails delivering services on a per-job or per-task basis. Rather than being permanently employed by a single company, freelancing allows you to work for yourself and complete projects for a number of different businesses and clients.

In recent years, tech innovations and the improvement of remote work systems have broken down traditional employment structures. Businesses of every kind are now paying for the services of freelancers.

Far from being an employment niche, the stats indicate that freelancing is the future:

  • There are now 3.15 million freelancers in Australia (28% of the national workforce).
  • The freelance employment market is currently growing three times faster than the employment market as a whole.
There are approximately 1.1 billion freelancers in the world. This means around 31.4% of the world’s total workforce is freelance, and this number is expected to grow significantly in 2022 (Source: Thrivemyway)

How do businesses benefit from freelancers?

By supplementing core staff with freelancers, companies are able to:

  • Access a larger and more diverse talent pool than a permanent workforce offers.
  • Get the specialist skills they need just-in-time and complete projects with increased agility.
  • Spend more efficiently by accessing talent exactly when they need it.

What are the benefits of freelance work?

There are a number of benefits that come with striking it out alone as a freelancer. Some of the biggest perks include:

  • Choosing your clients
    As a freelancer you’ll have the unique ability to select the clients you work with. You might pick clients based on their brand image or stellar reputation, or because of a personal affinity with delivering a particular product or service.

  • Managing your workload
    Freelancing means you can manage your own workload and work as much or as little as you like. If you want to work full-time most of the year and only part-time during the summer months, you’ll have the flexibility to make that lifestyle a reality.

  • Following your passions
    Freelancing allows you to focus on the work you love without the distractions that come with a permanent contract (no more long commutes, office politics or meetings that hardly relate to what you do).

  • Working independently
    Freelancing means you’ll have the ability to work alone for long stretches of time (if you’re a people person, there’s always the opportunity to collaborate). Because freelancing is often remote, you can work anywhere wifi-connected.

  • Diversify your exposure
    Freelancing enables you to work on projects and with clients in a variety of industries, enabling you to broaden your horizons, diversify your professional exposure and build a unique CV.

What responsibilities come with being a freelancer?

As well as acknowledging the perks of freelancing, it’s important to understand the extra responsibilities.

As someone who’s self-employed, you’ll be responsible for:

  • Calculating and paying your own taxes. 
  • Funding your health insurance, pension and other personal contributions. 
  • Covering the lost income of holidays or being sick (it’s wise to put a little extra money aside, which will also support you when work proves hard to find).
Freelancer earnings statistics suggest there will be more freelancers in the tech domain soon (Source: Forbes)

Getting started as a freelancer is relatively simple. Essentially, a specialist skill-set + wifi = freelance capabilities. However, once your freelance operation is up and running, there are a few steps you’ll need to take to set yourself apart from the competition.  

You’ll need to build a professional portfolio that showcases your certifications, skills and examples of past work. Prospective clients will use your portfolio to assess the quality of your services and your suitability for a particular project. 

You’ll also need to create a brand and strategically build skills, work experience, a strong network and an online presence that helps you target a need among potential clients. 

If you want a steady supply of work, you’ll need to seek it out. There are a variety of portals that freelancers use to find work, including Upwork and Fiverr, which act as job marketplaces connecting businesses with specialists who are suitably skilled. 

There’s a wide range of specialist services that clients are searching for these days. To give you some food for thought, here are a five of the more popular options:

Freelance Digital Marketer

The internet and social media are crowded places where companies are striving to be seen and heard. A freelance digital marketer uses online platforms and digital tools to promote products and improve sales for their clients. Freelance digital marketers use various channels, including: 

  • Website content
  • Email
  • Social media marketing
  • Search engine marketing
  • Display advertising

Your goal as a freelance digital marketer is to help a company expand its brand awareness, increase conversions and ultimately grow as a business. All of this requires a razor-sharp strategic mindset. 

You’ll also need to be finance and budget savvy, data-driven, analytical, and a strong leader. Marketing is definitely a field where who you know is as important as what you know – so be prepared to network. 

To give yourself a headstart in a competitive industry, it’s wise to get a formal certification, as well as a portfolio demonstrating your real-world marketing experience. Academy Xi Digital Marketing courses give you all this and more, helping you develop the tactics and techniques needed to manage a digital marketing campaign from end-to-end.

Freelance Social Media Manager

With over 58% of the world’s population actively using social media, freelance social media managers plan, execute, filter and monitor the social media presence of a product, company or influential person. Some of the services this entails include:

  • Planning social media strategies
  • Creating content calendars and scheduling posts
  • Content creation – including photography, video and design
  • Copywriting – posts need to be short, snappy and attention grabbing
  • Community management – engaging with followers, answering DMs and replying to comments
  • Forecasting, analytics and reporting

Many social media managers have a formal certification. To be competitive, you might choose to get one too. Formal training will give you the practical skills and know-how needed to plan and execute an entire social media strategy.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, freelance hourly rates remained stable and as many as 17 percent of freelancers actually saw their business increase (Source: Payoneer)

Freelance Web Developer

Every business needs a website these days, and good freelance web developers are in high demand. Freelance web developers design and build websites using coding and software design tools. You’ll liaise with clients and normally receive a creative brief outlining the project’s content and style.

Establishing a web development specialisation will give you an advanced skill-set that clients are searching for. There are several areas you can specialise in as a web developer, these include: 

  • Back-end development – using code to communicate between an application, server and database.
  • Front-end development – turning that code into a visual website that users interact with. 
  • User experience – making the website intuitive and user-friendly.   
  • User interface – designing the look and style of a website. 

Most clients will require you to be able to use HTML, CSS and JavaScript at a minimum. As websites are rarely built in vacuums, web developers who possess an understanding of UI Design and SEO will find their services highly regarded. 

Academy Xi Front-End Web Development courses give you hands-on experience writing and maintaining user-facing code for user-friendly, responsive and easy-on-the-eye websites.

Freelance Graphic Designer

Freelance graphic designers work with clients to produce branded logos, illustrations and other visual collateral. As well as being highly creative, graphic designers are excellent problem solvers, using their designs to convey a brand’s identity and build an emotional connection with a target market. 

Graphic designers work with text and images, delivering designs for a variety of media, including:

  • Websites and apps
  • Social media
  • Print – magazines, pamphlets and brochures

By using computer applications and software, you’ll develop sketches and layouts that bring your ideas to life. A client might need to see a rough draft of any concepts you generate, so editing and revisions are a big part of the job.

Industry-standard graphic design software includes the Adobe suite – InDesign, Photoshop and/ or Illustrator, all of which you’ll likely need to be fluent in. As the field of digital design progresses, you’ll also need to incorporate emerging technologies and software innovations into your practice.

Freelance graphic designers need an attractive portfolio of work, as well as a certification demonstrating those hard-earned skills. Academy Xi Graphic Design courses offer you both, helping you to combine business objectives with creativity and put together a portfolio of eye-catching designs that resolve brand or user challenges.

It is estimated that by 2027 freelancers will constitute over 50% of the total US workforce with a growth rate of around 65% over the next five years (Source: Thrivemyway)

Freelance Writer

Freelance writers offer their services to different clients, working across a variety of platforms and topics.

Unlike writers employed by a single company, who must consistently maintain that company’s brand voice, freelance writers have the freedom to explore their own writing style and preferred subjects. However, it’s possible to find more freelance writing work by being adaptable enough to complete any brief a client assigns.

If you’re keen to go solo as a professional writer, there are a few simple steps to follow:

  • Choose your niche – picking what you want to write about and the platforms your writing will be published on is a crucial first step.
  • Develop specialist skills – there are courses offering formal training in creative writing, copywriting, social media communications and journalism, to name a few.  
  • Set up a website or blog that tells your professional story and houses samples of your best work.
  • Pitch yourself everywhere and regularly check writing job boards.
  • Collect testimonials from your clients – these are your most powerful form of marketing.
  • Stay up-to-date with the hottest topics in your subject areas – the key to keeping your writing relevant is lots of reading.

So there you have it – an introductory guide to becoming a freelancer!

Freelancing offers you the chance to escape that office cubicle and the regimented 9-5 regime. Instead, you can cherry-pick your projects, manage your own workload and personally mastermind a career that you’re truly passionate about.

If you back yourself, develop the right skills and go it alone, who knows where your career will take you? Remember – the best opportunities in life won’t just fall in your lap, you have to get out there and create them.

Need some help in upskilling in any of these in-demand skills? Speak to a course advisor today and take the first step in your journey with a course from Academy Xi!

Academy Xi Blog

5 ways to make the most of your professional development budget

By Academy Xi

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It’s that time again where we are nearing the end of the financial year and for many organisations there is unused learning and development budget tucked away.

This isn’t simply a case of ‘use it or lose it’, but a golden opportunity to seriously consider where your workforce can truly benefit from upskilling and personal development training.

There’s also the reality that the ‘great resignation’ has hit Australian shores. Perceived to be spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, rates of people quitting their jobs in the U.S hit a 20-year high at the end of 2021, with a lack of opportunities for advancement being stated as one of the main reasons for leaving roles. On local turf, recent findings from PwC Australia show that 38 percent of employees want to find a new job in the next year.

With all of this in mind, how can you meaningfully make the most of professional development budgets in the current climate? 

We’ve rounded up the following five ways to consider.

  1. Reflect on where you and your people want to go
  2. Select an in-demand skill
  3. Choose hands-on training
  4. Gain insights from mentors and managers
  5. Find training that serves professionally and personally

#1: Reflect on where you and your people want to go

For individuals, it’s important to consider which direction you see yourself moving in professionally. Take the time to clarify your short- and long-term goals in your current job, or the role you are aiming for in the future. Are there any skills that you need to learn to meet these goals, or at least work towards them? This process of reflection can help you to identify areas for further research.

For individuals and teams, digital skill gaps are always worth addressing and can help to future proof any role. There are upskilling courses for teams and individual employee development opportunities on the market, depending on the skills needed.

#2: Select an in-demand skill

Understanding the current skills that are in-demand in your industry can be a great way of identifying which areas you might like to focus on for your professional development training. Be open to the idea that a skillset worth gaining might not be something you have considered before. Digital skills, for instance, are in great demand across all industries and not only needed by I.T professionals. If you can harness the power of using company data effectively and learn how to visualise it, you will be an asset to any organisation. For those in learning and development management, empowering your people with data skills is one of the most strategic training decisions you can make right now.

#3: Choose hands-on training

Wherever possible, you want to invest your time and budget in training that gives you practical opportunities to practice your newfound skills as you are learning. This experiential approach will enable you to better retain new information and apply what you learn much more efficiently and effectively in your workplace environment. Better still, try to find training that supports you to use real life projects or scenarios from your current position as the basis for your learning.

Effective hands-on training doesn’t need to be face to face either. The last few years have seen a rapid increase in industry leading institutions migrating their offerings online. This enables flexibility for people to fit their training into their existing lifestyles and commitments. The key: search for best-in-class training where student success is prioritised.

#4: Gain insights from mentors and managers

Working with a mentor or manager can be a helpful approach to clarify any skills that could be beneficial for your career growth. Having an outside perspective from someone who is aware of the broader direction of the company or industry can give you insights into which direction to investigate, which can then influence learning and development opportunities.

It is also worth noting any positions within the company that you are interested in and discovering if it is possible for you to be seconded to that department or if some form of mentorship could be established to support you in learning more about that business function.

#5: Find training that serves professionally and personally

Perhaps there is an opportunity for you to upskill in a way that can support business needs and at the same time benefit your own personal interests. Is there a freelance business you would like to establish in addition to your in-house role that could gain traction from a new skill?

The Wrap Up

The importance of upskilling employees is vital to increase retention, motivation, and innovation and to ultimately equip your people for the future needs of the organisation.

Don’t let your own personal professional development budget go to waste, nor the learning and development budget of your teams. The benefits of upskilling for employees are well documented, with digital upskilling courses increasing in importance and popularity as many businesses recognise the digital skills gap within their ranks.

Need support in how to upskill your employees?

At Academy Xi, we understand how complex digital transformation can be. We help people thrive by training and supporting teams with the skills they need to stay ahead with genuine confidence, instead of being left behind. Our learning designers are experienced industry professionals and create customised programs that offer real, long-lasting change for individuals and teams.

Our training is offered at every level of experience, from introductory through to advanced and we ensure that our outcomes are highly practical so your teams can apply their new knowledge as quickly as possible back at HQ.

Don’t let your unused training budget go to waste

We’d love to discuss your organisation strategy for supporting upskilling and professional development. Get in touch with our team today and discover how we can design and deliver training to keep you thriving.

Academy Xi Blog

Student Spotlight: Harold Torres Marino

By Academy Xi

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From a coding beginner to a hired Software Engineer in just 10 months, Harold’s success story proves that passion and commitment really can trump experience.

When Harold started the Software Engineering: Transform course, his only coding experience was a high school science project. Before graduation, he’d been hired as a Software Engineer. Read about Harold’s Academy Xi journey, which took him from novice to professional specialist in less than a year.

Can you tell us about your studies and career before you joined Academy Xi?

I completed a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering back in Colombia in 2012. After graduating, I worked in quality management systems for about five years and helped companies get their ISO 9001 certifications.

I moved to Australia on a student visa wanting to learn English to a professional level. I finished my English language courses and decided to get a qualification in computer science. Back in Colombia I’d always been interested in studying computer science, but those courses were only available in private universities in my local area and were just too expensive.

In Colombia I’d been working for an international company as a freelance maths tutor. After I moved to Australia, I carried on working for the same company and supplemented my income by picking up some extra private tutoring work. At the same time, I was surfing the internet and discovered Australian coding bootcamps.

I checked out all the different courses and came across Academy Xi. I read some comparison reviews and lots of people commented on how much guidance Academy Xi gave their students. That attracted me to Academy Xi. It was a completely new field and I wanted a course that offered lots of support.

How much experience did you have with coding before the course started?

Honestly, almost none! In real terms, I went into the course as a complete beginner. When I was at the end of high school I completed a final science project and made a calculator using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), which involved using some really simple coding skills.

That first interaction with software engineering didn’t give me much experience with coding, but it really caught my attention. That’s the point when I realised I was interested in IT and wanted to learn more about software engineering. It took a few years before I was able to start studying, but when I did the passion was already there.

One of Harold’s ReactJS App projects was a Pokemon matching card game, check it out.

If you picked one highlight of the course, what would it be?

For me, the unlimited one-on-one mentor sessions were one of the stand out features. The advice I received in my conversations with Sha was just as important as the course content. He gave me all kinds of tips based on his professional experience. Sha was really patient, especially at the beginning, because I had a lot of questions. Coding was new and at times I did feel a little bit lost. Those sessions felt like a really safe environment and Sha always explained everything in a very calm, polite and understanding way.

Sha also suggested doing extra research on aspects of software engineering that weren’t covered in the course itself, because he knew I’d need to understand them when I started working. For instance, he recommended understanding how projects are completed by agile teams, which is something I’m now doing regularly. 

Sha didn’t limit the scope of our conversations – we could talk about anything related to a career in software engineering, as well as all the technical details.

I couldn't have found a better mentor. Those one-on-one sessions with Sha were invaluable. Even when it came to applying for jobs and interviews, Sha gave me all the advice I needed. He wasn’t just an instructor, he really was a mentor.

Harold Torres Marino

How did you find learning Software Engineering?

I realised early in the course that if you want to learn how to code, it’s not enough to just read the course material and attend the live classes. Even if you think you’ve understood a skill you’ve been taught in a class, it’s when you actually start programming and building something that you learn.

I completed five projects throughout the course, which is when I really developed my coding skills. I built a platform that had all the latest information for the European soccer leagues, and a web scraping app that took all the ratings on IMDB and generated different ‘greatest ever movies’ lists.

For me, the best project was creating a Pokemon card matching game, which was featured on the Academy Xi website. My final project was a full-stack React and Rails app. It connects different people who want to make new friends based on their common likes. For that final project I applied all the tools and tech stack I learned throughout the course.

After every class we had a live coding lab, which meant I could put what I’d learned into practice straight away. It gave us all the chance to learn by doing, which definitely suited me. The labs, projects and my time with Sha really helped me figure out exactly what it takes to be a software engineer.

How did you find studying online?

My prior experience with online learning was with very short courses, which took about a month to complete. The Academy Xi course was 100% remote and lasted ten months, but the whole process went very smoothly. I felt really comfortable in an online learning environment.

If I had to choose in the future, I’d definitely pick a remote course. There’s a bit of a trade – you lose a little of the interactivity that comes with meeting in a place face-to-face, but you get the convenience of being able to study anywhere without needing to travel.

I was still working as a maths tutor throughout the course, and even took on some extra work as a COVID-19 sanitizer in the city, which kept me pretty busy during the day.

Without the flexibility of learning remotely, I just wouldn’t have been able to complete the certification. For me, studying online was a perfect fit.

Harold Torres Marino

How did you find your new role?

I started applying for positions when we were waiting to start the client project. For two applications, I was narrowed down to the stage of technical interviews.  

When it came to telling the interviewers about my skills, the practical projects were so important. I didn’t have any professional experience before the course, but having a portfolio of work enabled me to say “this is what I can do, and here’s the end product”. 

Sha gave me tips on what was likely to come up in the interviews and told me to talk confidently about things, even if I wasn’t totally sure. There were coding challenges and Sha explained that I didn’t necessarily have to solve them. What’s more important is to actively communicate, tell the interviewers exactly what you’re doing and demonstrate good soft skills. 

I also had ‘take home’ coding challenges, which took me anything from a day to four days to complete. They let me choose my own stack and I picked React for the front-end and Ruby on Rails for the back-end, which I’d specialised in throughout the course.

When the interview processes were completed, before I’d even graduated I had two job offers. Both offers were made in the space of two hours! That really helped when it came to negotiating my salary.

Harold Torres Marino

Honestly, it did feel like I was in the right place at the right time, but I also made my own luck. I turned down an offer from a tech start-up and accepted my role with Lexicon.

What are you doing with Lexicon?

Lexicon is a scale-up with about 150 employees and I’m currently part of their new website cross-functional team. It’s an exciting time to join the company – they earned an award in LinkedIn’s top 25 start-ups 2021. The interview process took about ten days and gave me a good sense of the company culture. I met the founder and engineering manager and they explained the vision and long-term goals and I immediately liked the vibe. Throughout the interviews, it was the role I had my heart set on. 

I feel very lucky to be doing what I am. It’s given me the chance to work in agile teams, and I love the fast pace of the projects. Being a full-time software engineer is really satisfying. I’m the kind of person that loves to solve a problem. When you’re programming, you fix something, and then immediately fix something else. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever get bored with my work. 

When I was working in quality management, I met amazing people and had incredible employers but I found myself waiting for the day to end. When I’m coding, time absolutely flies by. Plus, there’s always new tech and software to work with, and plenty of chances to evolve what you’re doing.

I feel like I’ve started a career for life, and I’m really grateful to Academy Xi for helping me break into it. For anyone who wants to become a programmer, I would definitely recommend the Software Engineering: Transform course.

I’m living proof that if you’re dedicated, even a complete beginner can quickly find their place in the industry.

Harold Torres Marino

If you’re ready to redefine your career and make waves in the tech space just like Harold, check out our Software Engineering courses.