From Supervisor in Customer Service to Software Developer at Babbel.
Before Le Wagon, I was a Senior Supervisor in Customer Service at Booking.com. I decided that I wanted a change in my career. I have always been interested in coding and after attending one of Le Wagon’s free workshops, I knew that it was definitely the path I wanted to pursue. Now I work as a Junior Software Developer at Babbel. Take a look at my story.
My name is Karen and I am originally from Spain, where I graduated in social work. Shortly after finishing my degree, I moved to France with the idea to learn french and move to Switzerland, as their social services are really good. That didn't really work out, and I ended up getting a job at Booking.com in France. In 2014, I was moved to Berlin as the company was opening a new office. I worked there as a senior supervisor in customer service for before learning to code at Le Wagon Berlin.
I could do my job with my eyes closed and I needed new challenges.
I had never written a line of code before joining the bootcamp, all I knew about code is that I wanted to learn it. I graduated from batch #124 in Berlin in March 2018 and have been working at Babbel as a software engineer since May 2018.
I decided to join Le Wagon as at some point I realised I wasn't challenged at work, I didn't see myself growing in the company. I could do my job with my eyes closed and I needed new challenges. I was too young to be comfortable in a job, and the more comfortable you are, the less likely you are to actually change and look for a new job. I attended one of the coding days at Le Wagon and was amazed of what I accomplish within few hours. I remember the moment when I refreshed my bowser and I saw my HTML displayed on the screen - it was amazing! Even though it was not the best designed website - for me it was the most beautiful website ever made. So then I thought, if I can do this in 5 hours, what will I be able to do after 400 hours of coding bootcamp?
I strongly believe that it is extremely important to congratulate yourself when something works! I kept giving myself mental high fives when the tests were passing.
What stood out the most for me during my experience at Le Wagon is the amount of information we receive during the bootcamp. The biggest challenge for me was when my colleagues finished their exercises before me and they seem to understand concepts while you are completely lost. I had one colleague in my batch who wasn't bothered by that at all, he will do his exercises at his own pace and not rush, so every time that I was stressed, I would use his example to calm down and keep going. The bootcamp is not a race but a marathon. Everyone moves at their own pace and will eventually make it to the finish line.
To add on that, I strongly believe that it is extremely important to congratulate yourself when something works! I kept giving myself mental high fives when the tests were passing.
The key thing that kept me motivated during the bootcamp was knowing that learning to code will allow me to be constantly develop myself. That's something I was missing for a while while I was working as a supervisor in customer service. I knew that learning to code would take practice and time, but I kept on believing that I would eventually get there.
After finishing the bootcamp, I was really eager to find a job as a developer. After applying online, I received two coding challenges from Babbel, which I passed! The second step was a face-to-face interview. We first spoke about the code itself - how I resolved the coding challenges but also and about myself, the role and the company.
The key thing that kept me motivated during the bootcamp was knowing that learning to code will allow me to be constantly develop myself.
I am now working as a backend developer for the Payment team at Babbel. We take care of connecting our application with different payment providers, add new currencies and payment methods to the website, create invoices, give or revoke access to the product for our users, build and maintain the tools our customer service team uses, deal with requests from marketing and country managers in terms of pricing and much more.
You should keep in mind that it is not all about the code skills. More and more companies are hiring junior developers based on their personal skills rather than in their technical skills. Of course, you have to have an understanding about coding, but the decision will be most likely based on your soft skills and personality.
More and more companies are hiring junior developers based on their personal skills, rather than in their technical skills.
I would also say that if you want to start in the tech industry, it is important to choose a company that invest in mentorship. Find a company that will provide you with a mentor who will help you to develop your skills. Another important aspect is that the whole team is open to the idea of mentoring so when you join the company you are supported by them too. If you can, ask to meet the team during the interview process so you can see if you will feel comfortable working with them but especially if they will be able to support you as you grow.
Learning to code is a journey - it has its ups and downs. The important thing is to keep on pushing and believing in yourself.