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From Chemical Engineer to Software Engineer at Afterpay

After a successful career start in the construction industry, Nick's love for coding got him considering a career change. He decided to give it a shot and to join Le Wagon Australia! Today, he is a Software Engineer at Afterpay, only two months after finishing the course.

From Chemical Engineer to Software Engineer at Afterpay
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'At a young age, I had achieved my goal of reaching a management position but I was at a crossroads on whether to take a chance on coding and potentially work in a tech job that I could look forward to everyday.'

Can you introduce yourself to our community?

Hi Everyone, I'm Nick and I'm currently a Software Engineer at Afterpay! I originally began my career as a chemical engineer in the concrete industry and made the career change in July 2021 which led me to the Le Wagon bootcamp. I graduated from Batch #680 in September 2021 after an enjoyable 10 weeks of learning how to code.


What did you do before joining Le Wagon Australia? 

Before Le Wagon, I was working in a massive construction materials' company. I was involved in really awesome projects and was designing and optimising concrete mixes for projects such as Metro Tunnel and level crossing removals. It was during this time my natural love for developing spreadsheets led me to learning Python and SQL.

I started to get really engrossed in coding and after a couple of months, I began to question myself if concrete was what I wanted to do for the rest of my career. I had achieved my goal of reaching a management position but, at a young age, I was at a crossroads on whether to take a chance and potentially work in a tech job that I could look forward to everyday. I discussed with my previous manager and his advice to me was that I should take the chance and if it doesn't work out, I could always come back to the concrete industry. This made sense to me so I gave myself 2 years to study for a postgraduate degree and get a job. I had also heard of bootcamps from one of my friends who had previously graduated from Le Wagon and is now working at Accenture, and I figured I'd do that too to accelerate my job search. Boy was I glad I made that decision!


How would you describe your experience in Le Wagon Melbourne?

To be honest, I was skeptical of bootcamps coming from a university background where I was brought up with the mantra that a degree is your key to a fulfilling job. I started the bootcamp not expecting much and wondering why we are learning Ruby which is arguably less sexy than Python or Java. After completing the bootcamp, I am glad we started with Ruby as there is very little syntax to fight and allows you to easily grasp coding fundamentals. I remember doing a first year engineering unit in C during my engineering degree and that kind of put me off programming for a while!

Throughout the bootcamp, we engaged in pair programming with other classmates and the daily exercises were extremely helpful in growing our understanding of how code works. By the end of the 10 weeks, we had also learnt JavaScript, HTML and CSS and were able to build our own web apps. Due to Covid-19, we pretty much completed the course 100% on Zoom. My team ended up building Saver, which is an all in one productivity web application that has to-do lists, calendars, bookmarks, youtube videos and internet browsers all in one dashboard. In addition to coding, the career support and learning pathways to follow after the course were very helpful in the job search.

It was definitely a life changing experience for me and I definitely enjoyed the learning process and working with the teaching assistants and my classmates. During the bootcamp, I was also completing my first semester of a full time uni degree as well as AWS’ Early Careers Innovation program, so it definitely is doable! Trust me, you will get through it even if it feels hard at the start.


So, what’s up since you graduated? 

After graduating, I managed to land a job as a Software Engineer at Afterpay which is a dream job for many people in the tech industry especially myself. I am extremely blessed to have joined the rocket ship and am currently in the payments acquiring team where we seek to continually improve Afterpay’s payment system for customers on all platforms.

I am also working on the Unihack website and building a team registration app in TypeScript and BlitzJS for the upcoming 2022 Unihack Hackathon in March. Lastly, I try to give back and occasionally teach school children coding basics. In 12 months, I hope to be a master of Kotlin, AWS and kubernetes!


What would you say to someone thinking about joining the course?

I would say definitely go for it! The tech industry is definitely one to be in for the future and I personally think that it is a good skill for everyone to have regardless if you code professionally or not. I would say the hard part comes once you get the job though as that is when you are exposed to real codebases and the learning curve becomes very steep. However, that is another story for next time :)

If you would like to contact me to discuss the bootcamp or anything tech related you can do so here. Thanks for reading!

'The tech industry is definitely one to be in for the future and I personally think that it is a good skill for everyone to have regardless if you code professionally or not.'


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