In January this year I finally decided that it was time to be serious about getting a job as a developer. I’d spent 2016 taste testing whether tech is for me, and turns out, yep, we’re made for each other. I’d started applying for jobs, but I’d also kept my eye on Coder Factory Academy. I knew that they had Women in Tech scholarships for women entering their Fast Track accredited Diploma of Software Development course, and when applications opened I decided to apply.

Doing a diploma for six months full time would be a huge commitment - I’d have to quit my job and have no income for at least while I was studying, longer if I didn’t go straight into work. A scholarship would certainly help financially, not to mention what an awesome push it would be to finally get me out of my old career and into a new one. If I didn’t get it I’d keep applying for jobs, but this felt like a good way to formally hone my skills and open up more opportunities.

Well, long story short they offered me their scholarship for the Sydney intake, I sent my resignation the next day (the scholarship was definitely a kick in the butt to quit my job and take the plunge, I have to say) and now I’m two weeks into the first term! Luckily for me the interview process was super quick, as I was heading to present at Linux Conference Australia’s WOOTConf the next week (I actually got the call offering me the scholarship while hanging out in the hallway at LCA and got to celebrate with some bubbles at the conference dinner).

So, two weeks in and what have I learnt? Oh my, so much! I have to say that CFA’s Fast Track has exceeded my expectations. I’d be worried that it would be too slow, considering you don’t need any experience to enter, but the pace is quick and they expect a lot of their students. So far we’ve covered Ruby, gems, bash, terminal, object oriented programming and test driven development. We’ve also had two mentors from industry come in and talk to us about startups and networking, with the promise of many more to come.

The instructors have been encouraging us to go above and beyond, and I’m pleased to say I took up one of their challenges and was the first student in the class to complete Ruby Koans. In our first group project, submitted today, my group made a text adventure/Ruby quiz called Caffeine Quest over the space of three days, and in doing so taught ourselves collaboration with Github. I also sent my first pull request today, and had it accepted. This feels like real world stuff.

On a personal level I feel like a whole new person. I’m not going to lie, it’s been absolutely exhausting - I’ve been constantly learning and thinking, I’ve been challenged and I’ve also had to get to know 35 new people (32 other students and 3 instructors). But it’s also been the happiest I’ve been for a while doing something that could be considered work. The student card is a nice perk too! I’m no longer clock watching, and sticking around past the 5PM knock off time is incredibly easy to do (particularly with the odd free beer!).

Being a full time student is definitely still a novelty, but I’m actually looking forward to Monday so I can get another challenge, learn something new, build something awesome and get another step closer to being an awesome developer.