The yellow brick road
*Disclaimer: this is written around 6 weeks since I completed my skills test for the interview, my memory is a little hazy!*
* Disclaimer 2: I found this blog pretty hard to write so I may have gone a little overboard with the gifs!*
What were you doing Tuesday March 3rd at 11am? I remember quite clearly, I was staying by my girl Niccola’s house playing silly games with my god sons.
I am not sure specifically why I remember so clearly or why it matters, but I received an email from Makers with the subject:
Makers — Still interested in Apprenticeships?
Those that know me, may know I have been looking for a structured and inexpensive way to enter the software development field for about 5 years. I have dabbled with books and online courses, worked with some incredibly talented developers and startups, tried my hand at a number of languages and have also successfully built a number of websites using tools like wordpress.org, wix.com and squarespace.com.
All of this was drifting in the right direction, but that really ain’t my style — i’m an all or nothing kinda gal and here was an opportunity for my all!
With such excitement, I completed my application there and then. Without as much as a second thought, a look back to edit it or thinking any more about the consequences of what it could hold for my future and then I carried on with my day.
From here things got pretty heavy even though the requirements on paper seemed pretty simple:
- Complete an online course (10 hours) and prove it
- Take a test with no time limit
- Complete an application form
From the looks of things I was gonna smash this in a weekend and celebrate with a rum or twelve!
About two hours into my 10 hour course, it wasn’t looking good.
I could comprehend what they were teaching me, that wasn’t the problem; I proclaim to have at least half a brain. The problem was remembering any of it! It has been a while since I actually studied to remember, it was probably my GCSE maths exam half my life ago and I cant say I worked that hard!
Anyway I persevered, the two day weekend turned into every evening after work, turned into taking days off work, turned into am I really that stupid and should I be even trying to do this course if I cant remember the very basics?
Did everyone applying have these same problems or was I missing a trick?
Imposter syndrome is a wild thing, i’m great at talking others through and out of it but when it comes to myself, as usual, I don’t have an answer for pretty much anything. I also don’t think society applauds being a beginner any more. Everyone wants to know everything already and failing, even in a productive way, ain’t cool! I was definitely strugglinnnnn!
Anyway, 3 days to go until submission deadline, I hadn’t even gone near the test — in fine form, I had filled out the application form to procrastinate and the fear had arrived.
Me and the fear are pretty good friends, it helped me write 30,000 words in 10 days for my degree — don’t ask! It helps me start packing my case at 4.30am when I have to leave for the airport for a flight at 5! And is generally that giant kick up the backside I need to complete whatever I haven’t been doing that I should have been doing and it had arrived right on cue!
I had been through the course and I would say around 50% of my learning looked like this…
…and the other 50% aimlessly typing things into the computer, with no real clue what I was doing now multiply this with a massive dose of freaking out and I was a hot mess. In true Katrina style, I needed an action plan!
I decided to do the entire course again, from the beginning, resetting all my tracked progress, a dangerous move considering I had to submit my profile as part of the application.
But I seemed to have struck some gold! I wouldn’t say buckets of it, but definitely a few nuggets. Concepts were starting to make sense, I was remembering what type of punctuation went where and wasn’t having to cheat and uncover the answer to be able to progress. #winning!
This time I did complete the course in 10 hours, thank f*ck and I wasn’t feeling 100% confident for the test but I was definitely in double digits. Enough to go and at least check out what the test was saying.
Now most people, me included, think developers have every bit of the language in their head that they can access on a whim, like speaking a foreign language. Now some pretty clever people do, but most I had come to find out, have no shame looking up what they need to solve a problem.
This was an important lesson to learn, I didn’t need to know everything, I just needed to know what I was looking for and where to find it. This knowledge would hold me in good stead.
I don’t actually remember too many details of the test itself, but it was nowhere near as terrifying as the beast I imagined it to be. It took me around 45 minutes to complete and I only had to go away and look things up twice.
What was all the stress of the last 3 weeks about??????
A few gruelling but rum filled days later I was invited to interview with the Makers team, this was to sense check my application answers, find out how I found the process and give me an opportunity to quiz them about how the whole thing works.
The interview was 30 minutes but it felt like about 3! And all of 3 hours later I was very lucky to receive this!
Makers had accepted me into their apprenticeship pool, one step closer to my goal! I can’t say this was easy, but I know the journey is about to get a whole lot harder but a whole lotta grit and determination and a little support from some incredible friends and family, life is about to be turned upside down so I can chase my dreams!