I’ve lived in the UK since 2011 when I came over from Gambia to study. I did a degree in Architecture Engineering and then a Masters in Management and Entrepreneurship – as part of this course we had to write a business plan. Mine was an app and it’s one I’d love to go on and build. I did some basic HTML at school but I definitely didn’t have the skills to build the app – and that’s when I came across _nology. I was accepted onto it a week before it started and had to move from Milton Keynes to Bristol, so it was a bit of a rollercoaster time. Here’s my diary of _nology so far…
Week 1 – An intense start
The Sunday before the course starts and I’m in an air bnb for a few days. As well as the course I also need to find somewhere to live this week, so it was a big one! I wasn’t nervous, just eager to get started as I’ll not only be learning but also it means I can work on my business idea. The week flew by and it was very intense. There was a lot of new information to take in and we were talked through everything we’d be doing, which looked pretty daunting. We were set a project which we’ll work on for the next three weeks – to build our own interactive CV. Despite the fact I wouldn’t have had the first inkling how to do this on Monday, by Friday I had come up with something that worked. It’s crazy – I felt so proud that I sent the link to my family back home.
Week 2 – Developing a professional working mindset
You get more into the rhythm of the course by the second week. The days are usually structured as class time in the morning where Craig is showing you stuff while you’re coding along with him. Then in the afternoon you’re practicing and getting on with your project. I’ve made some tweaks to my interactive CV and by the end of the week it’s completely different. It’s still blowing my mind how quickly we’re learning. This was the week I think all of us bonded on the course. Although we’re all from different backgrounds and different life stages, at the core we are all learning something new and on the same intense journey, so it’s really collaborative. A couple of guys on the course are staying at a hotel down the road with happy hour from 4-6pm. Our course finishes at 5pm so we’ve hit that up a few times!
Week 3 – Finalising & presenting our first web development project
The final week of working on our CV’s and on Friday we had to demo what we’ve done to the team and some outside clients. Mine is based on Google maps and you click on different places and different information about me comes up. The demo’s and speakers are one of my favourite elements to the course, we’ve already had someone from the Institute of Physics come in and this week’s session was someone from Opus who deals with lots of CVs and placing people into tech roles – so it was really useful hearing their feedback. You’re not marked in the traditional way with grades or anything – it’s more like showing your work and getting ongoing constructive feedback. Which I think is a better – and more realistic way of learning.
Week 4 – Soft Skills: learning the key to business confidence
A break from coding as its soft skills week. It’s developing everything you’ll need to be successful in an office environment. Everything from effective listening to failing, to staying calm when you’re feeling stressed to time management skills were covered. Instead of a project this week we had to give a presentation. We did one on Monday which was filmed and then one on Friday after learning all our soft skills and as they were both filmed, you can really see how you’ve progressed. This week is intense but in a very different way, you’re not staring at a screen all day so it’s a slight change in pace. But some of the stuff I learnt is already proving to be massively useful, particularly the time management stuff as I’m not great at that.
Week 5 – Collaborative working proves more successful
Week 6 – Working on a real client project
A few weeks ago various clients came in and pitched to us on sites and apps they needed building. We did a vote to choose our favourites and that’s what we’re working on this week. We’ll be building something that they can take back and use in their business which is cool. We will pitch the finished idea to them on Friday. I’m loving the atmosphere in the whole office at the moment – we sit in an open plan office with about 200 other people from around the business. Every time one of the sales guys has a good win music plays and everyone gathers round them and hugs them. Me and a few of my course mates have started joining in with this and it’s great fun.
Reflecting on my first six weeks…
I never in a million years would have imagined I could learn so much in six weeks and I’m excited about what’s next. I’m starting to see how it all comes together which is exciting. There’s a few things I want in the second half of the course, it would be great to sleep more but I’m not sure that will happen! Sometimes when I get home I get into the zone and realise I’m still coding and its after midnight. And I’m starting to think about what’s next after the course. Hopefully I can work on my app and getting investment for that. If not I’ll look to get a job – I know how many of them are out there after this course. Or I could freelance. There are so many options open to me now, it’s exciting.
It is great to hear how far one of our students have come in just 6 weeks. Learning with _nology is fast paced, exciting and collaborative and will surprise you how quickly you can learn! To see how the remaining 6 weeks looks, see our course syllabus here.