Gaming: A Gateway to Software Engineering

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We’ve had the great opportunity of speaking to many Software Engineers and Developers over the last couple of months and our favourite things about talking to the community is how everyone has a different journey, and how it’s led them to coding. 

We recently spoke with David Adams, a Software Engineer, based in the UK who has been learning to code with Java since he was a teenager. After deciding that university wasn’t for him, he took the opportunity to start his career as a Software Engineer and joined the NHS as a graduate Developer. Here is what he had to say about his journey so far.

What has your journey looked like so far?

I started my coding journey when I was 13 where my curiosity came from my daily dose of gaming. I was and still am a big fan of Minecraft, where I began creating plug-ins, some of my favourites were modifying football into the game as well as adding animals. I got great feedback on the community shop, and it only helped to fuel my passion for coding. 

As I got older the conventional thing was to go to university but after a year, I felt like it really wasn’t for me as I preferred to learn through a more practical, hands-on approach. Luckily for me, I was able to secure a job with the NHS where I started as a graduate and worked my way up to a Senior Developer during the two years I was there. I was able to run both the internal and external healthcare systems for the midlands using C# and HTML which was a great way to expand my knowledge. 

The most recent part of my journey took me to The Economist where I helped create and manage apps using JavaScript and TypeScript. I immediately felt the difference between the public and private sector, and it made me think about how I could help people to find their way into the tech industry through coaching, which is what I am currently doing today.

What projects are you most proud of?

There have been many projects and work I have been proud of over the years, but I think to begin with, my Minecraft projects are the reason I started, and continued my coding journey. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed creating. 

My proudest professional moment was during my time at the NHS where my team and I were nominated for an award because of the work we did on the tracking software for flu vaccines. With the award, we were able to win £250,000 for the NHS trust which was great to see. 

Finally, more recently I have been doing some work with Discord in which I created a bot for the community that was eventually verified by the company itself.

What are some of the barriers you have faced?

The tech sector is a very tough industry to get in to and the biggest question everyone always asks me is ‘how do I get started?’

I’ve spoken to a lot of people, and they always say the same thing, ‘it’s hard to find the best resources to get me started’ - speaking from experience, it’s hard to find the best, most up to date, and the simplest content to understand. It’s frustrating to see that years later this is still a problem people are facing. 

One of the biggest barriers for most people starting out is having the mental strength and persistence. When coding, it can be very stressful and tiring so finding the motivation to keep going can be a struggle. I found that pursuing your passion and interests when learning to code is a massive help, it helped me to stay enthusiastic and motivated throughout my coding journey, even when I struggled.  

Another barrier for me was finding a job when I was starting out. It took me several attempts to find the right job, to look in the right place and to find the right role for me. I am sure many Software Developers and Engineers feel the same way when they first start. One thing that helps if you’re unsure where to start is working with a specialist Recruiter to help you find your first tech job.

What advice would you give to people when starting out?

Join a community group; the online coding community is one of the most supportive and helpful! You’d be silly not to connect with people in the space. I’ve recently started a community on Discord; I’ve been able to coach people with everything coding related and I am looking to expand on that by adding a service where certified programmers are on standby to help them. 

Secondly, one of the most common questions I get asked is ‘what helped you to continue learning to code?’ I always answer back with what makes you excited to create? For me, it was Minecraft and gaming in general, but the great thing about the tech industry is that it’s extremely broad and you’ll be able to find your niche. This will keep you interested and motivated.

Lastly, it’s no surprise how competitive the tech industry is and if I was going to give someone my final piece of advice it would be to find a mentor or a Recruiter who can help shape you into someone businesses are looking for. The reason is that it can be quite difficult to assess how you should perceive yourself online; not knowing how formal or casual to be, can be confusing when starting out. 

We had a great time speaking to David about his journey, and if you are looking for ways to start coding yourself make sure to check out our blog for tips or get in contact now.

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