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    A second career in coding

    Career switch brought web developer Adam Kuhn from geology to software development and from Canada to Finland. Now he’s living and loving coding and developing skills towards becoming a web development master.

    I worked as a geologist in the oil and gas industry for almost four years, and I wasn’t enjoying my job. I wasn’t challenged or having fun with it. I knew I wanted to do something different but didn’t quite know what. I started thinking of what I liked and could do, and I stumbled upon a free computer science course on Udacity. I started doing exercises and realized that this is a ton of fun! I thought that if I got to do the things that I did on the online course every day, I’d be pretty happy. I talked to a few of my friends who were programmers to find out what their work is really like. And my friends convinced me that programming may be exactly what I’m looking for.

    My friends also assured me that you don’t need a degree in computer science to get a job as a developer. Which was good since after spending five years getting my Masters in Geology, I wasn’t particularly keen on going back to school for several years. I heard about coding bootcamps and talked to one in New Zealand that piqued my interest. Then I took a leap of faith, quit my job and headed to New Zealand with my girlfriend. After two months of online training, we had a 9-week in-house phase of exceptionally intense training that covered the full web development stack in JavaScript.

    Learning continues

    I joined Intopalo Digital at the end of October 2018. Since then, I’ve learned a ton of different things. I dived into the deep end with React, Typescript, Angular, and other web frameworks, and I’ve been exposed to C#, even though I haven’t yet written much in it. I’ve also learned more about Agile practices and how development in teams works, as well as about version control and its importance in the development process.

    One cool thing was that when I was brought in, after I set up my computer and got accounts up and running, I was writing code on my third day. Right away my teammates put there trust in me, and I was given a chance to contribute immediately. In addition to the trust and freedom, I had from the get-go I also received the support I needed as a junior developer. I’ve already had the chance to work in several different projects since joining Intopalo Digital. In my most recent project, we created a testing tool and I got a chance to write software that is actually used by the customer, which is pretty awesome! I didn’t expect to be able to make such an impact so soon after my career switch barely a year ago. It’s cool to see your work being used and know it makes a difference for the customer or the people using it.

    Code and community

    One of the best things in this job is programming in general, it requires me to use my brain. There’s always room for improvement in terms of your code or using new or better technologies. I like that growth aspect of programming, it gives you something to strive for and keeps you moving forward. I do have aspirations to eventually develop into a ‘web development master’, but right now I just want to keep learning and writing software. One thing I am working on at the moment is to get better at writing readable, maintainable code.

    I also like our people and the open community. I don’t feel like there are cliques and everybody is free to speak their mind and bring disagreeing views to conversations. I really like that. Another thing is, that even though we have the option to work remotely, it’s definitely the people and culture here that makes me want to work from our office. Coming here is not a hard thing — you enjoy the work, the environment, and the people. Every once in a while I work remotely but I prefer to be at our office.

    To balance work, I do something active at least 5 to 6 times a week. It’s good to be outdoors and move the body around. One problem with programming, at least for me, is that when you’re stuck on a problem, your brain is constantly trying to solve it. It’s nice to have a break and do something to ‘shut your brain off’. You may even get some solutions, too, when you’re away from the computer.

    From the first piece of Python script I wrote, I was hooked. Then the coding bootcamp solidified my interest in programming. Now as a full-time developer I love being able to program every day. This has easily been one of the best decisions of my life.


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