After 15 weeks of learning the basic fundamentals of web development at Coder Academy, it was finally time to apply my newfound knowledge in the real world. Having never experienced the culture of the tech industry, I was excited to meet my potential future colleagues - even throughout the interview process.
The best thing about having gone through Coder Academy was that interviews had been pre-arranged and handpicked by the staff to maximise culture fit and further professional development. It worked out great as I was given the opportunity to work with an up and coming startup called GorillaStack.
Hidden away in the outer eastern suburbs of Sydney, GorillaStack operates as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) for users of Amazon Web Services (AWS) to instantly save money by efficiently managing their usage of AWS products. With both the co-founders, Elliott Spira and Oliver Berger, having just returned from attending the AWS re:Invent 2016 conference, I spent the first few days of my internship hearing stories of the incredible reception they received from other people at the conference. (They also came back bearing many gifts any developer would jump on, eg. shirts, stickers, more shirts, more stickers, etc.)
Eager to get involved in contributing where I can, I was assigned the task of converting some of their old code from Blaze to React. With minimal experience with Meteor, Blaze and React, I chipped away at the challenge and found myself feeling extremely satisfied that I was working on an actual live project.
Initially, I had actually felt a bit anxious and thought that I was not even close to being industry ready. But, my fears quickly evaporated once I had settled in at GorillaStack, and embraced their welcoming and helpful work culture. All the developers are always willing to stop their work and listen to any questions I have, be it small or big. The most refreshing remarks I enjoy hearing the most are when they tell me that they’ve been through the same process and made the same exact errors I made. Nobody is perfect after all, and I soon realised that the frustrations everyone goes through in the classroom carry over into your career.
Come Friday afternoon, it is almost customary for anyone in Australia to be drinking - and there’s certainly nothing different here at GorillaStack. As an icing on the cake, the team also indulges in a few games of Call of Duty: Black Ops III as a way to unwind and relax after a week’s worth of coding.
Whether you’re undecided about what sort of career to undertake after high school, or interested in making the switch in your current career, it’s certainly never too late jump onboard the coding scene. I took the risk of leaving a safe career path in the legal industry to commit to a life-long path of learning - yet not a day goes by where I regret making the change.
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