Just realising you can do it

Madeleine Brighouse started Dev Academy’s web development bootcamp in January 2018. She shares her journey of how she came to be a developer.

Maddie working on the Deltage group project at Enspiral Dev Academy’s Auckland campus

I have a background in photography, production and production assisting. I would work around shows, mainly fashion shows and advertisements, and work in lighting direction and other bits and bobs. I worked in the creative industry for designers, and met some of the most amazing people. But we’re New Zealand and we’re little and there’s not huge opportunities for progression in that kind of field. I found that it was not keeping me intellectually stimulated.

I was interning at Propellerhead and they said, ‘We don’t want you to go anywhere but we can’t wait 4 years for a University degree, so go to Dev Academy, this will work well.” That same day I came to the Auckland campus and had a look around. I went back to my boss a week later, and said “I’ve done it, I’ve signed the paperwork and everything, I’m in.”

Tim and Maddie hard at work

Dev Academy has been a style of learning that suits me. Nothing here is compulsory, you’re free to discuss everything and ask questions. You can say ‘I don’t understand this, please read over it again’, and you’re not judged. I had to pop out for an afternoon so I was missing one of the lectures and Don, the teacher, said ‘It’s all good, I’ll go over it with you in our lunch time tomorrow, and make sure you understand.’ He gives you so much time, it’s awesome. And you’re not in a room with 400 people, you’re 16. You know everybody, everyone knows what level you’re at, they don’t get frustrated when you say ‘I still don’t quite get it.’ Everyone’s helping each other. You’re not just in it for yourself, you’re sort of looking out for everybody, which is cool.

My biggest takeaway is probably that I can do it. For people thinking about doing the course, you may not be able to do it now, but you can totally do it. We’ve had 9 weeks and we’re already building web apps. That’s a skill that — my Mum just goes, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about or what you just did, but fix my WordPress please!’ And you think, ‘But that’s so basic!’ So it’s just reinforcing the idea that we can, that this is possible to do. You learn a whole new concept every day on bootcamp, we learned authorisation in half a day, and then the next day you’re implementing it. And you just think, ‘I’ve just got to keep doing it, to be able to get it done.’

“Screw doing it the normal way, it’s totally possible to learn this stuff without a four year degree, if you push yourself.”

Just looking back on what we’ve learned in 9 weeks is wild. My boyfriend is in his third year of software engineering, and just being able to compare the difference between talking to him before I came into bootcamp, and talking to him and his friends at this point, is incredible. They’ll say, ‘What, how do you know that stuff? We haven’t even covered that, we don’t cover that yet.’ They don’t do databases until third year, and we did that in week 3! So I’m sitting there, saying, ‘Well with SQLite, all your Knect relationships are a bit whack, so I’m looking into Mongo databases…’ and they’re astounded. It’s an awesome feeling. It’s like, screw doing it the normal way, it’s totally possible to learn this stuff without a four year degree, if you push yourself.

Propellerhead have been very, very supportive, they’ve supported me the whole way through, and they’re going to have me back as a junior developer once I finish the course. It’s kind of amazing!

Would you like to learn the skills to begin your journey into technology, and creative, well-paid work that you can do from anywhere in the world? Join Dev Academy today.