Lifelong learner takes on a new challenge

October 3, 2022 | Graduate Profile | Dev Academy

“Anyone can do it - no previous tech knowledge is required.
Give yourself permission to give it a go.”

Zoe Joblin initially trained as a nurse before changing tack and helping people in another way - as a project coordinator in the public sector. Zoe has found a niche as a Junior Full Stack Web Developer with Catalyst IT, and is thoroughly enjoying the problem solving element of the role and team-based approach to work that the Catalyst IT team supports.

With a strong people focus, thirst for learning and always looking for new challenges, Zoe had been thinking about a new direction when she came across Dev Academy Aotearoa.

"The thing that drew me to programming and to tech was really Dev Academy. I'd heard great things from people who'd done the course, that it was a unique experience, a really great culture."

The clincher for Zoe was the structure and timeframe. The three month programme was a manageable timeframe to pause full-time work and learn some solid skills to get a first role in tech. The structured 9am-5pm, five days a week programme was also appealing, as was a course outline that provided opportunities to work in small groups, on practical projects and gaining tangible rather than theoretical skills. The timing was right for Zoe too. 2021 was a year in which many of us reassessed our careers and the Dev Academy certainly offered an opportunity for change.

Arguably, the biggest learning curve has been that feeling of starting all over again - starting in a new role, with a new company, in a new industry. Dev Academy focuses on teaching React and Javascript, but Zoe’s new role works across the front and back end using the Django and Angular frameworks. Zoe found the skills from Dev Academy provided a good foundation here: "We learned a whole set of skills in three months, so we can easily learn something else. That's the mindset I had."

Eight months in, Zoe still feels like the new kid on the block but is confident due to skills from previous roles as well as newly developed skills like persistence and tenacity, picked up at Dev Academy.

"There's a lot of detailed work and perseverance required. I've struggled sometimes with perseverance, so it's definitely something I learned at Dev Academy which has helped me."

Understanding that this is a necessary and normal part of learning is an important mindset shift that Dev Academy helps its students with. The course work provides lots of tools to cope with frustration and move through it. This was one of the biggest takeaways from the course, for Zoe.

"I've never been a big risk taker and never committed in the same way as I did at Dev Academy, to learning something totally new. So just finding out that I could persevere and that the benefits and results would be hugely valuable.... that was great and definitely changed my perspective on myself and how I live my life."

As a self-defined people person, Zoe was initally unsure if she’d enjoy a tech heavy course, but found that Dev Academy offered a great balance of practical knowledge delivered in an easily digestible way, alongside human skills growth. Building relationships with the cohort was also important - for the compulsory group work, as well as for overall course enjoyment. For someone that is curious about the world and its people, Dev Academy offered a great balance of learning, pushing comfort boundaries and working with others towards a mutual goal.

If you’re curious and interested in tech, Zoe thinks the Dev Academy programme would be worth exploring. Zoe found it to be particularly supportive for women and gender diverse or queer people. Being involved in tech that provides long-term benefits to our communities is important to Zoe, so it’s an added bonus that to have found employment with a values aligned company such as Catalyst IT.

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