/ Careers in coding

Career change advice from a pianist turned software engineer

Codecademy community member Regina Gerbeaux recently went from being a classical piano teacher with no coding experience to landing a job as a software engineer in six months. We sat down to talk with Regina over Zoom about her inspiring journey.

If you’re considering a career change, we know it can be daunting. So, as part of our conversation, we asked Regina to share some advice for others that are thinking about taking the leap and switching to a career in tech.

1. Get yourself a support system.

Regina’s first tip is to find a support system. “You have to have friends who will lift you up and encourage you,” she says. “The good news is the tech community is a very supportive environment.” So if you’re new to learning to code, you can easily find a support system online.

Regina says that one of the best things she did was join #100DaysofCode on Twitter. #100DaysofCode challenges participants to code every day for 100 days and Tweet about their progress daily. “That kept me accountable for my study time, even if it meant I was putting in just 15 minutes a day. I would share my stuff and I started becoming friends with other people who were learning, brand new, just like myself, and other people who were already more experienced.”

You can also find answers and support in the Codecademy Forums and in our Facebook community. Reach out with questions when you’re stuck, find inspiration from other learners who have been in your shoes, get tips for staying motivated, and more.

2. Tell yourself you can do it.

We especially love Regina’s second tip: “Tell yourself you can do it.”

In our conversation with Regina, she told us that, when she was starting out, “There were a lot of challenges. I am not somebody that looks at code and goes, ‘Oh, this is super intuitive — I get it!’ It was a struggle in the beginning to figure out what languages I was going to learn, what career path I was interested in, and learning the concepts.”

“There were definitely challenges in picking up the material,” she told us. “I think that one of the biggest things that helped me get through that was just understanding, once I was hitting those walls, that it was okay to move on.” If you’re stuck on a concept, move on and give it some time. You’ll be surprised how it’ll click for you later on when you come back to it.

Regina also shared that she found inspiration from the stories of others. “Even though I probably had some questions about whether I could do this, I have just seen so many other people who have studied something else in college and then gone into tech after.”

“I think the biggest concern was, ‘Can I do this?’ And the answer was ‘yes,’ because you see so many people who do succeed.”

3. Hold yourself accountable.

Last but not least, Regina says, “Hold yourself accountable. Do the 15 minutes a day, participate in those forums and those exchanges, because you’ll find that the more involved you are in it, the more excited you become!”

Have you learned to code and changed your career, or are you considering a career in tech? We’d love to hear your story! Join our Facebook group or head over to the Codecademy Forums and connect with us.

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Career change advice from a pianist turned software engineer
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