Northcoders was a life changing experience and not in the gimmicky marketing way; but what the they did for me is hard to put down in words. I was made redundant in January working as an Apprentice Software Developer. There were other jobs I could jump into, but they didn’t appeal to me for what I wanted, I wanted to learn and adapt to the job opportunities out there that I didn’t have access to. I came across this new startup company who were looking for people to come and do their course, to be the first cohort and see what it is to be a Northcoder. I just did it, didn’t think twice and signed up straight away.
The course wasn’t easy and it required a lot of attention to detail and working out of the 9-5 hours; what you get out of the course is what you put in. All the nights of late coding, learning and designing, all stuff that would feel a lot harder to do if it weren’t for the people on the course and the people running it. James and Chris (the 2 trainers and owners) were there for us all day and night to help see us through the course and with being the first cohort it was hard to keep on track with what we had to, we all had to prove what we were worth. And we did!
At the end of the three month course, I can safely say I learnt more in the 13 weeks than I did in 2 years of development as an apprentice. But the end of the course didn’t mean the end of Northcoders; they helped me with my CV and got me in for interviews with companies for jobs I would have had no chance with prior. Three days after graduating I had a job offer, I took it, and I feel honored to be the first hired Northcoder. Without Northcoders I wouldn’t be in the position I am today, earning a great salary in a job I love, doing what I love.
I started out with very little knowledge of programming but a passion to learn after years of being stuck in a dead-end retail job. Northcoders took that passion and nurtured it with a great atmosphere, provided by patient tutors who want nothing more than to see you succeed. My cohort and tutors became part of my family. Whenever I felt like it was too much for me, they were there to bring me right back up. The workload is tough at times and they will push you to the edge of your comfort zone constantly, but that's right where the magic happens. Every week that passed left me looking back at the previous week's work and wondering how I could've ever found it so difficult! But that sense of progress is what drives you to bigger and better things, it should be a constant source of inspiration. In three months, this course took me from knowing nothing to landing a junior developer role in an up-and-coming tech business in the heart of Manchester's city centre. I wanted with all my heart and determination to fly, and Northcoders gave me the wings to do so.
Northcoders has quite literally changed my life. I was one of the lucky people to get a scholarship for the first cohort. Before the course I worked in a supermarket and now, after months of really hard work and a lot of fun, I’ve landed a job as Junior Developer for a financial tech company! The instructors are very passionate about what they teach and they inspire the students to exceed their own expectations of what they can do. It’s the most fun, intense, rapid learning experience. You are thrown right in at the deep end, solving complex problems and building things from the start, with the tools and frameworks used in the industry. The facilities are great too. There is lots of desk space, big monitors, comfortable chairs and bean bags, and a projector for lectures. There are always hot and colds drinks, fruit and snacks. During breaks we would play pool and table tennis in the Sharp Project.
Except for teaching code, Northcoders works on creating contacts with companies and helps students improve their CVs, booking them in for interviews when they feel ready. Some students in my cohort stayed longer and got extra support after the three months, others went straight into work. I made some great friends at the course because everyone was really excited about being there and helped and supported each other. We had different backgrounds and skills when starting out but everyone learned a lot and got to experience pair programming with people who were both stronger and weaker in certain areas. That’s a really useful experience to have when working in the industry! I still go to Northcoders socials to meet people from with my cohort and ones that have come after. It’s like one big family. My company ended up hiring four students from the course, so having that shared experience makes work a lot more fun!
I'm extremely happy with the quality of teaching and support I received at Northcoders - you get out what you put in, and Chris and James were happy to spend time with me in the evenings going over key concepts to ensure I understood them. They were clear, concise and eternally patient in their teaching. Chris and James are people deeply invested in their vision of the North as a hub of technical innovation, and in the potential of all their students. Additionally the support I received post graduation was invaluable, especially from the brilliant Lou in terms of interview preparation and CV assistance (extremely helpful if you're a school/apprenticeship leaver like me or just haven't been interviewed in a long time). Overall I definitely wouldn't be where I am now, in such a short space of time, if it weren't for Northcoders.
As an engineer looking for a career change, Northcoders gave me the challenge and the skills I needed to become an employable software developer. I'm not gonna lie to you, the course is intense. It requires your undivided attention for 13+ weeks and hours upon hours of hard work. But with expert and attentive tutoring and a great atmosphere for learning, the course was the most fun and at the same time challenging experience of my life. I now not only have the skills to thrive in the software development industry, I also made a handful of really good friends and I was lucky enough to be offered a position at Northcoders to help mentor the future cohorts. Worth every penny.
I joined Northcoders on their first cohort in April 2016. I was working in libraries and had been coding a bit as a hobby for a while and looking for a career change. I learned so much in 3 months, probably more than I did in 3 years of uni, and I loved every minute of it. It was a big decision to leave a career I was making headway in but essentially unhappy in but it was totally worth it. After graduating I was ready to get a job in the industry but decided to take an internal position with Northcoders, which is great because I never wanted the experience to end.. and now it kind of doesn’t have to!!
As for the course itself, it was challenging, exciting and intensive, as advertised, and it was great to be surrounded by smart, interesting and enthusiastic people every day. It was so unlike any other educational experience I have had - it’s so hands-on and practical, and so immersive that you live, breathe and dream code for 13 weeks. Chris and James, my lecturers, were excellent - knowledgable, helpful, encouraging, inspiring, giving just the right amount of direction to help you to develop your own problem solving skills and resolve errors by yourself, which is a skill you will need in industry. It’s also worth mentioning the importance of all the ancillary things you pick up during the course - agile software development, team-working skills, presentational skills, CV assistance, project work, the networks you build by attending events and socials and by studying alongside other future developers, the community you have access to in the campus. So yes to summarise, I would 100% recommend the experience and would seriously encourage anyone thinking about getting into software development to consider it. Wish I had written this review before I started working for Northcoders so it doesn’t sound biased but I would have said the exact same thing back when I was on the course, I was just too busy coding to write a review haha!