2022 has been very special – it was a leap year for me without a 29 day February. I moved out of my home where I lived pretty much all my life to a new place. I also embarked on a journey from a support role to that of core coding / software engineering. Thanks to a unique opportunity of developer apprenticeship offered by my employer.

Leaps and leaps!

I worked in various jobs – corporate sales, marketing and media agencies, until 2012, when I took my first leap as a WordPress and digital marketing freelancer. It helped me free myself from the grind of daily painful travel within Mumbai, and the frustration of the slow bureaucracy of corporate work. I joined WordPress.com, since it gave me the same flexibility as my freelance work – with many more benefits – 40 – 50 (avg) fresh clients each day to work with, and very good financial stability.

The next leap

It was time for another leap of faith, this time, by both my employer – Automattic Inc, and me. I was offered a career path to progress towards a developer role. The developer apprenticeship program is unique, and it reminds me of how great engineers in the past (of brick and mortar) were developed as apprentices. They learned on the job and rose through the ranks.

The program helps candidates with basic coding skills to rise up towards a full time development role. I was fortunate to get selected, and assigned to a team that generously undertook to groom me for a full year!

How did I get here

I am writing this section, if it would help some of us considering this path, and for me to look back at a later day too!

  • While working as a support engineer, my colleagues and I spotted bugs and reported it to developers. We also got a lot of feature requests from our users. I marveled at how developer colleagues took these up, fixed bugs and introduced new features. This fascination drew my attention towards the career path of being a developer.
  • My original goal was to become a better support engineer and provide probable solutions in my bug reports. At that point in time, I was not sure if I was equipped enough to graduate to a developer role, or if it was ‘too late’ for me to select this path. I nevertheless started with a few good tutorials in HTML, CSS and JavaScript via https://freecodecamp.org. I read some bits about WordPress development too. Developer blogs like dev.to and various handles on Twitter were inspiring too!
  • The learning begins when we work on an actual project of our own. It could be a simple game or a site, or a calculator. I coded a simple game that my daughter and i enjoyed playing together. Midway of my apprenticeship, I made a library management software for my housing society’s library. If we look around, there are many tasks we do on a day-to-day basis that can be turned into interesting personal projects
  • I made my application resume using HTML and CSS and hosted it on GH pages too, to demonstrate my basic skills.

What’s next?

Whether I turn into a full time developer or return to a support role ( and retry later ) depends on the final outcome of my apprenticeship. I am halfway through the program and how I scale up towards the expectations and skills of a full time developer, will determine my success. Colleagues in my team are giving me all the help needed, and I am feeling set up for success! I hope my future post will be a celebratory one announcing my successful completion :)).