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From University Dropout to Google Developer Expert: Haris's Coding Journey

Sigma School
22nd February 2024

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Many paths lead to a successful career in tech, and some of the most inspiring ones don't involve a traditional four-year degree. Haris is a prime example—he transitioned from pursuing a degree in psychology to becoming a Google Developer Expert. In this blog post, we'll delve into his story, offering insights for aspiring developers looking to break into the industry.

Haris' Background

Before getting into tech, Haris held a part-time job while pursuing a degree in psychology. He realized the challenges of becoming a clinical psychologist with only an undergraduate degree.

"So, you have to have a minimum of a master's to actually practice psychology. Otherwise, you just do a lot of research," says Haris. He adds, "Realistically, it doesn't make sense for me to go through psychology to compete with people who have better degrees." With this realization, he bravely dropped out.

A Leap of Faith: Coding Bootcamp

The pivotal moment in Haris' career trajectory came when he decided to switch his focus to programming. He took a chance on himself and enrolled in a coding bootcamp. Here's an important lesson Haris emphasizes:

"Going through a bootcamp, you cannot expect yourself to magically get it at the same pace as other people, because everyone just learns at a different pace… Put in extra hours and I think it makes sense."

The Grind: Extra Hours for Success

Haris understood that success in bootcamp demanded more than just basic attendance. Recognizing the competitive nature of the tech industry, he put in the extra effort to catch up and surpass his peers.

"I still code after my work, so I had to do more work…I think that's very important," notes Haris.

The Power of Inspiration

Sometimes, all it takes is one spark to change your career direction. For Haris, a single article changed everything. "I read this article where it shared about this “A level student [who] scored very well…But she chose to go… [to] coding bootcamp…you can be equipped to be a software developer," he explains. Intrigued and ambitious, the next thought came swiftly.

The Call of Tech – Money and Opportunity

"Immediately I saw the six figures and that's where I knew that there was something," Haris shares. This realization combined with a surging demand for developers propelled him toward a pivotal decision. He had to choose: continue a psychology path or take a risk on becoming a software developer.

Self-Taught vs. Bootcamp: the Bootcamp Advantage

Committed to a software development career, the self-taught route might've offered flexibility, but a structured program brought accountability and mentorship. He needed those things to succeed under tight time constraints. Haris's determination shines through with his "F it" moment, deciding to invest in a coding bootcamp for that added push.

Intensive Learning Experience

Haris emphasizes that the bootcamp focused on project-based learning rather than simply teaching abstract concepts. This practical approach builds real skills quickly. However, he faced an initial "tough" and "intense" learning curve.

"You have to build a project [every week]," he notes. But through determination, Haris learned how to find answers in forums like Stack Overflow. This reliance on external resources foreshadows how real-world development functions.

Tech is for Problem-Solvers, Not Just Coders

“I was in psychology …I didn't really like memorizing. I'm a person who likes to understand”

Those coming from unconventional backgrounds shouldn't underestimate the fit their problem-solving skills could have in tech:

  • The Logic Beneath: Coding requires the ability to see how components piece together to create solutions, not just memorize code blocks.
  • Opportunity Calls the Open-Minded: Bootcamps, internships – exploring unconventional options is often necessary in tech, just as it was for Haris.
  • Craving Evolution: If you thrive on continuous learning and innovation , a tech career can be incredibly stimulating.

Haris' journey from psychology student to Google Developer Expert is a powerful example of how you can build a successful tech career without a traditional degree. His path highlights the importance of determination, adaptability, and the willingness to learn new skills.

If you're considering a career change into tech, remember that multiple paths can lead to success.

You won't believe this career change story: Sophie went from arranging flowers to writing code! Get her tips for transitioning into tech.

Stay tuned for more inspiring stories of tech career transitions in our upcoming episode! 

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