From the School of Code to Reapit

Tan Matthews

Tan Matthews

Junior Business Analyst at Reapit

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Reapit’s recent partnership with The School of Code has led to the recruitment of the first Bootcamp graduate. Tan Matthews shares her journey from the School of Code to Reapit.

Before School of Code

I made the decision to leave education years before I joined the School of Code (SoC), I just didn’t know how to go about it. Gradually my passion for education fell in line with the global pandemic and my maternity leave. I would likely never get a chance to be still and reflective long enough to revise my decisions in life so far. Applying to the SoC meant following a passion that I had downgraded to frustrating nights following various YouTube videos and downloading their recommended risky but free software. As a parent I was lingering dangerously between dedicating time towards raising well-rounded children with useful skills much needed in the world and living vicariously through them (I can admit it). That’s how I came across the SoC on social media. I was searching for tech courses for children. I wanted my children to keep ‘up to date’! It was only when I got an email reply from SoC that I realised it was a course for adults, like me. Claiming to teach and integrate me into the tech industry without any real prior knowledge within 16 weeks. Too good to be true? But based in Birmingham, working from home, which helped with me having a 3-month-old at the time, so I continued through the process.

During School of Code

I started the School of Code a perfectionist and left a more confident blank slate. SoC was intense. I am used to knowing things and learning things quickly. To learn about a completely new industry, I had to accept that I did not know what I was doing and just be open to learn. Soc was information overload, with tears, frustration, whilst having a genuine giant smile on my face. Pair programming with people across the UK. Learning from more experienced students, learning with people with little to no experience was a great life experience. I was able to make new friends (can be difficult as an adult) and gradually by working on daily and weekly projects with the help of mentors and my personal mentor Hugh Loughrey, I became more comfortable reading code. I began working in a team with more experienced developers and understanding conversations in tech. But I was still struggling to write code. I really wanted to learn to write code (and I still do). Hugh is great. He endured my plethora of questions during long nights. He took the time to break down problems and guide me towards finding the solutions all whilst sitting with waking babies. It is an experience I will never forget.

All the SoC staff are invested in their students learning. They stay late or arrive early where possible; they’re willing to help wherever they can. We had LinkedIn sessions, interview practice, wellbeing sessions. The guest speakers also taught us that soft skills and having the ability to learn were just as important as being able to produce code. I got a real sense of community from SoC, where everyone was welcome and will succeed if they are willing to work and persevere. The key is breaking things down into its smallest chunks until you understand the problem. Annoyingly, I now seem to do this in other areas of my life now 😅.

After School of Code

I felt a great sense of achievement and regret finishing the SoC after 16 weeks. I still was NOT the best software engineer in the world, but to my mom I was a ‘coder’ 😂 and via word of mouth I landed a freelance job developing a landing page for a small business (still under construction). I knew enough javascript and React to develop a portfolio page using NextJS and I nervously applied for roles that I thought I would not get.

I kept SoC informed about my portfolio, and I gradually grew more confident to ask questions. However, I was no longer able to spend all day practicing my coding skills with likeminded people. My extended maternity leave was over 🤔. Disheartened I arrived at school and looked for internal opportunities to keep practicing my coding and show the children how they too can learn to code. I started a coding club and kept applying for jobs.

I started to get interviews and I was offered two roles within 5 weeks! Hugh Loughrey, SoC and Jack at Spinks walked me through every stage of the process.

Starting at Reapit

I was sure that I had found the right starting point in tech for me when I experienced how flexible my team were in regard to working parents and honouring sentiments that were discussed during my interviews. As a BA I interact with devs and QA teams, research the product, propose solutions to internal staff and present to external clients. But during the second interview Reapit seemed very keen for me to continue developing my software engineering knowledge because they were invested in staff retainment and their company was evolving. The projects that I have been allocated have potentially put me in a position to continue working on my software engineering knowledge, which is incredibly exciting.

The thing that stands out most for me at Reapit is how open and welcoming everyone is. A couple of the other new starters and I had lunch with the CEO Mark Armstrong in our second week!

Initially I was tasked with meeting as many people as possible, navigating the product and getting familiar with the real estate industry. I was told by more than one member of staff that Reapit is a family, I should socialise as much as possible and keep asking questions until I understand – similar SoC fundamentals.

AgencyCloud is a large product, and I had no knowledge of the real estate industry outside of living in my own home. Sarah Dearden has been amazing. She has supported me alongside David Boughtflower and Jas Lall. Sarah is an advocate of failing fast and working in an agile way, revisiting and improving when proven valuable – more SoC lessons.

Within three weeks I was given my first two projects to work on with the help of our team leader David! Learn as you go.

Eager and anxious I jumped head-first into wireframing, the fail-fast approach I learnt at the SoC (I love to wireframe lol). David signed me up to internal property management courses via Reapit IQ and before I knew it, I had completed 80% of the courses on the platform and was understanding more of the acronyms and meeting content. The BA approach at Reapit involves lots of in-depth gap analysis, meetings, brainstorming and market research that is helping me to understand the product in more depth so I can help develop quality improvements. Although every company has its own processes, so far, the skills and exposure the SoC provided, such as Jira boards and user stories have helped me ease into the Reapit family more smoothly. 

Two months in and I am excited to be working with David Boughtflower, Craig Forrest and Nick Tiley on refreshing the Reapit mobile landing page and improving the Reapit telephony system. Excitedly, I am being approached by other teams and members of staff to be a BA for other projects too. I am looking forward to developing relationships and careers at Reapit and maybe becoming the ‘coder’ my mom thinks I am 😊.

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