After having worked as an accountant for several years, Nicolas didn’t get much satisfaction out of his job anymore. A healthy dose of curiosity lured him to BeCode’s web development training. Now, three years later, Nicolas is part of the BeCode team and has made it his personal mission to prepare the next generation of web developers for their new career path.
Eager to learn more about his BeCode journey? He will tell you all about it in the interview below!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
“I am from Liège. I first studied history and archaeology because history is my passion. Then I studied accounting for a pragmatic reason: there were a lot of jobs in this field. Then I worked as an accountant for years.”
What made you want to do a career shift by following a training at BeCode?
“One day, a friend of mine, who’s a web developer, asked me if I was still learning things in my job and if I still had any passion for my work. And indeed, I wasn’t very motivated anymore. Then, he told me about web development and he advised me to take an interest in it because a lot of jobs are available in this field. Since I’m curious, he thought it was a field that would interest me.”
“So I started to learn by myself on Khan Academy and Code Academy and I found it interesting. Then I lost my job and, even though it would have been easy for me to find a job in the field because of my experience, I decided to take the plunge and follow a training in web development. After searching, I came across BeCode. I saw a video of Tom and Ayaan, communications officers. It was a Facebook live and I thought there was a lot of energy, a good atmosphere, it was very nice. The pedagogical approach was also interesting because it was about learning by yourself in a good atmosphere, kindness…”
How did you experience your training?
“I did everything I could to enter the training. Instead of following the 20 required courses, I followed more than 60 of them, I passed the selections, and I had a very nice experience.”
“From a technical point of view, I obviously learned a lot of things, but it’s the mentality that I liked the most. For me, BeCode really had it: in order to work well, people have to get along well, you need a good team spirit, everyone has to pull each other up.”
“Then, I did my internship with my web developer friend and I worked with him as a freelancer, doing WordPress. Then, one day, Alexandre and Emily, my former coaches, contacted me because BeCode was going to open in Liege.”
What made you want to join the BeCode team?
“At that time, I was a freelancer, I was starting to get clients, so when BeCode offered me the job, I was interested, but I already had a project going on. They invited me to visit the campus in Liège to meet the coaches, Leny and Kevin, and I stopped by to say hello.”
“As soon as I walked in and saw the atmosphere and the motivation of the people, I realized that I missed it. As a freelancer, I was working on my own, and I missed the team atmosphere. It was the discussion I had with the coaches that convinced me. So I decided to become a coach, and I don’t regret it.”
Can you tell us about what your job looks like on a daily basis?
“I am a web development coach in Liège. Therefore, I assist learners in their journey. BeCode is like a rocket: we launch people on the job market. I take care of phase 1: making sure that participants acquire technical skills. On a daily basis, I give them exercises, learning paths and projects to carry out. I also have to make sure that there is good harmony in the group. I also give them tips when they are stuck. I motivate and encourage them.”
In addition to your coaching role, you also work on the BeCode website. Can you tell us about it?
“There is a lot of work to do on the website. Sometimes the shoemakers have the worst shoes. At BeCode, we train developers, but we don’t have much time to take care of our own website. For the site, we used a theme called Divi, which allows users who are not coders to still create web design. But the site is large and the number of people who edit it being quite big as well, we have to solve a lot of small design problems, links,… There is a lot of work to do!”
“Moreover, we are rewriting all the pages with Margot, communications officer, and changing the design.”
As a coach, what is your favourite part of the BeCode training?
“I like the Prairie very much because it’s where the magic takes shape because people meet each other, they discover the material, and it’s where we form the team. It’s where strangers become a group of colleagues, even a group of friends with a common goal. Often, after 3 weeks, the learners tell us: “It’s incredible! I knew that BeCode was good, but I had no idea that it was so good!” In three weeks, they learn a lot of technical things and create new links in this human experience. It is truly a magical moment.”
What are the biggest challenges that you have to tackle in your job?
“When a junior is demotivated and doesn’t express it, it must be detected. It’s difficult when someone doesn’t want to say they’re not doing well. It’s also complicated when things don’t go well, for example when a learner doesn’t hand in his work, is absent… Decisions and sometimes sanctions have to be taken, and that’s obviously more difficult. But it has to be done for the sake of the group. Above all, learners must help themselves.”
How do you deal with such situations?
“Some of them resolve the problem directly by themselves and it’s very easy. For others, we have to give them small daily challenges so that they can see their own progress and give us feedback on their journey. You also have to give them responsibilities: “I give you this task, you have X days to do it and to give me a report”, that makes people responsible.”
What’s your favorite part of your job?
“Watching people grow and develop a developer mentality. Being a developer is a difficult job because we are often blocked and frustrated by the code. But it’s also very rewarding because when you manage to unblock yourself, you’re very satisfied. And to see people go through that and say to themselves “I’ve gone through difficult times, but I know that’s how you succeed”, that’s my greatest achievement.”
What have you learned about yourself since you’ve started this adventure?
“I learned a lot of things. One of the principles of BeCode is to get out of your comfort zone. I practice this very often. I’ve learned that I can speak in public, hold a speech, manage a team. I thought I could do it, but I never had the opportunity to do it before. At first, I waded a little bit, but I learned that I was capable of all that and I’m very happy with it. You never finish learning.”
What’s been your favourite moment at BeCode?
“I would say: the graduation of my first class as a coach. It was the end of the experience for them. They looked happy and fulfilled. We had a lot of fun together, it was really nice. Seeing the learners again a few months later after their internship is always a pleasure. It’s nice to see how they’ve evolved. It’s also an opportunity for us to see the learners after they’ve succeeded.”
“For example, a few weeks ago, I received a message from a former learner with whom it had been difficult. Now he has found a job with an open-ended contract. I was very pleased to receive a message from him.”
If you had to summarize BeCode in one word, which one would it be?
“Pushing one’s limits. As I explained earlier, BeCode helps you get out of your comfort zone and to look for resources inside you that you didn’t even know existed and that help you learn technical and interpersonal things. That’s what BeCode is for.”
Would you like to add something?
“I would like to say something to future candidates: anyone can learn anything. All you need is the will and the motivation, and you can learn a lot. You just have to believe in yourself. Believe in yourself!”
“I did everything I could to enter the training. Instead of following the 20 required courses, I followed more than 60.”