Gaetan has worked in sales for years. After some health issues, he asked himself what direction he wanted to take in his life and found his answer at BeCode by signing up for our web development training in Liège. Sitting down with him, we also got to discuss an important topic for us: women in digital careers. Would you like to hear his views on how we can encourage more women to pursue a career in IT or are you curious about his journey? Then read his interview below!
What were you doing before joining BeCode?
“Before joining BeCode, I was managing a phone shop in a shopping center, a job I held for 4 years. Due to health concerns, I went on sick leave, which gave me time to ask myself several questions: where am I today? Where do I want to be tomorrow? Do I still enjoy what I’m doing? My answer to these questions was “no”, because I had no career progression there”.
“My best friend told me about coding. He told me that I would enjoy it as I am fond of new technologies, video games, everything that’s connected. So I tried it out and I liked it! Then I found out about BeCode, and I loved the challenge we had to take for the selection. Then, I was selected, and it was the best day in my entire life.”
What convinced you to join BeCode?
“The active pedagogy. I think it’s amazing and I don’t understand why schools don’t use it. Before BeCode, I didn’t succeed in any studies and this first experience with active pedagogy is really, really rewarding”.
How has been your BeCode experience so far?
“It’s a great experience. Of course, the corona crisis impacted the training, but with my class, we were lucky enough to meet on campus before the second lockdown.”
“First of all, the people you’ve selected are great: we all get along very well, there’s a great atmosphere, there’s gender equality.”
“At first I was a bit scared about the methodology. I couldn’t always make the connection between the exercises we were doing and what I was supposed to learn from them. It’s only at the end of the training that you realize how much you’ve learned.”
“I also think it’s great to have a coach rather than a teacher. We don’t have that distance that there usually is between teacher and student. The coach is your friend who helps you and never puts you down. And this is important because learning is like a roller coaster. And the encouragement of the coaches is very important.”
What are the challenges that you faced during your training?
“The impostor syndrome. My first line of code was in July 2020. Today, we’re doing advanced technology. So it’s sometimes hard to imagine that I’ll be able to work in the field.”
As part of the BeCode training, you’ve worked on use cases. Which one was your favorite?
“All the projects have mattered to me. I really liked the very first project we did, which was a front-end project with HTML and CSS. It was important to me because it was the first time, and the first times are always important, even when it’s the first time you fall.”
“But my favorite project so far was the second one: creating a forum from scratch using back-end and database management. At one point, the team was remixed by the coach because that’s how it works in a company: people come and go. It was a challenge, but we succeeded.”
Would you say that BeCode changed your life?
“Yes. On a personal level, I thought I was stuck in the daily grind of modern life. It felt good to no longer have the role of a salesman in front of a customer. It also freed me, because I realized that you can
always keep learning new things. I thought that at 38, it was too late to start a new project, but I realized that nothing is impossible. BeCode gave me back a fighting spirit, the desire to learn and to challenge myself”.
Earlier in this interview, you told us that there is gender equality in your class. This is rather rare in the IT field. Why, in your opinion, are there more men than women in the sector?
“I read an article which explained that the number of women in the field is not smaller than before. On the other hand, there are many more men working in that field than in the past. In 1983, ICT was the sector with the second-highest percentage of women with higher education, with 20.3%. Twenty years later, the percentage was halved because many men invaded the sector”.
“Why has IT attracted more men than women? This is a question that remains. In the past, women tended to work in service and personal care occupations. That’s not my personal opinion, but I think if you analyze it, it’s true. I think there was a time when there were no more women accountants than women developers. I think that since then, attitudes have changed for the better. There has been a lot of progress, even if there is still a long way to go”.
In your opinion, what could we do to encourage women who are hesitating about starting a career in IT?
“We need to get more women to share their experience: it doesn’t make sense to ask a man to say ‘I think women will feel good in this sector. We need to ask women developers to talk about their experience and demystify the field.”
Since men are dominating the industry, don’t you think they should take part in this conversation?
‘It certainly makes sense. But I do wonder if this little world isn’t a bit too “macho”. Maybe less and less today, but for instance, in the gaming sector, female gamers tend to be the target of some misogynistic attacks. Thankfully this is getting better over time. To me, it would be interesting to use the same strategy as the one that made things safer for women in the gaming industry.’
‘It’s also a question of image. If you show for example my group, which is half female, half male, rather than pictures with 10 men using computers, it makes a difference.’
What’s the next step for you after this training?
‘To get a job at Odoo. I sent my resumé and my motivation letter this morning. Places are limited, so it’s a challenge, but I like that.’
‘We were told that Odoo was looking to hire 16 profiles just two days after I started to want to work there. I think their product is amazing. They made a presentation video that is incredible and that captivated me for more than an hour. That really made me want to join the company. Moreover, as much as I love front-end development, I’m also eager to learn more about back-end. The amazing experience I could get there, the attractive salary, the fact that it’s an international Walloon success story,…’
What piece of advice would you give to someone who is hesitating to follow the BeCode training?
‘Go for it! Give it a try! Get started with Sololearn and start BeCode. It’s been a success for me. We’ll see where I stand in a couple of months, but so far, it’s a wonderful journey.’
Are you interested in following our web development training?
That’s possible! – We have new classes starting in Antwerp, Ghent, Brussels, Liège and Charleroi.