From Sales Manager to a Full-Stack Developer
By Lukas Repecka, Junior PHP Developer at Kilo.Health
A couple of years back, Lukas Repecka was working as a sales representative, dealing with any problem that might occur while choosing home electronics. Today, he is a junior full-stack developer with a year of practical back-end experience.
How did he get here so quickly? Let’s hear it from him in this interview.
What was your background before joining the Kilo Academy?
I got a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Technology at Kaunas University of Applied Sciences. After that, I worked as a sales manager of IT products for about three years. Then, I decided to change my career and started looking for courses that would prepare me for a developer job.
I applied for a Full-Stack developer program at Code Academy. That took about 4 months for the beginner courses and about 9 months for the advanced courses. After I finished the programs, they offered me to try and apply for the Kilo Health Academy.
How did you decide to change your career?
Even before I started studying at the university, I wished to be a programmer but didn’t have enough knowledge of that even after graduating. So I almost gave up on that idea.
But after some time of working as a sales manager, I didn’t feel fully content. I wanted to challenge myself and become who I had always wanted to be. I wanted to give myself a better future. The stressful situations with problematic customers also motivated me to switch.
How did the learning process go?
It definitely wasn’t easy. The beginning at Code Academy was a little easier for me since I still remembered some minor things I was taught at the university, but soon after, new things started and required extra effort to learn.
Also, I had to balance daily work as a sales manager and the developer courses. Once I was nearing the end of those courses, I quit my job and focused 100% on studying. This was possible for me because I had saved up money before that and was still living with my parents at the time. I really dedicated myself to this, and some days, I even studied for up to 12 hours.
Doing the Academy homework, watching YouTube tutorials and rewriting everything, trying to make some small applications myself, or finding some tasks online. The Pomodoro method helped me stay focused for that long.
Once I finished the final project for Code Academy and graduated, I figured I knew almost everything, and this is how it’s done in the real world. Boy, was I wrong.
Once I finally applied for the Kilo Health Academy, they asked me to complete a basic refactoring task to evaluate my capabilities. I was pretty worried because it required testing, which I had never done before, as well as the use of OOP principles, which were also not my strong suit.
For the first few days, I was just studying and trying to understand what was needed of me, but in the end, I managed to complete the task in time and submit it for review. It’s a great feeling to finally understand something that had been baffling me before.
I was accepted into the Kilo Health Academy, and during those courses, I was introduced to and taught about even more things I had never heard of before. Some extremely complex design patterns, SOLID principles, DDD structure, unit tests, and so on. All of this is extremely useful and necessary in programming. It was difficult, but it was well worth it in the end.
I’m very happy and grateful to have been able to participate. It would have taken me years to learn all of it by myself. To this day, I keep learning new stuff and becoming a better developer.
How have your first months working as a full-stack developer been?
I love the job. There are always new challenges and new things to learn. Great feedback from my colleagues helps me understand what I need to improve on.
Everyone is friendly and helpful. I didn’t expect to be a part of such an amazing and professional team. Didn’t expect such a great vibe in the office either.
What are the 3 things you wished you knew before you started this process?
1. It won’t be easy. It will take dedication and lots of effort. Just online courses alone probably won’t be enough, and I will need to sacrifice some of my free time.
2. Start sooner. From my experience, I shouldn’t have waited so long, working somewhere else instead of going for my goals right from the start. By now, I would have had a lot more experience if I had done that.
3. I will make it. Sometimes, I had doubts in the back of my mind, but if I tried hard enough, everything would work out, and I would get my dream job.
Would you like to become a full-stack developer?
Kilo Academy will be accepting new applicants for the PHP course from late September to early October.
Best part? This 2-month free online program will be led by two of the most experienced Kilo Health PHP developers.
Are you ready?