From gardener to coder: Meet Ábel Hodász, ex-codecooler, now working at software company VCC Live
Meet Ábel Hodász, the latest junior software developer at VCC Live and a proud graduate of Codecool, a Budapest-based programming school, offering programming and IT development courses for anyone wanting to reskill or upskill their professional lives.
When did you begin to code?
It’s difficult to remember my first line of code. I think it was before I started studying Electrical Engineering at The Budapest University of Technology and Economics. I used to build websites, using website builder tools. But I have to say, I fell in love with coding during my time at university, where I was able to build my first game in C. The game was a music app, where if you pressed a key, a specific note played, allowing you to compose tunes.
I understand that you did a variety of jobs before coming to VCC Live. How does one go from gardener to coder?
A lot of these were just student jobs. However, I really enjoyed trying myself out in a variety of different work situations. I kept looking for new jobs because I couldn’t imagine being in the same field for the rest of my working life.
Gardening, for example, made me have high respect for hand-labor, but mowing the lawn every day in the 40-degree sun can bring lots of motivation for trying yourself out in different fields.
What made you reskill yourself?
I feel like most people don’t know what to do after high school. I tried to confront this issue with logic. My reasoning was: “Ok, I love art and I am good at math”- this made me think that I should try myself out as an architect. However, things were not that simple. It turned out that I did not enjoy drawing, no matter how hard I tried.
I’m still grateful that I had the guts to quit upon making that realization. Sometimes, it is difficult to tell the difference between laziness and not being in your place, but it turned out I am not lazy at all when it comes to programming.
Do you have a background in humanities or sciences?
Humanities were never my strong suit. I was always interested in sciences. I used to think I will make robots for a living. We’ll see.
By the time I finally decided that I want to be a programmer, I had two unfinished universities behind me. I wanted to be able to exclusively focus on the things that I actually wanted to learn. Aside from the courses that I enjoyed, I couldn’t handle taking the classes that I had no interest in. I was thrilled when I found Codecool, I could finally learn what I cared about, and they made it easy for me.
How did you experience the process of learning to code?
I started learning coding on my own. However, I soon came to a point where I felt that I needed some structure and guidance. Then came university, where it was very structured, but it was limited to the curriculum. I wanted to learn so many things but didn’t know where to start. In Codecool I got the opportunity to learn practically. We got tasks and guidance, but the implementation and sometimes even the technologies were up to us. I am still learning and hopefully, I will never stop.
How did you find VCC Live?
It wasn’t easy, to be honest. I knew what kind of workplace I was looking for, but the Covid situation made finding a job very difficult. I found VCC Live through Codecool, and I was glad I got an opportunity to interview with the company, leading me to my current position.
I got to meet the team I was going to work with right at the interview, which is not very common. I could see right away that they are very motivated and driven. This is the main reason why I like to work here. Most of my motivation comes from the people I work with.
How practical did you find Codecool’s training when you started out at VCC Live?
It felt like I had an advantage over traditionally educated people. It was much easier to start working in a team, since that’s all we did in Codecool. Additionally, I gained a lot of practical knowledge like working on projects in sprints and using version control. In short, it was easier to take on new challenges at VCC Live with a solid base to build on. Even though I came prepared, I acquired a ton of knowledge from my colleagues and the seniors at the company. I hope I will continue to improve during the years to come.
What has been your experience with VCC Live so far? Tell us a bit about your daily work at VCC Live.
Well, it takes me one minute to get to the office and I spend my work time mostly in my pajamas… All jokes aside, everybody is very open to new ideas and extremely helpful. It was a big surprise for me, that even though I just started as a junior developer, my opinion matters to others and I can make an impact. This is made possible by our leaders and executives. They continuously improve our processes and work experience. They try to get as much feedback from employees as possible and are always looking for modern project methodologies, development processes, etc. The overall atmosphere is stress-free and laid back, but at the same time, very professional. My typical day is a healthy mix of coding, meetings, planning, and research.
Who would you recommend coding to?
Anyone. Really. If you’re interested, try it. I’ve met a bunch of different people in Codecool with various backgrounds, but they all had a love for coding. All you need is motivation and determination.
Other than a new profession and a career opportunity, what has the year spent at Codecool brought to your life?
I’ve met a bunch of new people, and encountered a modern approach to learning. Instead of books and essays, we learned from ourselves and each other the most. I feel like my personality changed a lot since I started Codecool. It gave me perspective and reasonable goals to aim for. I had to put myself in situations I was not comfortable with before, like presenting in front of a room full of people, or resolving conflicts in a small team. I am more self-confident now, and open to new ideas and new aspects of coding and life.