From a Heavy Equipment Operator to a Web Developer

From a Heavy Equipment Operator to a Web Developer


Adam changed his career in a little over a year. He started Get Coding in May 2021, finished the program in January 2022, and got a job at Mysa in July 2022. Before Get Coding, he had a diverse career. From being in the Canadian Forces Reserves, to becoming a heavy equipment operator in the construction industry, his journey truly showcases that any path can lead to becoming a software developer. A couple months after starting his job at Mysa, I sat down with Adam to catch up and hear about his experience retraining to become a software developer.

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Adam Paul. I'm from Botwood, Newfoundland, and I'm a junior web developer with Mysa.

What were you doing before you started coding?

Well, when I was in high school, I joined the reserves. The Canadian Forces Reserves. I deployed to Afghanistan with them in 2010. After I returned home in 2011, I started working in the construction industry as a labourer and then I attended a program for heavy equipment operators. I worked as a heavy equipment operator ever since.

What made you switch your career?

See your construction work in Newfoundland is seasonal by nature so I was looking for something a little more permanent so I started doing tutorials online through With You With Me. We have done HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Python and I found a new found passion for coding 

Did you ever think of becoming a software developer before that? 

No, I didn’t.

Why did you choose Get Coding?

I chose to do Get Coding because I've seen the CBC article. I was in the process of filling out a student loan application to attend a local college. But the [Get Coding] program had a lot more flexibility, I was still able to work and complete the program and it was shorter in duration than most colleges 

How did you find learning at Get Coding?

I found learning how to code very tricky. Learning Javascript was extremely tricky, especially coming from Python, which is well, I wasn't an expert in Python, but the syntax was a lot cleaner and a lot easier to read. In Get Coding, the coaches, they provided you with enough material that you weren't looking for something to do in between sessions. They gave you enough materials to keep you busy with your head down.

What did you learn during Get Coding?

We started off with HTML, CSS, and vanilla JavaScript. From there, I moved into ReactJS. After that, I moved into Node. Then we covered unit testing for front and back and applications, and I finished off the program learning about AWS.

What projects did you build during the program?

So during the program, I built a dart scoreboard, so the front end of that project just keeps track of your scores. I had an application on my phone that only had two games that I played, so with the help of the coaches, I managed to create three other games that could be included with that. During my node part of my course, I built a back end for it that could keep track of games and one game's last winning statistics. 

[I also built] a photography booking webpage for my friend. It allows potential customers to go in and view a session. It includes the price, available date, and times. It handles the bookings and the payments through the page. It also has an admin side that allows my friend to view who's booked and when in a calendar.

Were you working during Get Coding? 

I worked seasonally with a construction company for the first seven months. It made for longer days, but it was very manageable. There was no pressure to come home from work one day and sit down for four or five hours and put in time.

What do you do now?

Right now I'm working for Mysa as a Junior Web Developer.


Adam at his office at Mysa.

How are you liking it?

I love my current position at Mysa. Working in the tech industry in Newfoundland is great as it is a really supportive field.

Do you think there were any transferable skills from your last career?

I think my time in the military gave me, definitely gave me transferable skills like attention to detail and discipline. I believe those skill sets helped me in my previous career. I believe they helped me during Get Coding, and are going to continue to help me in my career.

How was the job hunting and the interviewing process after you finished Get Coding?

Job hunting is a marathon. It takes a lot more hours to get a job or an interview than it does to learn how to code, I think, but overall the process wasn't too bad. Most all the hiring managers and hiring teams were great through the whole process, always ready to provide feedback. It’s just it's a marathon.

What would you say to someone considering switching careers right now?

If anyone was considering changing careers in tech, I'd say go for it. 

Advice for current students?

If you like programming as much as I do, don't give up just because there are days when your program's not going to work the way you wanted it to, and everybody has those days, so don't give up and it'll come eventually perfect.

What about recent graduates?

Students who just graduated, same thing. The job hunt is a marathon. You're going to apply to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of jobs and you might only hear back from one or two at a time, but don't let it discourage you. Eventually, you're going to find the right position for yourself.

How would you describe Get Coding in 2 words?

Great community.

How would you describe Get Coding in a sentence?

Get Coding is not just a program, it's a community and everybody involved with the programme is with you every step of the way.

About Get Coding

Get Coding trains people to become software developers by building real-life projects with the most in demand skills, while being coached, one-on-one, with software developers from local tech companies. Students learn on their own time, making the program accessible even to people with a full-time job, family or both.