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Ian is now a Platform Developer at the BBC.

Tell us a little bit about you/your background e.g. previous coding experience, job situation before the course, motivations for taking on a coding course etc

I am a teacher for a group of small independent schools for boys with complex additional needs. The subjects I cover are science, maths and computing. My previous coding experience was basic scripting, primarily through python resources for teachers. While the quality of my teaching was judged outstanding by OFSTED, we were informed that we needed to update the content of our curriculum and focus more on computer science and coding. My motivation for completing the course was to gain the skills I need to improve the computing curriculum across the schools I teach in.

What do you plan to do next with your new skills? - projects, tutoring/mentoring, new job/promotion, etc.

I am teaching HTML, CSS and JavaScript in my computing lessons. I am also developing resources and software tools for other teachers. Next academic year I am taking on the role of digital curriculum lead and will be training other teachers in delivering effective computing lessons.

Why did you choose Command Shift over other courses?

I chose Command Shift because of their part-time structure. As a teacher, I am not able to be flexible in my working hours so being able to attend evening lectures and work through the curriculum in my own time was very attractive.

What did you enjoy about Command Shift?

The open-ended group projects were a great way to practice the content of the course. The sense of achievement at finishing a project that I'd previously thought to be impossible made all the toil worthwhile. The sense of community at Command Shift is also one of its real selling points.

What did you find challenging at Command Shift?

Starting a project is the hardest part. Like any kind of writing, a blank page can be very daunting.

How did you maintain a balance between work/study/life?

The structure of the course curriculum made it easy to fit around the rest of my responsibilities. I was able to split the 20 hours a week of independent study around my work schedule and even use some of my PPA and CPD time at work to follow the curriculum.

If someone was on the fence about doing the course, what would you tell them?

If you're unsure if coding is for you, try as many free resources as you can. Get a feel for some of the core concepts like functions and iterations.

What advice would you give to others who are doing the course now?

The most effective thing you can do to advance is to dive in and and just try things. The worst thing that can happen is an error message, and those are there to help you. Don't be afraid to look at how other people have solved a problem and adapt their solution to your needs.

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