image image 4th February 2021

Journey Of A Shedder

We caught up with Seb Martin, Data Engineer here at The Data Shed, to find out more about his journey to becoming a Shedder. Seb joined us from Northcoders with almost no previous experience in coding before completing his course, and is now an integral part of the team working on some of our biggest projects.

Northcoders provide the opportunity for people like Seb to transform their careers by teaching them the skills they need to become full-stack software developers. In turn, helping passionate people develop exceptional technology while helping the local tech ecosystem to thrive.

Tell us a bit about your role before The Data Shed, and how you ended up here.

Aside from starting to teach myself code shortly before starting, I’d never had anything to do with programming before enrolling in Northcoders.

I had no defined career path before starting at The Data Shed, instead I worked a variety of jobs while I enjoyed playing music and writing.

But, I decided to seek out a new challenge and thought I should learn a skill that could give me stable work opportunities into the future. Which, in the end, turned out to be quite a fortunate decision because just a year after starting my role here, COVID came rolling in and we were forced to work from home – it would have been a very different outlook for me if COVID had hit just a year earlier.

Northcoders turned out to be the perfect course at the right time. It enabled me to effectively build a good understanding of coding principles, along with best practice, in a very short period of time. While it was challenging and the days were long, as I was commuting between Manchester and Leeds, I had a great time and learnt a huge amount. The teachers were brilliant and always around to help, and I met some great people alongside doing the course.

What was the recruitment process and onboarding like?

There were a lot of nerves after coming out of the course – I had got a big loan and was about to find out whether or not it was a waste. I was put in touch with Melanie at Graft Recruitment in Leeds, who had great praise for The Data Shed, and quickly recommended them as a good fit for me.

I enjoyed the tech test, which I was able to complete in my own time, and the casual interview style that followed. To my surprise only one day later, I was given a job offer! So that was just 2 weeks after finishing at Northcoders, the whole process was smooth, casual and pretty quick.

What’s it like working at The Data Shed?

Starting at the Shed was a bit of a culture shock for me, not only was it my first developer job, it was also the first time I had worked in a proper office environment, so I was definitely a bit nervous and struggled at first.

I was happy to be told I would be working on the GAMSTOP project which I had read about before starting, and had struck me as a particularly interesting service, so that was something exciting to get stuck into early on. The fact that it is designed to improve people’s lives enriches each of my working days. That being said, the technical side of it was pretty baffling at first and I was working with technology I had never heard of, let alone used. However, with time and the boundless patience of my generous colleagues I was able to build upon what I learned at Northcoders, and am now working confidently with TypeScript, Java, Python, Notebooks, Go, Terraform, SQL, AWS – as well as picking up a whole host of other skills, like Agile. I have been very lucky to have such talented, knowledgeable and conscientious people to learn from who were (and still are) willing to give me the time when I need it.

What are some best things about working at The Shed?

The Data Shed values are constantly informing how people act at work and the application of them really helped me to settle in and continue to enjoy working here. Keeping it professional is important but treating people right and having fun whilst working is also a big part of how our team gels, so I find myself laughing a lot and that in itself makes the days more enjoyable. Even since we moved to remote working, there has been a lot of effort put into maintaining and enhancing the social, supportive and collaborative sides of the company. In saying that, I am looking forward to getting back into the office and seeing everyone on a more social basis but in the meantime, I think we’re handling working from home really well.

I’m very happy in my role here at The Shed, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Northcoders. While it was a difficult decision to take the leap and enroll (as well as actually completing the course itself), the fact that I was able to get a job after only two weeks and be given the opportunity to work on such a brilliant project is testament to how many doors it can open.

Any advice for anyone thinking about making the leap into a coding career themselves?

My only advice to anyone thinking of doing it would simply be, to be sure they want to work as a developer afterwards – just have a go at learning yourself a bit first, to see if they enjoy it. If they do, then I strongly recommend the course!


Hear what some of the wider team, including our founders thought of the partnership in this video, filmed by Northcoders

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