From Accountant to Software Engineer

I have been an accountant for 3 years, had an accounting bachelor honours degree and had only one 1year and 4 exams left for being a fully qualified accountant. But didn’t like my job and career.
It’s been 1.5 years as a software engineer now and it is awesome! I enjoy developing web apps, learning new things and like going to work every morning - something that was hard to as an accountant.

Before: **No previous programming experience at all, no formal qualification, a full-time job and a 1-year-old baby. ** I had no time and money for another degree, nor any expensive boot camp.

First of all, I have to mention that because I believe it helped much, I have prayed a lot for the job. I was asking Jesus and His Mother Mary for a software engineering job like a baby asks for candy! I know this is not proper career advice, but it was important for me and maybe it will help someone who is struggling.

At the beginning I touched a little of front-end and back-end, but then decided to stick to front-end and I liked it more and it looked like it had lower entry barrier - easier to get a job without a degree. (Now I want to learn backend as well).
Mistake I did was that I was jumping from courses to courses, not finishing them and changing study material often.

I did a little bit of freeCodeCamp but didn’t even finish first certification. FreeCodeCamp is great to give you some good basics! But projects that you want to have in your portfolio should be more real life looking.

Having a nice portfolio is a must when applying for your first job! And instead of having 15 small projects there, have 5 five bigger ones. There are useful videos on youtube that tell what projects to have on portfolio.

Resources I used: freeCodeCamp, youtube: CodingPhase and TraversyMedia (and some others), and some udemy courses. I have spent maybe £40.

It took me 1 year and 3 months of hard study after work (usually nights) to get a job as a Software Engineer (this was my actual title) earning £22k/year (in Scotland). The same salary I had as an accountant with a degree and 3 years experience. After one year I changed job to work in J.P. Morgan earning £34k/year!!!

I hope this story will help someone with a career change! Feel free to reach me out if you have any questions.

God Bless!


Thanks for sharing your story, experiences, and tools you used to get to where you are now.
If you have a moment to answer a few questions from a rookie I would greatly appreciate it!

  1. I have just begun learning how to program and have mainly been using FCC, sololearn, and watching youtube videos. Although I feel like I am learning a lot, when I open a blank page I feel like I do not know where to begin with my own projects. did you experience this at all? if so any advice?

  2. During your path did you make any minor mistakes that you learned from not mentioned above? (going through lessons too quickly, not taking enough notes, etc.)

  3. What does the daily life of a Software Engineer consist of? Also, what do you enjoy most and what challenges do you encounter on the daily?

I know these questions are a little vague but any response would help. Like I stated before I am fairly new (approx. 6 months) but have only been taking programming seriously for the past 2 months. I Have been putting in 2-4 hours a night, 6 days a week after work and am in a similar circumstance as you described as your experiences as an accountant(not satisfied with my current job)

Have a great day and thank you in advance,

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Thank you for the motivation changing from a Network Engineer to Software development!

Most excellent, success on your new job, J.P. Morgan is a good outfit, are building accounting software now?

@Jfield215 I was in a kind a similar situation when starting personal projects and I feel like the mistakes I made were that I was jumping from one course to other and didn’t really spent time on language/framework. I decided to redo some of the FCC courses and starting learning from scratch and didn’t bunny hop from language to language.

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I think I’m bunny hopping. I started with Jon Duckett’s books HTML and CSS and JavaScript and JQuery and was working through JavaScript Ninja. But while learning JavaScript, I realized that I hadn’t learned newer CSS. So I’m back to CSS, using freeCodeCamp step by step to make sure that I haven’t missed any steps.

Hi! Sorry for late replay but it was busy time. I changed job :slight_smile:
Re your questions:

  1. Still feel like that sometimes, I actually never start from pure blank page. Now it’s mainly create-react-app or if it is at work you already have a big project. But if you have to start from scratch and you are lost, google is your friend
  2. I think taking notes would be very useful. Probably having your own blog with what you learnt is super helpful and I started with one. But didn’t have discipline and time for time. And because of that I have to google the same thing many times :stuck_out_tongue:
  3. It depends of the company and job, but it is still mainly coding. Also meetings to get requirements or update your progress. What I enjoy the most… hard to say. Adding new features :slight_smile:
    Good luck and God bless you!

JP Morgan wasn’t my kind of culture, too big I think and I unfortunately I wasn’t building accounting software.

I’m also an accountant and looking to learn more about programming

What courses did you take specifically from CodingPhase, traversyMedia, and Udemy?

What kind of projects did you have in your portfolio? What stack did you use?

At the beginning I touched a little of front-end and back-end, but then decided to stick to front-end and I liked it more and it looked like it had lower entry barrier - easier to get a job without a degree.

About that as I see most of the front end requirements are more strict compared with full-stack jobs, at least it s what I ve seen so far. For front end they want you to be kind of expert and also be designer + developer in one.

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Hi there,

Were you on a training contract with your employer? I am currently doing ACA and want to switch to programming but I am afraid of breaking the training contract.

@Osiris have a look at this is my portfolio website and to be honest projects have not changed much since I got my first job. Most of the project were project build during some tutorial, real estate is from coding phase, a restaurant is from udemy. Regarding stack it was mostly react and of course html, CSS. All the other small packages you will learn on the job as you go.
@georgianaz I didn’t have special contract regarding my ACCA study, the employer was just paying for my materials and exams.

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@zetdotcom thanks, I am studying for ACA and my employer is paying as well but I was just wondering if you have to pay something in case you quit early (before all your exams are over). I am now working for one of the big 4 companies and some periods are just excruciating.

Thank you for the career advice and the resources you used, I am always like to jumping from one course to another… sometimes youtube, fcc, books and blogs… and not finished them properly…
Can you tell me how you get the most of a video?
Can I watch them at a long time and taking notes and build something after completing all the videos? It will be good for me or not?