Immigrant worker breaking to tech in the uk

Hello everyone,

Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude for this opportunity to seek advice from the knowledgeable members of this forum. I am currently in the process of completing my visa application for the UK, where I will be working as a carer on a worker visa. However, I have a strong interest in transitioning into the tech industry within the next 6 to 12 months. I am here to seek guidance on the feasibility of this transition and to gather advice on the necessary steps to achieve my goal.

To provide some background, I hold a BSc in Finance and Accounting, graduating with honors and a GPA of 3.7 out of 4.0. While pursuing my degree, I independently taught myself programming skills through various online platforms. Currently, I am working on MERN stack projects and planning to create mobile apps using Flutter and Dart to enhance my portfolio.

During my undergraduate gap year, I worked as a product manager where I had the opportunity to lead a scrum team. Additionally, I engaged in some development work and discovered a knack for UI/UX design. My career aspirations lie in securing a senior developer or product management role within the fintech or banking industry in the UK within the next 5 to 8 years. Eventually, I hope to venture into starting my own fintech endeavor.

Initially, I am currently a migrant care worker, but I had planned to work in the care sector for approximately one year whilst searching for a company to sponsor my visa as a tech worker. However, given my limited direct tech experience and primarily freelance and personal projects, I understand that this may be a challenging path to pursue.

Considering this, I am seeking advice on programming language skills, recommended activities, actionable steps, and potential college opportunities that could help me transition into the tech industry. I recently came across some master’s programs in computer science in the UK designed specifically for individuals aiming to break into tech. If I do not secure a job within the next 6 to 12 months, I am considering pursuing such a program while continuing to work in the care sector to support myself financially. I plan to finance the master’s program through a student loan from a bank in my home country in Africa.

Another option I have considered is pursuing a university education in Canada. However, due to limited work hours and financial constraints, supporting myself in Canada would be challenging. Nevertheless, I am attracted to Canada’s proximity to the USA and the potential for future opportunities in big tech, although I understand that this may be a long-term goal.

Currently, I am freelancing and still working towards consistent earnings that would allow me to support myself in a developed country. I am also aiming to join Toptal, where I can potentially earn more and explore full-time opportunities while studying.

I have been contemplating the possibility of a part-time internship, even if unpaid, while residing in the UK. My intention is to gain practical experience that would bolster my resume and facilitate a smoother transition into the tech industry. However, I would appreciate your insights on the feasibility of such an arrangement and the overall value of such an experience.

In conclusion, I kindly request your valuable advice, recommended resources, or any additional comments you may have regarding my situation. Thank you for taking the time to read my post, and I look forward to the wisdom and guidance you can provide.

Best regards,

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Hi!
Tech world is a big umbrella, so I will go with more general advise.
I am a Data Analyst and I do not have a degree in CS, nor I went through a master like the one you are describing. I just studied A LOT by myself and learnt SQL, Python, R, Database management concepts etc. In data science you could be bringing your field expertise (for example if you work as a nurse/caretaker insurance companies would be interested) once you learn the technical part and I think rectuiters would like that.
Regarding other tech jobs, what I recommend is to study a lot, even by yourself, and build up a solid portfolio. Nowadays a lot of people go through bootcamps and such and present the same exact (basic) projects. There is so much request for tech people that the majority of companies do not care about your background, but only about what you bring to the table. Sure, bigger and older companies will request a master or similar, but there is plenty of options. It won’t be easy, mind you. There will be a lot of rejections once you start sending out applications, but you only need it to be successful once.
Good luck!

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thank you, for a start i am seeking any juinor dev or data analyst role in the uk. I used R during my bsc in finance so i just need to python to my arsenal of skills thank you so much.

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That is even better! With a bsc in finance once you learn SQL and Python you will be set.

I’m a UK developer. tbh I don’t think the job market is that dissimilar to anywhere else based off what I’ve read on this forum and elsewhere.

“breaking into tech” is too broad of a goal for anyone to constructively advise. What job specifically do you want? Data analysis or web development are very different career paths, and even within web dev - frontend and backend tend to be different career paths,

What’s your Github like? Do you have a portfolio?

2 Likes

Hello,

Thank you for your response, and I apologize for the lack of specificity in my previous message. I appreciate your advice, and I will provide more details regarding my desired career path and current progress.

My goal is to break into a junior full-stack web developer role or a junior front-end web developer role. While my desired industry is finance, I understand the competitiveness of those positions and I am open to exploring opportunities in development shops as well. At this stage, my primary focus is on obtaining my first job in the industry, and I would greatly appreciate any guidance you can offer in that regard.

I am also open to considering a data analyst role as a last resort, and I plan to learn Python and SQL to support that path. Currently, I am proficient as a beginner in the MERN stack. However, I intend to add TypeScript and Material UI to my skill set before moving on to Python and SQL. I am aware that I am still at an early stage in my learning journey, and I understand that I have a long way to go. Therefore, any advice that is suitable for someone at my level would be highly appreciated.

I apologize if I was not clear in my previous message. I am still in the early stages of my learning journey, having only started a few months ago. I have created some front-end development projects from the FCC course and I am currently working on my first full-stack project using React, which is a library management software for my church. In the future, I plan to create finance-related portfolio projects to better align with my career aspirations.

To achieve my goal of securing a junior developer position within a year, I am planning to create a total of five portfolio projects and develop a website to showcase my work before I start actively searching for job opportunities.

Regarding my GitHub, I must admit that it is not ideal at the moment. Most of my work has been done locally, with only occasional collaborations with friends for bug fixes. However, I am committed to improving it and plan to make daily pushes to showcase my progress.

I’m glad you commented on Maciek Sitkowski’s profile and story because I found in your FCC history and I find it extremely inspiring and educational. It’s always helpful to learn from the experiences of others in the field.

In terms of networking and improving my skills, could you recommend any coding meetups, clubs, and hackathons in London? These events offer great opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals, learn from experienced professionals, and enhance my coding abilities.

I hope this response provides the clarification you were looking for, and thank you for your time and patience in reading my submission.

Best regards,
Nqobile

Thanks for the clarification. I can see you’ve done the research into what’s involved in switching careers to web development and your plan sounds pretty solid and realistic.

These are very good skills to learn. Keep expanding your knowledge of MERN. Additional technologies worth learning in that ecosystem include Node / Express, React Query, Formik or React Hook Form, Styled Components, Jest, Testing Library, Cypress, Storybook. I also hear GraphQL mentioned a lot but I haven’t had the need to learn it yet.

Also learn about Agile philosophies and workflows and how development is done in a team environment.

This sounds like a good plan. Don’t get too hung up on the number. I think even one or two full-stack projects that have received a lot of care, thought, attention and improvement over a period of months would be sufficient. Avoid tutorial projects and build projects that you care enough about to commit to improving over a longer period of time.

The most important thing is that you can talk about them in interviews and are able to explain your decisions, challenges you faced, features you’ve built and features you plan to add in the future.

This is my first portfolio I created 3+ years ago. The projects were tutorial based and the portfolio didn’t really get me anywhere when looking for jobs. Avoid these kinds of projects: https://master.d11sobnc278z7p.amplifyapp.com

You can see I’ve taken a much different approach to my current portfolio https://www.michaeltandy.me.uk/

Push small commits daily and build up your history on there. It’s the only real evidence people will have of the work and commitment you’ve put into your learning and development.

Even if you only change one line of a project, push the change to Github. If you’re doing it all locally without pushing to Github then the work you’re doing is hidden.

I don’t live in London so I’m afraid not, though I’m sure there are loads on https://www.meetup.com/ and they would be very welcoming.

Yes in-house work is much better IMO but it can be easier to get your first job in an agency - and that experience can then enable you to secure in-house positions.

I’m a career switcher myself. I started learning with freeCodeCamp in mid 2019 (starting with zero programming knowledge). After 6 months of part time learning I took a year out during the pandemic to learn full time. After that I found work in an agency and was there for a year and a half. That job wasn’t my ideal job but it provided the experience I needed to find my preferred mid-level in-house positions later on.

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Thank you for the stellar advice i am going to implement it all I will use the forum in the future to get moe advice and share my journey as I progress.

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Consider expanding your technical skill set to align with your career goals. Research the most in-demand programming languages and technologies within the fintech and banking sectors and invest time in learning them.

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