March 20, 2020

A day in the life of a coder

We talked with Ryan Dagg, a recent RefactorU graduate and software developer for Latitude 40 to learn more about a typical day in the life of a coder. If you're considering a career change like he did, make sure this schedule works for you.

Ryan is a former financial planner and advisor who discovered through a Coursera course called 'An introduction to interactive programming in Python' that a) he had a knack for programming and b) he really liked it! Once he made this discovery, there was no stopping Ryan on his career path to become a successful web developer.

When Ryan got his first programming job, he went to work for a large company. As a junior web developer, he felt that this experience was invaluable - especially since the company he worked for provided him with an on-site mentor. At a larger company, a typical coding day might look like this:

9 am - Arrive at work, turn on computer

9:15 am - Attend stand-up meeting to check project status and discuss any trouble spots

9:30 am to 12:00 pm -Start hacking (code, test, rinse, repeat)

12:00 pm to 12:30 pm - Eat lunch, short walk

12:30 pm to 2:30 pm - More hacking (code, test, rinse, repeat)

2:30 pm to 3:30 pm - Mentor time, discuss any coding challenges with company-provided mentor

3:30 pm to 6:00 pm - Still more hacking (code, test, rinse, repeat)

Once he got his coding chops, Ryan discovered a start-up in his neck of the woods that needed a coder, so he joined Latitude 40. Unlike his previous employer, Latitude 40 handles a range of projects which can range in timing from two to twelve months. At a start-up, his time is spent 75% writing software and the other 25% project management/client relations.

With Latitude 40, Ryan devotes approximately 3 hours per week to meetings and the rest of his 8:45am to 7:00pm day is spent coding and actually completing the projects assigned to him. At the start of any project, there is lots of collaboration and back and forth discussion.

Ryan's advice to people wanting to become coders is that you really need to be in love with solving problems and be persistent. While meeting with clients/colleagues and project management is part of web developer life, much of the day in any coder's life is spent working directly on a computer. When you enjoy solving engineering problems and are willing to stay with a problem for long stretches of time, web development is the right option for your career satisfaction.

He credits RefactorU to giving him the solid foundation he needed to be a successful web developer: "I would not have been able to make my career transition if it weren't for the great instructors, supportive environment, and quality instruction that RefactorU provided me."

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