True Coding Stories: Nicky Hughes


Nicky Hughes, WDI Alumni

Meet Nicky Hughes, graduate of General Assembly’s 12-week Web Development Immersive (WDI) program who recently landed a job as a Rails developer at a startup. It is now a family affair — Nicky’s husband was so inspired, that he just enrolled in WDI too. – Mercedes Bent, General Assembly

Eight months ago, I was an architect in Sydney, Australia. After a three-month crash course in web development from General Assembly’s Web Development Immersive (WDI) program in New York City, I’m now proud to call myself a Rails developer, with a full-time job back in my hometown at a tech startup called Tapestry.

Coding and web development weren’t new to me. In high school, I studied coding in Visual Basic, but those skills got tucked away in a corner of my memory as I concentrated my energies on a career in architecture.

Originally viewing it solely as a resource that could come in handy at my current job, I started teaching myself Ruby. However, as I got into it, I quickly began to recall the love for coding I developed in high school, and made the decision to leave architecture in pursuit of a career in web development. In order to do this, I’d need a more comprehensive and structured curriculum than simply learning on my own, so I applied for WDI, traveled across the globe to New York City, and set out to write a blog about the experience called, Nicky on Rails.

Following completion of the program, I set out to plunge into a new career utilizing my new skills. As luck would have it, General Assembly shares a co-working space with several tech start-ups, including Tapestry, in Sydney. After some networking and conversations with Tapestry’s founder, I found myself the proud recipient of a job offer as a Ruby developer for a cutting edge tech company.

Obviously, I still have a lot to learn, but I feel like WDI gave me a great base. The projects we worked on during the program were structured in exactly the same way as the workload managed by a professional development team. This immersion into the world of Github, Heroku, Rails, JavaScript, and Ruby prepared me to work with a world-class agile development team.

I suspect it will likely be months and possibly years before I really start feeling like a Ruby expert. The career transition isn’t easy, and there are many moments when I feel less-than-confident in my abilities. But I know I’m improving.

The most important thing I learned in WDI was that learning doesn’t stop. I’m glad to have found a company that provides a nurturing and educating environment where I can continue to develop my skills.