Alumni Spotlight

From Civil Engineer to Software Developer at <Academia de Código_>

By Jess Feldman
Last updated on November 2, 2022

Igor Koury spent 9 years working as a Civil Engineer in Brazil, but wanted a better quality of life for himself. After researching his options, Igor travelled to Portugal to learn Full-Stack Software Development at Academia de Código_'s 14-week intensive and immersive Programming bootcamp. Having no previous experience with code before attending this course, Igor now shares with us how <Academia de Código_>  supplemented his understanding of the IT world and supported his career change into Software Development. Find out what it was like to learn both in-person, at the Portugal campus, as well as remotely (due to mandatory Covid lockdowns), plus how Igor landed his first IT job right after bootcamp graduation!

What inspired you to pivot from working as a Civil Engineer in Brazil to working as a Software Developer in Portugal?

I was a Civil Engineer working at an airport in Brazil, but I spent so much time commuting. Politics at this time in Brazil are not good, which is another reason I decided to change my life. I love learning new things and Software Development caught my attention because I love being in front of the computer. My sister’s husband is a Software Engineer, and after comparing my life with theirs, I found they have a much higher quality of life than me! I mustered up my courage and said why not? 

When I was exploring my career options, I decided to take a vacation — my first in four years! I moved to Portugal a month before the bootcamp started. I lived in Aveiro, which is a wonderful city, and then I moved to Porto. Now, I work from my home in Porto and I don't need to go to the office, which is amazing to me. I love my life now.

There are so many coding bootcamps now — why did you choose <Academia de Código_>?

I didn't search hard to find <Academia de Código_>. A good network was important to me, but what really stood out about their program was their high employability rate. That's the best way to attract people like me who are looking for a new way of life! 

What was a typical day like in the bootcamp? What were the main programming languages you learned?

We didn’t even touch the keyboard until the second week! The first week was an introduction to coding for people like me who have no coding background. This course was really necessary.

We learned Java and JavaScript. It was a little difficult for me at first because I hadn’t done anything like this before! Learning code was a great change in my life, but with time and trust in their process, it all started to make more sense. After that, I was like a boat on a river — I found it easier to float. 

The first week of my bootcamp was in-person, but then the pandemic hit and we transferred to remote learning. The <Academia de Código_> campus was absolutely amazing. They have great, comfortable areas that make it easy to learn. 

Is the program taught in English or Portuguese or both?

Sometimes both, but mainly Portuguese, since the bootcamp is offered in Portugal with campuses in Lisbon and Porto. 

What were your instructors like? Were they Software Engineers?

I had three instructors who were previously <Code Cadets> just like me! They went through the same bootcamp I did, but then <Academia de Código_> hired them to become <Master Coders> (a.k.a. teachers) at the school and pass their learnings onto others like them. 

Was your goal to land a tech job in Portugal after graduating from the bootcamp?

My main goal was to get a job. When I joined the bootcamp, I was deciding if I would stay in Portugal or if I would go back to Brazil. Before the bootcamp ended, I received several job offers that interested me, which made it an easy decision to stay here in Portugal.

What was your cohort like? Were they also career changers?

Both my classmates and my teachers were amazing. Some of my fellow students had no experience with code whatsoever, like me. We had five Brazilians in my cohort, including one who came from Brazil specifically to do the bootcamp, which was also my case. There was also one friend coming from Ukraine. All other students were Portuguese.

What kinds of projects did you work on at the bootcamp?

We did awesome projects! Our biggest project was called "Java Bank", where we applied all the things that we learned in the three and a half months of the bootcamp. Individually, we had to create a project that involved every feature that we learned. We did some group projects, too. We got to create two games in peer-programming. Group projects were also a great opportunity to work on our soft skills. 

How did <Academia de Código_> prepare you for the tech job hunt? 

A hugely important part of the bootcamp was the career coaching team that helped us with our resumes and networking tools. I’d never used GitHub, GitLab, etc. <Academia de Código_> taught us how to work properly on our LinkedIn, which was not so important in my ex-profession as a Civil Engineer in Brazil, but LinkedIn is very important in tech! They showed us the value of those tools and how to implement our network. They also offered tips on how to make things better. 

<Academia de Código_> was clear in their expectations for me and did the best they could to prepare me for the job hunt. Since I had no background in coding, I followed their instructions and trusted the process and one week before the course was over, I was employed! I didn’t expect to land a job that fast!

What tech roles did you apply for?

That's the most important point of <Academia de Código_> — I did not apply to any company; I just received offers! <Academia de Código_> matches students with several companies and those companies then make their pitches to us. If they're interested they can request an interview. Since I was a <Code Cadet> from <Academia de Código_>, companies called me for several interviews and I said yes to it all. 

And now you’re a Tech Analyst at the IT company Feedzai! What was the interview process like for you? 

Feedzai had an awesome interview in three parts. They asked some questions, but everything they asked I’d learnt at the bootcamp. Before the interview, I was very scared, but I tried to be totally honest during my interview. I explained my background as a Civil Engineer, that I was a Building Manager and decided to change careers. One week after the bootcamp was over I was offered a job at Feedzai! 

Feedzai is a company that works in many countries around the world, including the USA. I have contact with people there, and my first tech buddy was a guy from the USA. 

What does a Tech Analyst do? What kinds of projects are you working on? 

We help make cybersecurity transactions safe for banks and enterprise teams around the world. I work with the Customer Success team as a Technical Analyst.

Are you now using what you learned at the bootcamp on the job? 

Every day I’m applying what I learned at the bootcamp in my job, especifically Networking and Databases.

Do you find yourself using any skills from your previous career as a Civil Engineer now in your career as a Tech Analyst?

Yes, of course…the soft skills! I was a Civil Engineer for about nine years before I decided to change paths. I think it’s a good profession to prepare you to work in a team, to stay calm in difficult situations, and to solve problems. It's a good entry job to learn how to live.

At this point in your tech career, was <Academia de Código_> worth it for you? 

If I could choose to restart my coding education, I would choose <Academia de Código_> all over again. <Academia de Código_> prepared me to understand the work space as a Software Engineer. The bootcamp helped me to understand how to construct my career and how to behave on a tech team.

What is your advice for making the most out of the <Academia de Código_> bootcamp experience?

  1. Pay attention to the paperwork. For people like me who came from another country and are unsure if they will stay and work in Portugal, prepare yourself for the legal papers you need to complete, which are an important part of making a normal life here. I was the only student at <Academia de Código_> with a visa. I researched what documents I would need to stay here, and by the time I finished the bootcamp, I was totally ready to work here in Portugal. Some people only focus on studying, but when you finish the course, if you're not ready with all your papers to work, you’ll spend your time and money, because you can’t start if you don’t have the correct papers. 
  2. Forget your life, forget your wife, games, dogs, parents during the bootcamp! After that you can change your life — for the better or not, that's on you. In my case, I'm so thankful for <Academia de Código_> because I didn't expect to be so happy after this whole change. I left my parents in Brazil, which was sad at first, but they intend to come to Portugal and live with me here eventually. 

Find out more and read <Academia de Código_> reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with <Academia de Código_>.

About The Author

Jess is the Content Manager for Course Report as well as a writer and poet. As a lifelong learner, Jess is passionate about education, and loves learning and sharing content about tech bootcamps. Jess received a M.F.A. in Writing from the University of New Hampshire, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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