#ReCodedFellows: From Food Engineer to Web Developer

#ReCodedFellows is a series focused on sharing the stories of our students. We encourage all our Fellows to not only learn to code, but to be the authors of their own narratives. Hakan is a Fellow in our Front-End Web Development Bootcamp, read his story below.

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My name is Hakan, and I am from Gaziantep, Turkey. After graduating from the University of Gaziantep in Food Engineering, I spent several years working in different sectors, ranging from NGOs to sales engineering.

While being a Food Engineer wasn’t my dream job, it pleased my family to know that I had a good job, with a good salary, and was able to live a better life. However, I didn’t feel fulfilled. I never dreamed of being a Food Engineer. You see, I had always been into computers, technology, digital art, and loved anime. After losing three friends last year, I realized I needed to change my life. I decided it was time to pursue something that I was passionate about.

During that time, I had seen some Turkish entrepreneurs on the news, like Mehmet Ecevit, who is the Founder & CEO of GramGames. The company develops innovative mobile games and hearing his story quickly got me interested in the field. It inspired me to quit my day-job, and pursue Game Development as a career. I started to seek out game development courses online, mostly on Udemy. I sought to improve my skills, and teach myself all there was to know about creating video games. However, I realized I lacked a background in coding. I needed to focus on understanding the basics of code, and so I switched gears and looked for a code education program.

Although I spent months searching, I struggled to find a coding bootcamp in Turkey. Until one day, I saw an advertisement about Re:Coded’s Front-End Web Development Bootcamp that would be based in Gaziantep, and supported by SAP. This couldn’t be real! I had searched for bootcamps in cities like Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir, and struggled to find one. But here one was in Gaziantep, and it was seemed too good to believe.

While I had no background in Web-Development, and hadn’t ever thought about being a web-developer, I knew that this opportunity would provide me with a quality education. I knew I had to start from somewhere, and Re:Coded would be a step in the right direction. So I applied, and was accepted.

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We’re now nearing the end of the bootcamp, and I can say I have found myself again. The class became my home, and my classmates became my family. During the program, we met with several inspiring mentors, had speaker sessions, and learnt all we could about HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, ReactJS, and Firebase. With this knowledge, we were tasked to build a website as our final project. Using my own experience of struggling to find a bootcamp, I created a Bootcamp Finder website, titled “GitCamp.” You can check out my work on my GitHub, linked here.

We were also able to meet with some entrepreneurs from Switzerland, and learn about their company, Chimpy, a power-bank sharing company that had power banks set up in order to charge your phone. In addition, we met with Kosmos School, founded by Can Olcer, a company that focuses on a Virtual Reality Education System. I had the opportunity to experience VR using the Occulus Quest, which was by far one of my favorite experiences from the bootcamp. We’re now beginning our SAP training portion of the bootcamp, which will teach us how to best utilize SAP technologies.

At first, I thought this bootcamp was only focused on Front-End Web Development, but not only was I able to learn about other types of technologies, I was also able to focus on how to improve myself, how to better communicate, and how to be an entrepreneur.

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So what’s next?

I was recently chosen to be a mentor for Re:Coded’s German-Turkish Youth Exchange which is happening in a few weeks. This will be my first time leaving Turkey, so I’m incredibly excited.

We’re finalizing our project to present it on Demo Day, and I’m building my portfolio website to help with my job search once the bootcamp is over. I hope to find a job, or an internship, to further improve my front-end web development skills in a work setting.

I feel confident now to call myself a “Front-End Developer and UI & UX Designer” and I’m committed to being the best developer and designer that I can be. But this is only the beginning of my journey, and who knows in the future, you may see my name written on a “Gaming Company” list as well.