After a career in the tourism industry, Jean-Marie is now working in web development! Discover his new professional path and the experiences he's gained.
From tourism to web development
Hi there, Jean-Marie! Can you introduce yourself in a few words?
I'm 45 years old, married, and the father of two little boys aged 8 and 11. I came back to France following COVID after more than 20 years overseas—mostly in Morocco. I was working in the tourism industry, a sector hit hard by this crisis.
I love Lyon, it's a great city to live in: the food is good, and it's a runner's paradise!
What was your background before joining Wild Code School?
After a BTS in tourism, I started a career with a French tour operator which allowed me to evolve in my destination. I then tried the experience of entrepreneurship, I returned to another tour operator and finally rounded out the last eight years on a project of sustainable, social, and responsible tourism in a rural region of Marrakech. I was then in a management position. I developed my "run-eat-sleep" sports with my passion for running in mind. I organized unforgettable races in Morocco. We had a big event part with groups of more than 1000 people quite regularly. The site is now slowly coming back to life, and all the local jobs have been preserved. The social vocation has been respected.
What made you want to go into web development?
In my case, I wouldn't necessarily call it retraining but more like complementary training in this digital sector that has become essential.
I used to have to hunt down others to make websites or other work related to digital and social networks.
For a novice in this field who has to make decisions for his company, finding your way through such a jungle of services—sometimes overpriced and not always very clear—is challenging.
COVID happened. Now I'm taking advantage of this new stage in my life to learn things in sectors that I was lacking. Thanks to this training, I'm discovering a new, fascinating universe in detail and in very good conditions, and with this has come new opportunities.
I also like to inform my kids about the digital world, even if they sometimes know more than I do—especially about gaming!
Become a web developer through training at Wild Code School
You're enrolled in Wild Code School Lyon's five-month web developer training. Do you have any highlights you can share?
The first highlight is going back to school, which personally speaking was no small feat! The moment of introduction is crucial, and discovering the backgrounds of other students is very rewarding.
In coding, the first "small victories" are always moments of exhilaration, almost adrenaline rushes at times. We often hear "It works!" in our classroom. Each and every one of us, no matter what our level is, finds satisfaction in succeeding in putting what we learn from our instructors into practice.
Why did you choose Wild Code School, more than another school?
It's a school with a very good reputation. I had an excellent contact with the administrative team during the registration process. The financing file is even easier to put together because Wild Code School is already known and recognized. The technical test also allows you to advance more quickly thanks to the advice of the instructor who corrects your first work.
On this occasion, we discover the original pedagogical format at Wild Code School, which is quite pleasant to work with.
Moreover, I easily got in touch with a former Wilder who responded warmly. It was her feedback that ultimately convinced me.
Also note: Wild Code School has an interesting network, and a motivated person can easily open many doors thanks to the contacts that the school offers. This "network" aspect is important and should not be neglected from the beginning of the training.
The school has developed numerous aids to help students find an internship, a work-study program, or a job.
Tourism and tech: what's the big deal?
Rewind to your past life. You worked 10 years at Look Voyages as a Resident Manager. Can you tell us more about it?
This job consists of ensuring the smooth running of operations in a country for a tour operator. You have to manage the teams sent on site and ensure the quality of the services provided by our partners (think incoming agencies, hoteliers, excursion service providers, airlines, companies in charge of repatriations).
I was in the front line to organize operations through successive crises: global grounded flights due to the volcano eruption in Iceland, terrorist attacks, planes not taking off, the Arab Spring, and much more.
Diplomacy is an essential talent to bring different professions and nationalities together and satisfy the clients that tour operators send. Firmness in negotiations with partners is also important to defend the interests of the brand.
Those were unforgettable years with great teams.
I could write some books thanks to these experiences... Well, create some websites!
In your opinion, what are the challenges of the digitalization of the travel and leisure industry?
Very good question. Tourism is going through a digital transformation. With their communities of travelers, social networks are playing a more and more central role. Applications are helping facilitate tourists' access to points of interest at their destination. Virtual tours use new technologies to offer immersive experiences to audiences who need them. Digital leisure activities are numerous and for all publics.
Ensuring the safety of travelers, along with the preservation of the planet, should be the main concern of travel organizers. Tourism is too often accused of creating more harm than good—especially in the case of mass tourism.
The actors of the tourism world are keen to find new solutions to develop a sustainable tourism, socially responsible and respectful of the planet. They have understood that digital technology and its many possibilities can help them achieve their goals.
The JOOKS application (formerly Runnin'City) is just part of this approach.
COVID has leveled the playing field. Innovations are essential for tourism to return to pre-crisis levels. Too many countries depend on this sector, and as soon as it's affected, social crises precede other economic catastrophes.
But be careful not to confuse the needs of tourism professionals to evolve and the expectations of tourists themselves, who are increasingly moving towards disconnected vacations, in "slow" tourism mode.
Reassuring customers and offering them the right services at the right price is crucial.
Digital technology is invading the offices of major tour operators!
I myself am developing an application that consists in reducing travel costs by getting around checked luggage. This application consists in creating a community of travelers who share the same values and fight against clothing waste. Local associations are also highlighted in this virtuous circle. The "Wear B'N'B" project is of interest to IT companies and schools as well as tourism schools and travel agencies.
Do you plan to continue working in the travel industry in your career?
With the new skills I've gained through this training, I'm now focusing on the Tourism, Sport / Event, and Digital sector.
I found an internship that corresponds to my expectations within the company mile positioning solutions which develops the application JOOKS (formerly Runnin'City). This application offers running, walking, Nordic walking, and wheelchair routes all over the world.
Do you have other projects for the future, and if so, would you like to share them with us?
In the digital field, I want to promote my Wear B'N'B app as much as possible. I think it fits perfectly in our society so concerned by the environment and new economic models.
I submitted the project to the Startup Lyon contest, and we should have the results back before July 11th! We're keeping our fingers crossed...
Thank you for all these answers! Do you have any final words for future Wilders who don't dare to pursue retraining?
Once you have clearly defined your objectives and are familiar with the challenges and requirements of the IT sector, I can only encourage you to join Wild Code School.
I don't think it's so much a good idea to ask yourself if IT is for you, but rather which area of IT is for you.
Upward and onward!
To learn more...
If, like Jean-Marie, you'd like to become a web developer, we invite you to start out for free online with our web developer prep course!