After opting to change career from the textiles industry, where Leonore worked for ten years in design, and subsequently product management for a women’s fashion brand, she realized her new world – that of the creative design agency she is working to build – required further digital skills to complement her design credentials.
She has embarked on a website coding course delivered by Wild Code School, drawn to the technology educator because one of its 23 European campuses is based in her hometown of Biarritz. France’s lockdown and the closure of all educational establishments in March meant swapping to a five-month part-time remote course that started on 20th April. Here, Leonore explains how she is finding remote learning, a multi-national class, and the synergies between design and web development.
With a successful career in the fashion textiles industry, what motivated you to change career and start a creative design agency?
I became disillusioned with the fashion textile industry, specifically with its emphasis on margins, sometimes at the cost of care of the products themselves. I therefore quit and took some time out to travel and assess what I wanted to do next.
I decided that digital design environment was the right career choice for me. It is another interesting and creative vocation and having already developed a network of companies requiring brand and logo development, I decided to start building an agency with my partner where I could be my own boss and determine the quality of our output.
However, between my partner and I, while we have strong brand and graphic design skills, we do not have the necessary website development skills to offer a complete package to clients. So, I started to look into up-skilling.
What made you decide to do Wild Code School’s fully remote course?
It was November last year that I made the decision to up-skill and started the process by doing some online training courses on Word Press and CMS. I enjoyed it, but understood it was not enough to further our agency credentials. I realized I had an interest in how websites actually work, and what is involved in creating a website’s look and feel.
With a campus in my hometown, I first considered Wild Code School’s full-time course that was due to start later this year. I looked across its website and social media channels and was pleased to see it has a wide number of campuses across Europe and was happy I had made a credible choice.
Then lockdown happened in mid-March across France and I learned thatWild Code School had devised a fully-remote course that was due to start in April. So, I made the very quick decision to apply. It was a rush to submit the application and complete the tests that would prove I had the necessary commitment and aptitude – but I haven’t looked back and am so happy I chose the remote course –and being part-time is really handy as I can continue to do the day job.
Overall, it was the school’s atmosphere that persuaded me to do the course. From the outset, everyone was incredibly friendly, enthusiastic, fun and made it known that they are there to offer help and guidance. An atmosphere that was created entirely virtually!
How are you finding the course?
What was most challenging for me was doing the application in such a short space of time. Now that the lessons have started, what seemed very daunting is now becoming entirely possible, and the remote nature of the course actually makes support really accessible. If we are stuck it is very easy to ask for help with regular online tutorials and an online work-sharing platform designed for collaborative learning.
I like the way the course has been thought out. Rather than exercises, we are set ‘quests’ – five each week. These quests feel like ‘expeditions’, furthering the fun, playful and engaging atmosphere. We spend at least six hours a week on tutorials, spread over two evenings, with every other week a further class on Saturday.
Each tutorial begins with the tutor asking what everyone has accomplished and encouraging us to speak up with any difficulties we’ve had since the last tutorial. This means we’ve really got to know each other, despite living across numerous different countries and never having met face-to-face.
For me, the course workload is manageable because we are all working from home, so I have additional time to work on my business. There have been times where deadlines from work and school collide and that can be challenging – but the course is only for five months so it’s not hard to see the benefit and make the extra effort.
Your fellow course students are from a number of different European counties – including, Ireland, England, Germany, Spain, Belgium and Portugal. How does this impact the course?
The multi-national aspect of the course works really well. Coding languages are in English so it makes sense that we are all learning in English – and it’s great having such a diverse group of us – even though we’re locked down we can still travel!
Overall, what attracted you to coding?
The main draw for me was that I needed to further my skills in order to progress my business. Front-end development especially, which this course focuses on, has many synergies with my design background. It is very visual and creative, and enables you to build something, and see it come to life with your chosen design.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I hope that my partner and I have been able to build our agency and are able to hire a few people. I’d also like to broaden our customer base to have a good diversity of interesting clients and interesting challenges to solve.