🍎Code First Girls Ambassador Jess shares her journey from switching from being a Primary Teacher to Software Engineer @ Sky Betting & Gaming after completing CFG’s Kickstarter Class followed by the CFGdegree. Jess shares her insights on avoiding burnout, transferable skills from teaching, and improvements in her work-life balance. For more of Jess’ journey and CFGdegree tips, feel free to follow her Instagram: @teacher2coder !


  • Favourite coding language? (if you have one!)
    • JavaScript
  • What is your choice of beverage for coding? 
    • Ice cold water
  • Desk set up – RGB, Minimal or my aesthetic
    • I have a (many shades of) green desk aesthetic!
  • If You had to only use one for life: Laptop or PC?
    • Laptop for working from anywhere!
  • Are you most productive in the morning or evening/night?
    • Afternoon and evening – not a morning person!
  • What do you listen to whilst you code and where? Spotify, radio, vinyl or fave CD? 
    • I like to listen to sets on the Boiler Room YouTube channel. Music without words is less distracting and it gives me a chance to listen to longer sets and discover new music.

Hi, I’m Jess! I’m 29 years old and from Glasgow. I switched careers at 28 from teaching to tech, all thanks to Code First Girls! Outside of work, you’ll find me working on DIY projects, walking the dogs, watching crime dramas or reading a book! I’ve been a Software Engineer working for Sky Betting & Gaming for about a year now. I started this role after completing the CFGdegree and working mainly on front-end web development for one of their gaming products.

Before this, I studied Education at university and then went on to work as a Primary Teacher for five years. Safe to say – ZERO tech experience! I had genuinely never considered a career in tech as an option. I didn’t know anyone who had made a similar career switch and always just assumed you needed a Computer Science degree or relevant experience.

I wanted to give back to the CFG community who helped make my career change from teaching to tech possible. Becoming a CFG Ambassador and creating my online platform has allowed me to connect with, and encourage, other women and underrepresented groups who are looking to get into tech. I love the saying “If you see it, you can be it”, which attests to how important visibility is when it comes to diversifying the workforce in tech.

“I knew that I would not only be making a career switch, but I also had the opportunity to improve all the aspects of my life that had been negatively impacted by the burnout I had experienced in education.”

Completing the CFG whilst working full-time as a teacher was a particularly challenging time in my career-changing journey. I was part of the Autumn Cohort in 2022, so the CFGdegree began in August, just as I had just been allocated a new school. I had the stress of having to get to know the staff, the children and a new timetable. I had to juggle the general workload of teaching, the additional work of setting up in a new school and the CFG classes each evening. 

Overcoming this challenge was tough, I knew I would have to sacrifice additional time in the evenings and weekends, as I didn’t have the luxury of time during the day while I was at work. The fact I was receiving free education and had an offer from a company that believed in my abilities was what motivated me to get to the finish line. I made sure to plan and prioritise my time effectively whilst scheduling in short breaks to support my wellbeing. I knew how important this was if I wanted to avoid burnout, so I made sure to still take that hour to go for a walk or meet up with a friend.

💫 Can you share what impact taking part in the Kickstarter and CFGdegree had on your career change?

As part of the CFGdegree, we had to build a React App as our group project. I got to work alongside three others who were also sponsored by SBG. Not only was this an excellent opportunity for us to build relationships before going on to work with each other, but it was also a pivotal moment in learning to code. Having to build something from scratch allowed us to develop our skills in communication, planning and problem-solving, as well as gain a deeper insight into the fundamentals of React.

“ It can be scary making a career change, but you should never let your educational or professional background put you off. No matter what your background is, you’ll have A LOT of transferable skills that you can bring to tech.”

🌱 Are there any key differences you have felt since starting your new career/since your career change?

The key differences I have felt since starting my new career are that I feel SO much happier, healthier and more relaxed. I’m in a work environment where I am supported to learn, be praised and given regular feedback. A huge emphasis is placed on having a work-life balance and I love the initiatives taken by my employer to support this. I feel like I have the time, energy and mindset to take on new challenges outside of work, travel and do things I would never have dreamed of when I worked as a teacher.

🧪 Were there any skills or experiences from (your past field) that you found surprisingly applicable to your current role/tech?

I utilise many of the skills I developed working as a teacher in my new role. Communication is key when working as a Software Engineer, especially when you are learning. Being able to articulate the problems I am facing and which solutions I have tried has helped me massively when asking for support. Also, being committed to life-long learning, having resilience, patience and being able to plan and organise my day have all helped me have a smooth transition into tech.

💡 What advice would you give to someone from a non-technical background who is considering a career switch to tech?

My advice is always – you won’t know until you try, so give it a go! It can be scary to make a career change, but you should never let your educational or professional background put you off. No matter what your background is, you’ll have A LOT of transferable skills that you can bring to tech. If you are motivated to learn and willing to put the time and effort in, then there is no reason why you can’t succeed and achieve your goals. There are so many examples of incredible people working in tech who have non-technical backgrounds – allow yourself to be inspired and believe that you can do the same!

Thank you to Jess for sharing her insights navigating her career switch from teaching to tech! Click here for more Code First Girls community stories and blogs! 🤩

Summer ‘24 CFGdegree applications are open until 22nd March 2024. Apply here!