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Meet Ayako: Nurse Turned Full-Stack Developer

When her career as a nurse became too repetitive, Ayako Amano made up her mind to transition into tech and joined Le Wagon part-time coding bootcamp. Fast forward half a year, she’s now a software developer at the fast-growing healthcare startup!

Hi, Ayako! What were you doing before joining Le Wagon Tokyo bootcamp? 

After attending a nursing school in Japan, I worked at the general surgery ward helping critically sick people. Two years later, I shifted to preventive health care and made use of my English skills, often taking care of foreign patients. Knowing that my voice and time could help a patient make it through dreaded procedures like endoscopy was one of the most rewarding feelings.

While working in healthcare was incredibly meaningful, I felt a growing frustration with it and soon realized that I needed a change. When I started to learn programming via online courses, my passion for coding grew more and more. However, it took me some time, grit and determination to make the leap into tech.

I started like most people with HTML and CSS but when I got to the back end part, I found it difficult and gave up. A year later, I resumed my search and visited several Japanese programming schools, but I felt they did not meet my needs.. Somehow I stumbled upon Le Wagon Tokyo coding bootcamp... And it clicked!

I joined the part-time course because I was still working as a caregiver. I shifted my schedule to fit in lessons and managed to both work and study for the full 6 months! 

How did your transition into programming go? 

I am coming from a non-tech background, and I was definitely not the brightest student in the group (laughs). However, I was really psyched about the whole idea of studying programming. Plus, Le Wagon teachers kept pushing us, so two weeks into the bootcamp I felt already very comfortable.

I love the collaborative aspect of the program. Every day of the coding bootcamp, I had the opportunity to code with my batchmates — I think it adds to the team spirit of the class. This inspired me because you’re around a bunch of different people who are all learning and sharing the same passion for tech.

What did you like the most about the bootcamp? 

Like most people, my favorite part of the coding bootcamp was Project Weeks, during which we develop full-stack applications based on students’ ideas. The idea I pitched actually got picked (yay!) - It is a time management application for medical workers, and obviously it comes from my past experience as a nurse. Typically, patients are assigned to nurses manually and it takes at least 30 minutes every day. With our app MediSafe, team leaders can assign patients to nurses based on their skills and also on the patient's severity level, in just one click. I feel the most underrated part of these project weeks is how much communication and teamwork skills are involved. And it was amazing to see my project go from idea to an actual app!

Watch Ayako pitching at Demo Day (from 30:30)

How did you job hunting go?

After graduating, I decided to take a short break and after that, started applying for developer jobs, mostly through Wantedly. I finally got a full-stack developer job at the company developing a medical translation platform, which seemed a perfect fit considering my previous experience. 

Everything is new to me, but I'm moving quickly - at the moment I am actually learning a new programming language and framework. As a software engineer, I also have a flexible work schedule that allows me to work remotely during these pandemic times. 

What would you recommend to people from a non-tech industry who want to learn programming?

With the accessibility of programming tutorials, getting started with programming is “on the other side of a quick Google search”. I suggest online courses as a first step, to test waters and see if you are having fun coding.

If you realize that you need in-person guidance, coding bootcamp can be a good next step. I chose a part-time course and really benefited from a learning environment surrounded by peers and instructors, while still being able to work full time on the side. Without Le Wagon Tokyo coding bootcamp, I’d probably still be struggling with back-end!

Thank you for your time, Ayako! Good luck with your new career! 
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