Francisco Goitia is a Python Developer based in Argentina who used MOOCs to radically change the course of his life in the space of one year. While continuing to pursue his Business studies at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, he jacked his job in and devoted a year to doing as many MOOCs as he could in order to follow his dream of becoming a software developer. And it worked!
Francisco joins our interview series to share how he achieved his dream.
Carolyn: Can you tell us a little about what you were doing before you became a software developer?
Francisco: My previous working experience were an internship in Bayer Cropscience. After that I worked as a SAP consultant in Deloitte but I was never into it.
Carolyn: How did you first become acquainted with MOOCs and what attracted you to them?
Francisco: It was a few months before actually starting doing MOOCs. I remember reading in Flipboard about a course on Android development that was going to be offered via something called Coursera. I was about to start in my new job as a SAP consultant so didn't pay much attention. A few months later, when I found out that that work wasn't for me I started really looking into Coursera and edX.
Carolyn: How confident were you that MOOCs could give you the opportunity to change careers?
Francisco: I was very confident actually. I knew that there is a big demand for techies so I decided to invest my time in it.
Carolyn: What MOOCs did you take to learn the necessary skills to become a software developer?
Francisco: I did the Specialization in Computer Science from Rice offered in Coursera before it was split in so many parts. In edX I did the courses on Python from MIT, CS50 from Harvard and the one on Software Engineering as a Service with Ruby on Rails from Berkeley.
Carolyn: How did you manage your time considering you were also enrolled on a Business course at the Universidad de Buenos Aires?
Francisco: I was very motivated to do all these courses so managing time wasn't an issue. I had to put in a lot of hours but I found the topics so interesting and intelectually rewarding that I was glad to do it.
Carolyn: How does your MOOC experience compare with traditional college classes?
Francisco: I wish my local university courses were as good as the MOOCs I took.
Carolyn: Did you encounter any particular difficulties whilst studying MOOCs? If so, how did you overcome them?
Francisco: Some people find it hard to stay motivated, since it's all so flexible. I was trying to change careers so I was very motivated. The hard part to stay focus starts now I guess, since I'm working full time and finished my business degree.
Carolyn: You managed to land your dream job with a startup software company. Can you tell us how that happened and how the MOOCs you took helped you?
Francisco: I remember filling the form on a website for IT jobs and thinking there is no way they are going to call me. But they did, in the interview we talked a lot about my experience as a 'self-learner'
Carolyn: Do you intend to take any more MOOCs now that you’ve achieved your goal?
Francisco: Yes. It is a very competitive field and you have to keep studying and improving yourself. I want to learn more about statistics and machine learning.
Carolyn: What advice do you have for someone who is thinking of changing careers as you did?
Francisco: It's never been as easier to get into software like now. The only resources you need are a computer, internet access and time. There are a lot of jobs, the work is rewarding and intellectually challenging and if you put the effort and learn you will get hired. Show passion and try to have as much public code as you can.
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