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Our swarm Lena: first New Zealand, then Neuland

15th December 2018

Lena Schalow web development Umschulung Weiterbildung nach dem Studium
Lena talks about her long journey: first New Zealand, then new territory. An experience report.

About the possibility of giving a new direction to one's professional future even after graduation

Solving "puzzles with logic" every day while programming excited Lena so much that she decided to pursue further education at the age of 24. But patience is not her greatest strength, so it should be as fast as possible, of course with the latest technologies, plus practical and ideally already in dialogue with potential employers. How convenient that founder Dalia Das had launched the first German-language coding bootcamp "neue fische" shortly before. 

Lena Schalow's hometown of Gandow has only 100 inhabitants. It was clear to the Brandenburg native early on that she would soon find it too crowded here. That her career path would soon take an unexpected turn was not. And that the Hamburg-based start-up neue fische would play a central role in it certainly wasn't.

Anyone who interviews Lena Schadow doesn't need to ask many questions. The 24-year-old is refreshingly forthcoming, and even the first question about her career to date reveals a lot about her life, delivered with verve and enthusiasm. That she loved solving puzzles as a child because logic has always been her thing. That she once wanted to be an architect, but shortly before graduating from high school she preferred to become a management consultant because it "sounded so good. Instead, after graduating from high school, she completed a dual Bachelor's degree in Hamburg, which catapulted her directly into a coveted position as a media planner at a leading agency in the Hanseatic city. But also, Lena doesn't let her feelings get away from her so easily, because, "This job just wasn't for me yet." 

"I quit after 2 years because I was missing something and first traveled to New Zealand for three months. After an inspiring time on the other side of the world, I came back to Hamburg and worked with friends on a web project. I started programming for the first time in my life and, of course, in an amateur way, and immediately realized: coding is exactly my thing!"

Solving "puzzles with logic" every day while programming excited Lena so much that she decided to pursue further education at the age of 24. But patience isn't her greatest strength, so she wanted to do it as quickly as possible, using the latest technologies of course, in addition to being practice-oriented and ideally already in dialog with potential employers. And Lena was lucky: At the same time, the company "neue fische" started in Hamburg. Their offer: three-month "boot camps" for training as a web developer, among other things, perfect for career changers like Lena, with professional instructors with a great deal of practical experience and contact with potential employers right from the start.

"The time at the bootcamp flew by," she reports today. "Sure it was really exhausting from time to time, but I always had the feeling that everything we learned would be directly relevant to later work as a programmer." The training at "neue fische" paid off for Lena: just 4 weeks after successfully completing her bootcamp, she was able to start working at the digital agency SinnerSchrader in Hamburg as a junior web developer - also thanks to the contacts to the company that "neue fische" had already established during the bootcamp.
If you want to read more about Lena, you can find her interview on XING here.

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